A judge on Tuesday rejected a request by the California Restaurant Association for an order preventing the county from shutting down in-person dining until local health officials came forward with scientific evidence linking the activity to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
On Twitter, the group said it was “disappointed” that the court did not bar the order from taking effect.
Outdoor, in-person dining is scheduled to end on Wednesday night as the number of positive cases increase in the state. The policy, which applies to restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, is currently expected to last three weeks. It was announced on Sunday.
The city of Pasadena, which has an independent public health department, broke with Los Angeles County and decided to allow outside dining to continue at restaurants while it assesses virus numbers.
“We need to balance our growing numbers and the economic hardship of restaurant personnel,” a statement released by spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
The restaurant industry, which operates on razor-thin margins, has been one of the hardest hit throughout the pandemic – and there is concern that many of the surviving establishments will not make it through another round of lockdown restrictions.
Local officials are also considering a possible stay-at-home order owing to an “impressive and alarming surge” of more than 6,000 new cases that put Los Angeles County over a five-day average of 4,500 cases per day, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results on Saturday with more than 15,000. It had more than 14,000 cases Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks.
“At this rate, our hospitals won’t have any spare beds by Christmas time,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti about the situation in his city.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for almost all state residents and urged residents to avoid nonessential travel during what is typically the busiest travel period of the year. Anyone entering California is advised to quarantine for two weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.