The California Restaurant Association (CRA) is seeking a court order to halt Los Angeles County’s three-week dine-in ban, if “proper justification” for the measure is not provided.
On Tuesday, the association filed a request in Los Angeles Superior Court, demanding that the county of Los Angeles Department of Health provide “supporting medical and/or scientific studies and evidence that the operation of outdoor dining establishments poses an unreasonable risk” to the public.
Until evidence is provided, the association is requesting that the county refrains “from issuing any order or guidance that such outdoor dining should be prohibited,” according to filings obtained by Fox News.
The move comes roughly 24 hours before dine-in service for restaurants, bars and wineries — both indoors and outdoors — is slated to be suspended for at least three weeks to try and stem the “alarming” rate of coronavirus cases in the nation’s most populous county.
On Sunday, officials announced that the newest restrictions, wherein establishments will be limited to take-out, drive-thru and delivery services only, would take effect at 10 p.m. on Nov. 25.
However, California Restaurant Association CEO Jot Condie argues the order “with no stated scientific basis from L.A. County, singles out a specific industry and could jeopardize thousands of jobs.”
With the latest measure, Condie noted that there are “thousands of restaurants and many thousands more employees who could be out on the street right before the holiday season.”
Prior to the announcement, LA County officials had warned that these restrictions could come if the five-day average of new cases in the county totaled above 4,000 or hospitalizations were more than 1,750 per day.
On Sunday, county officials reported nine new deaths and 2,718 new cases of COVID-19. Sunday’s five-day average was 4,097 cases and there were 1,401 hospitalizations.
Authorities said the focus is to help “reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings.”
However, the move drew widespread criticism, with some officials calling it an “unfair burden” on establishments that are already weathering an economic downturn.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who serves residents of LA County’s 5th Supervisorial District, opposed the measure, saying it would “further devastate local businesses and employees who have been asked to shoulder an unfair burden this year.”
Barger said that these businesses, which have already invested thousands of dollars to ensure safety for employees and customers, are now being “punished for the recent surge they have done everything in their power to prevent.”
Santos Uy, the owner of two area establishments Papilles Bistro and Mignon, told Fox News that it’s “a very hard blow especially to those restaurateurs who have invested so much in outdoor dining.”
However, concern regarding rising infections has grown across the state, with Gov. Gavin Newsom issuing a monthlong curfew for “purple tier” counties, which are experiencing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.
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