Beverly Hills celebrity hotspot La Scala is under fire Sunday for inviting some of its customers to a “discreet” New Year’s Eve party in violation of the city’s and state’s strict coronavirus lockdown measures, preventing indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants.
The “speakeasy”-style get together was meant to take place Thursday, and La Scala’s staff had been including paper invites to the bash in select takeout orders, according to Los Angeles’ ABC affiliate.
“A high-end Beverly Hills restaurant was inviting customers to a ‘discreet’ indoor New Year’s Eve dinner that apparently was going to be held in violation of Los Angeles County COVID-19 protocols,” the outlet reported Sunday. “La Scala described the event as a 1920s Prohibition-era ‘Speak Easy’-themed dinner to be held indoors New Year’s Eve. Some customers who were picking up food found the invitations in their takeout bags.”
“We are considering taking reservations for New Year’s Eve Dinner. Inside,” the invitation, which was tucked into takeout bags reads. “If this is something you’d be interested in, please let us know as soon as possible. If enough interest we’ll contact you back to secure a reservation.”
The letter instructs recipients to “please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends.”
Deadline reports that one recipient blew La Scala’s plans wide open when she posted about the invite on Twitter.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department said it was aware of the event and the city’s Code Enforcement division was handling the matter,” local news noted.
The city of Los Angeles and the state of California have both issued regulations prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Officials claim that a halt is needed because the “county is trying to limit the coronavirus surge that has put significant strain on local hospitals and left almost no room available in intensive-care units.”
Eater reports that some restaurants, suffering financially from ongoing lockdowns, have chosen to flout the order, and some jurisdictions, including Beverly Hills (where La Scala is located), have said they are considering abandoning Los Angeles city health department regulations and allowing indoor and outdoor dining because they believe the ban is an “overreach.”
California legislators have famously flouted the indoor dining ban and, later, the outdoor dining ban. Governor Gavin Newsom reportedly attended a birthday dinner at the Michelin-starred Yountville restaurant, The French Laundry, where he allegedly dined both indoors and outdoors, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl ate outdoors at a restaurant immediately after voting to institute the outdoor dining ban.
A California judge has since ordered Los Angeles to reconsider the outdoor dining ban when it expires at the end of December. The indoor dining ban, however, remains.
La Scala, which has been in business in Beverly Hills for more than half a century, did not respond to requests for comment. As media outlets note, the restaurant’s website says it is closed for the Christmas holiday and that it plans to be closed on New Year’s Eve, December 31st.
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