On Sunday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health tweeted out new restrictions to bars and restaurants, restricting outdoor dining starting Wednesday night.
FOX 11 reported that the restrictions were announced without being discussed with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. On Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, DPH officials were asked to provide data to back up their new restrictions. DPH previously said they were prompted to impose the new outdoor dining restrictions due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the county.
Supervisor Janice Hahn asked L.A. Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer about what data were used, but she passed the question to DPH Dr. Muntu Davis. Hahn asked Davis: “How many restaurants have been the site of workplace outbreaks?”
Davis responded: “Umm, I’ll have to pull that number up. The best data to give you in relation to contributions that come from people dining out at restaurants, where you cannot wear your face covering while you eat and drink, comes actually from the CDC. There was a case-controlled study, which is the highest standard that we have in terms of looking at data, that assessed information from 11 outpatient facilities, and 10 states, and noted that the cases were two times more likely to have dined out at a restaurant than those who did not. So that’s the best information we have that’s very specific to restaurants.”
The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included indoor dining, meaning DPH had no specific data to back up its new restrictions.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger became agitated.
“I want to reiterate that I am opposed to the closure of outdoor dining at restaurants, and after hearing Dr. Davis say that the evidence being used is a CDC study, and it’s the best info we have after 7 months. We have not been tracking info, actually reaffirms how upset I am about the fact that I feel this is arbitrary and punitive toward outdoor dining at restaurants,” she said, according to FOX 11.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl supported the new restrictions despite the lack of scientific evidence.
“I sadly, but strongly support moving our restaurants back to take-out and delivery, many of them adjusted in the first three months of this pandemic to providing service that way,” Kuehl said.
“We’re talking about impacting our economy a matter of three weeks, we can then come back and I hope to say, ‘Did we all do the right thing?’” Solis added.
As The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, the City of Pasadena has vowed to ignore new restrictions on dining.
“The City of Pasadena will continue to assess its COVID numbers, work closely with Huntington Hospital and give as much advance notice as possible if the City’s Order is going to change in any respect,” city spokesperson Lisa Derderian said in a written statement to KTLA.
“We need to balance our growing numbers and the economic hardship of restaurant personnel,” she added. “Behind every employee is a family and in many cases they are the sole providers. It’s imperative everyone follows the rules to slow this surge otherwise a State directive could supersede our local Orders.”