County Orders Restaurants to Stop Restrict Dining, Supervisor Barger Opposes Unnecessary Restrictions

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As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified to restrict dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars as the five-day average of new cases increased to more than 4,000 cases. The modified order will take effect Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m.

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Burbank cases rose by 174 last week to a total of 2,339 total cases with that number to rise by at least 100 over this weekend alone.

Today, Public Health has confirmed 9 new deaths and 2,718 new cases of COVID-19. Currently, the five-day average is 4,097 new cases. Burb ank reported 4 new deaths last week to raise that number to 82.

To reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive thru, and delivery services. Wineries and breweries may continue their retail operations adhering to current protocols. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next 3 weeks.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will oppose the Department of Public Health’s decision to prohibit outdoor dining and further restrictions including another Safer at Home Order, instead calling to align with the State of California’s health orders

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“These proposed measures by the Department of Public Health will further devastate local businesses and employees who have been asked to shoulder an unfair burden this year,” said Supervisor Barger, Chair of the Board in a press release. “Businesses throughout the County have invested thousands of dollars to ensure safety for their employees and customers only to be punished for the recent surge they have done everything in their power to prevent.”

Barger pointed to data that shows Public Health has reported that only between 10 to 15 percent of positive cases reported dining out with someone who tested positive, while more than 50 percent reported being at a private social gathering with someone who tested positive. By closing restaurants who are in compliance, the County may adversely incentivize residents to host and attend more private gatherings without safety precautions in place.

Last week, Los Angeles County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, to restrict in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars.

On June 18, The Department of Public Health recommended bars for reopening operations without food service. On this date, our positivity rate was rising to more than 9 percent and our hospitalizations were rising to more than 1400. Today, the hospitalizations are similar and positivity rate is at 6.7 percent.

Barger pointed to data that shows Public Health has reported that only between 10 to 15 percent of positive cases reported dining out with someone who tested positive, while more than 50 percent reported being at a private social gathering with someone who tested positive. By closing restaurants who are in compliance, the County may adversely incentivize residents to host and attend more private gatherings without safety precautions in place.

According to County Health, if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a Targeted Safer at Home Order will be issued for three weeks. The Order would offer additional restrictions while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.

“Businesses have made incredible sacrifices to align with safety protocols to remain open in order to pay their bills and feed their families,” Supervisor Barger said. “Our hospitalization rates are among the lowest we’ve seen. Yet, the rationale for further closures is tied to the number of patients in the hospital. We’ve come a long way to support workers and residents who are struggling to stay afloat and should not regress on the progress we’ve made.

Increased case counts are not coming from businesses reopening, but from large gatherings where people aren’t wearing masks,” Barger said. “We aren’t helpless in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and can protect ourselves and our neighbors by maintaining physical distancing and wearing face coverings.”

There are 1,401 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 26% of these people are in the ICU. Over the past 7 days, the number of hospitalized patients increased by nearly 35%.

Public Health reminds everyone to stay home as much as possible for the next two to three weeks to change the trajectory of surging cases and save lives. COVID-19 can be unintentionally spread to other people unless we all practice the simple safety precautions that prevents spread. Virus transmission can be significantly reduced if we all keep distance from others who we don’t live with, always wear a face covering properly over our nose and mouth, and wash our hands frequently.

Additionally, it is very important that if you are even mildly sick or think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 that you stay home and away from other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and consider being tested for COVID-19.

To date, Public Health identified 364,520 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,438 deaths. Testing results are available for more than 3,542,000 individuals with 10% of all people testing positive.

“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,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “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. We also fervently hope every L.A. County resident supports all our businesses by following the Public Health directives that we know work to slow spread. Unfortunately, if our cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, we will need to issue further restrictions to protect our healthcare system and prevent more deaths.”

According to Barger’s release, The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation predicted that approximately 700,000 jobs in the food industry would be lost during this shutdown. The LAEDC also highlighted that approximately 75% of all projected job losses would be those earning $50,000 or less.

The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov. www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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