LOS ANGELES - Friday marks the first day of outdoor dining being permitted to reopen in Los Angeles County in months.
Citing improving conditions in hospitals, state health officials Monday lifted all regional stay-at-home orders, including in the 11-county Southern California region, but counties are still subject to the tight regulations of the restrictive "purple" tier of California's economic reopening guidelines.
"Los Angeles County will essentially align with the state by the end of the week to allow for the reopening of permitted activities under the 'purple tier,'" said County Supervisor, Hilda Solis, earlier in the week. "This will include outdoor dining."
The county will allow outdoor dining at restaurants to resume at 50% of patio occupancy.
"But please don't take this news to mean that you can return to a life of normalcy," Solis said earlier in the week. "Masks, physical distancing and limiting activities are still key to getting out of this pandemic til we can get everybody vaccinated. We are not in the clear. ... The Super Bowl, as you know, is coming up and we've seen what happens when other sporting events take place and people gather in others' homes. Please resist that urge."
Over the weekend, the California Restaurant Association sent its members a letter announcing the pending state decision, saying, "we thought you'd like to know this good news."
The California Restaurant Association and several eateries sued, prompting a judge to rule the county's ban was imposed arbitrarily. But that ruling was put on hold by a state appeals court.
The county's ban, however, technically expired on Dec. 16, but patio dining remained prohibited under the state's order, which is now lifted.
As of Monday morning, the county's website still indicated that all personal-care businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, massage businesses and barbershops remain closed. However, personal care services are permitted to reopen with reduced capacity under the "purple tier," so additional guidance is expected sometime this week.
Bars remain closed in all counties in the "purple" tier of the state's four-level economic reopening matrix. The vast majority of counties in the state, including all of Southern California, are in the "purple" tier.
On Monday, Los Angeles County reported an additional 46 deaths from COVID-19 and 6,642 new cases, bringing the countywide totals to 15,303 deaths and 1,079,396 cases.
CNS contributed to this report.