Los Angeles County Halts Outdoor Dining as COVID-19 Cases Surge

The restaurant and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outdoor dining has become a new normal for restaurants as they attempt to curve the spread, but as cases continue to rise in the U.S., even outdoor dining is getting put on pause in some cities.

On Sunday, Los Angeles County public health officials announced that outdoor dining at restaurants will be suspended starting Wednesday, November 25 at 10 p.m., according to the L.A Times. The new rule will remain in place for a minimum of three weeks.

“The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks,” Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Public Health Director, said in a statement.

Restaurants, as well as breweries, wineries and bars, will be limited to only takeout and delivery — a restriction that has not been in place in Los Angeles since May.

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Since outdoor dining commenced, restaurants have spent thousands of dollars to make their outdoor areas inviting while adhering to the highest safety and cleaning procedures.

Former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump, who owns Sur, PUMP, TomTom Bar, and Villa Blanca in L.A. shared her grievances about the announcement on Twitter. "After much cost & consideration for the well being of staff & guests we endeavored to open. Sadly, many restaurants will not reopen. We want to thank patrons and incredible staff who followed stringent guidelines. Masks are essential, stay safe we will prevail. Happy Thanksgiving."

Adults Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus ‘Twice as Likely’ to Have Dined at a Restaurant

Currently, the U.S. is struggling to contain a massive increase in COVID-19 cases. Nearly every state is seeing some of their highest daily case totals of the entire pandemic, and U.S. cases have increased by 2.5 million in November. As of Nov. 23, more than 12,418,700 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 257,117 people have died from the virus, according to The New York Times.

The CDC said that “Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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