The county that includes the second-largest city in the United States is banning dining at restaurants for at least three weeks, officials there announced Sunday.
Los Angeles County health officials said the harsh measure is because of the rise in new COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The new order, which will take effect on Nov. 25—the day before Thanksgiving—will bar both indoor and outdoor dining.
Restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bars will still be allowed to offer take-out, drive-thru, and delivery services, and wineries and bars may continue retail operations.
“As we modify our Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, we are reminded of the many families who will miss their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. We send wishes for healing and peace,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said in a statement.
“The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks. We hope individuals continue to support restaurants, breweries, and wineries by ordering for take-out or delivery.”
If the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county continue rising, officials said, further restrictions, including a partial lockdown order, will be issued.
The five-day average of new cases as of Sunday was 4,097, while 1,401 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals. Los Angeles County does not show the available hospital capacity, a key metric in seeing how close hospitals are to being overwhelmed. The county declined to provide those numbers.
Los Angeles has enacted some of the strictest measures in the nation this year in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19, even as a growing number of experts argue against lockdowns as a method of control. California recently enacted a near-statewide curfew.
Restaurant owners said they weren’t pleased with the new county order.
“It’s really just devastating. Our industry has been so deeply affected by the pandemic,” Karen Ross, owner of the Tallyrand restaurant in Burbank, told KABC-TV. “Our crew as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who are in the restaurant industry are just reeling from the news that we’re going to be shut down again.”
New York City, America’s largest city, last week shut down all of its schools.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, warned Friday that more restrictions would likely be enacted the week after Thanksgiving, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said measures will depend on the city’s positive testing rates.
“It’s fully dependent on what people do. I’m not going to guess and I don’t have a crystal ball, except to say be very, very careful,” Cuomo told reporters on Sunday.
“We’re going to come back with stricter standards. The same when you think about the restaurants, when you think about the gyms, right now thank God they have not been a major nexus of the problem, but the rate things are going, unfortunately they well could be,” de Blasio said on WNYC.
“And they are the places where people come into close contact without their masks on or where they’re breathing heavily, the kinds of things that spread COVID. We cannot wait until it’s too late. We have to start putting restrictions in place.”