LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County health officials have once again tweaked its COVID-19 restrictions.This time, outdoor bars will now be able to reopen as early as Monday, April 5.
The revised restrictions come as Los Angeles County met the criteria to move into the less restrictive orange tier in California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
According to LA County health officials, bars can now open their outdoor facilities with the following modification:
- Masks required, except when eating or drinking
- No counter seating or service. Drinking and eating are only allowed while seated
- Tables eight feet apart
- Each table can hold up to six people from maximum three different households
- No live entertainment
- Open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Breweries, wineries and distilleries, which were allowed to reopen outdoors in the red tier, can now reopen their indoor spaces at 25% capacity, or up to 100 people, whichever is fewer, according to the county. Like bars, masks will be required and live entertainment is also not allowed.
With Tuesday's health regulation update, bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries will no longer be required to serve food in order to stay open.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said bars will now be eligible for the city's Al Fresco program. The city program currently allows restaurants to serve patrons outdoors on sidewalks. Bars will now be eligible to apply for the program through California's Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
"LA Al Fresco has been a lifeline to so many businesses and a lifeline to safely be outdoors, have a meal and be together," Mayor Garcetti stated during a press briefing.
The mayor says the Al Fresco program will continue through the summer months and the city will work to create a smooth transition to permeant permits for restaurants and bars.
To apply for the program click here.
Qualifying for the orange tier requires the county to have an average daily rate of new COVID infections of 3.9 per 100,000 residents, along with a testing-positivity rate of 4.9% or less, and maintain those levels for two consecutive weeks.
Tuesday's numbers showed that Los Angeles County had a new case rate of 3.8 per 100,000 residents and a testing-positivity rate of 1.5%.
While Los Angeles County largely aligned with the state's guidelines, they have chosen to implement some stricter restrictions. Among those differences is that while the state allows the removal of capacity limits at retail stores, Los Angeles County will not be.
County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said Tuesday afternoon that the county is choosing to maintain capacity limits in order to allow for social distancing. Another notable difference between the county and the state is in Los Angeles County, bars will only be allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. daily. In addition, the county has barred the establishments from having live entertainment while California does not have a restriction like this.
Another difference is that Los Angeles County is capping capacity at personal care services, hair salons, barbershops and grocery stores at 75%, while the state doesn't have capacity limits for those businesses in the orange tier.
The state is allowing "nonessential" office buildings to reopen its doors to employees but LA County did not mention if the county will follow up on that.
Ferrer said a revised health order will be released on Friday.