Los Angeles, CA–After businesses in Los Angeles were already impacted from closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, they are now being forced to limit their capacity to 20% or close completely. Businesses were already operating at 50% capacity after being allowed to re-open during the pandemic and restaurants were only able to provide outdoor dining within coronavirus protocol.
The news comes this week as L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new stay-at-home ordinances which will last “until further notice” but for at least three weeks. The goal is to curve large gatherings and minimize the amount of contact between L.A residents.
All public and private gatherings for any number of people from more than one household are prohibited, except for outdoor faith-based services and protest. This provision does not apply to gatherings of people who live within a single household or living unit.
Although a number of businesses will be allowed to remain open, food businesses can only offer delivery and to-go orders and all in-person dining has been banned.
The decisions are being made under the direction of L.A’s Department of Public Health, including Director Barbara Ferrer, as well consulting companies L.A County has paid nearly $2 million for public relations relating to the coronavirus.
“The county’s expenses now total $1.9 million, a nearly fivefold increase since April. Fraser’s contract states that it will be responsible for drafting press releases and talking points, as well as monitoring social media to gauge the public’s perception of how L.A. county is responding to the pandemic,” (Fox L.A).
Businesses across various sectors will be affected by these new closures while they continue to try and survive during the pandemic. Yelp reports that close to 98,000 businesses have closed in the U.S and that 60% of businesses will not survive these closures. In Los Angeles, active businesses declined by 22% with African-Americans representing 41% of closures, followed by immigrant businesses.
The following businesses will be forced to close as of Monday:
- Family entertainment centers for indoor operations only, including arcades and other amusement games, as well as miniature golf, batting cages, and go cart-racing
- Lounges and nightclubs
- Bars and craft distilleries
- Public entertainment venues including movie theaters, live performance theaters, concert venues, theme parks, and festivals
- All restaurants, but only for indoor and outdoor in-person onsite dining
- Playgrounds, except for playgrounds located within childcare centers or schools
- Museums, zoos and aquariums
- Hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas not located on a residential property;
- All public and private events and gatherings, unless specifically allowed.
In November, the California Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit against L.A County to curve the new closures. Although the Judge ruled against blocking these new restrictions, he ordered the Department of Health to provide the scientific data that is being used to support the closures.
“There is no evidence or study that outdoor dining specifically creates risk. There is deductive reasoning that if you’re dining and you don’t have a mask that this increases the chances of transmitting the virus… It’s a logical conclusion that any form of eating creates some sort of risk, but there is no study, no support or evidence showing there is an increase specifically related to dining,” the Judge stated in the ruling.
Restaurant owners in Long Beach also organized a protest against the new ordinances, calling attention to the money business owners invested in outdoor dining. These expenses range from tents as well as outside heaters for customers.
There are currently 400,000 coronavirus cases in L.A County as well as over 7,000 deaths. The rise in cases are threatening the number of available ICU beds which continues to alarm officials and health care workers.