LOS ANGELES — After a two-month shutdown due to surging COVID-19 cases, patio dining returned to Los Angeles County on Friday but with a new restriction forcing restaurants to turn off or remove all televisions from customer seating areas — a clear effort to prevent gatherings of sports fans.
The county’s revised Health Officer Order also reinstates previous restrictions on outdoor dining: requiring servers to wear masks and face shields, limiting restaurants to 50% of patio capacity, limiting tables to no more than six people from the same household and requiring tables to be at least eight feet apart.
But the order also states: “Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off. This provision is effective until further notice.”
The provision is directly aimed at preventing gatherings of sports fans, particularly with the Super Bowl approaching on Feb. 7.
“We really do need to be cautious as we move forward, given we have a major sporting event,” county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said. “We’ve seen lots of people together shouting, yelling, screaming during the excitement of a game. We want to make sure that as we do these re-openings we can see the impact, and as we move forward, if things continue to get better we may be able to change some of the restrictions that are there.
“But right now we have to ease into these re-openings,” he said. “We want to see these cases continue to come down, our hospitalizations continue to come down. ... But that depends on everybody doing what’s right to prevent being infected with the virus. So at this point we are easing our way into this and want to see how our numbers continue to trend and we’ll make changes as we see how we continue to do.”
As of Friday, the following areas reported COVID-19 cases and deaths:
• Palmdale: 21,907 cases and 217 deaths.
• Lancaster: 19,259 cases and 180 deaths (includes cases associated with correctional facility outbreaks).
• Lake Los Angeles: 1,397 cases and 11 deaths.
• Quartz Hill: 1,022 cases and 17 deaths.
• Sun Village: 820 cases and five deaths.
• Littlerock/Pearblossom: 461 cases and five deaths.
• Littlerock: 460 cases and four deaths.
• Acton: 390 cases and six deaths.
• Agua Dulce: 213 cases and two deaths.
• Pearblossom/Llano: 110 cases and one death.
• Leona Valley: 100 cases and no deaths.
• Littlerock/Juniper Hills: 99 cases and one death.
• Elizabeth Lake: 71 cases and no deaths.
• Lake Hughes: 37 cases and no deaths.
• Llano: 33 cases and no deaths.