Los Angeles County and City Issue Dine-In Orders
As Los Angeles reopens in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles have issued substantially similar Revised Orders that restaurants must comply with to provide dine-in service.
The intent of the Revised Orders is to protect the public from the avoidable risks of serious illness or death from the spread of COVID-19. The Revised Orders supersede prior Orders and allow the conditional reopening of restaurants for dine-in guests, provided that their operators adhere to social distancing, protective covering and other infection control protocols. In addition, notwithstanding their reopening for dine-in service, restaurants must continue to offer and encourage takeout and delivery services to their customers.
The essential LA City and County policies and practices are:
- Guests must enter through doors that are propped open or automated if possible. Hand sanitizer must be available for guests who must touch door handles.
- Restaurants must ensure adequate distancing and/or physical barriers between tables to minimize contact between guests at different tables. Indoor in-person dining occupancy capacity may not exceed 60 percent of prior maximum seating capacity to allow 6 feet for physical distancing between groups of guests.
- Guests must wear cloth face coverings everywhere in the facility whenever they are not eating and/or drinking, and when using the restrooms. Guests who refuse to wear a cloth face covering may be refused service and asked to leave.
- Bar areas may open to guests to serve food only with the purchase of alcohol if they adhere to the 6 feet physical distancing requirements from work or food or drink preparation areas.
- Reusable menus must be cleaned and disinfected between guests. Alternatives such as stationary menu boards, electronic menus, or mobile device downloadable menus must be considered.
- Guest seating areas must be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Flatware, glassware, dishware, menus, condiments and other tabletop items cannot be present prior to the seating of guests and must be fully sanitized between seating changes.
There are dozens of additional policies for restaurant operators and their employees. Compliance with many of the requirements will require capital investment by operators at the worst possible time.
According to LA County, failure to comply with the provisions of the Revised Orders constitutes an imminent threat and menace to public health and a public nuisance and is punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.
If public health conditions change, the County and City have reserved the right to amend their Orders to be more restrictive. Los Angeles County updates can be found here; and guidance for restaurants and bars in the city is available here.
Barry Kurtz is the Chair of our Franchise & Distribution Practice Group.
This information provides an overview of a specific developing situation. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact or situation.