By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Palisadian dining establishments are once again pivoting operations following an updated Los Angeles County Health Officer Order that restricts dining in at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars throughout the county as the five-day average of new cases of COVID-19 increased to more than 4,000.
Public Health reported in a statement released Sunday, November 22, that COVID-19 cases remain at “alarming levels” and “the number of people hospitalized” continues to increase.
Modifications to the health order, which had previously allowed for outdoor dining, were slated to take effect Wednesday, November 25, at 10 p.m.
Efforts to block the measure both in the courts and at the county Board of Supervisors failed on Tuesday, November 24.
“I don’t think we have the data to prove that outdoor dining is driving the recent surge in cases, nor do we have the data to assure us that this action will turn our case numbers around,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement following the decision. “I am also very worried that it will drive more people to indoor gathering.”
City Council voted the same day 11-3 in favor of asking Public Health to rescind the decision to end in-person outdoor dining, but the matter ultimately is decided at the county level.
“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,” Public Health reported. “In-person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next three weeks.”
The updated order follows thresholds that were established last week calling for additional actions throughout LA County if the five-day average of cases was at 4,000 or more or hospitalizations were more than 1,750 per day.
“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,” according to information provided by Public Health.
On Monday, November 23, Public Health reported 6,124 new COVID-19 cases—its highest to date—though 1,500 cases were deemed backlog after weekend delays.
“The county is experiencing a steeper increase in daily cases of COVID-19 than seen during the summer surge in June and July,” Public Health reported in the statement. “From June 20 through July 3, average daily cases increased 43%. From October 31 through November 13, the average daily cases have increased 108%. Public Health is not confident these numbers will decrease this week since new case numbers reflect actions people were taking a couple of weeks ago.”
The number of COVID-19 workplace outbreaks across multiple sectors were increasing at “alarming levels,” according to Public Health.
“The data emphasizes some of the ripple effects we are seeing as COVID-19 cases across the county are surging,” Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared in the statement. “At the end of the day, more people are becoming infected at their jobs and this results in more transmission back in the community.”
Public Health reported that it is closely tracking the number of positive cases among healthcare workers to be sure “we have sufficient healthcare workers to staff our facilities and care for patients.”
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached 374,134 throughout the county when factoring in Long Beach and Pasadena with 7,497 deaths as the Palisadian-Post went to print Tuesday. There were 213 cases in Pacific Palisades, with an additional 45 in Palisades Highlands.
“These are the most dangerous moments since the first days of this pandemic,” Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in a tweet on Monday, November 23. “It’s not too late to turn things around, but time is running out.”