California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved a variance for Los Angeles County to reopen restaurants for in-person dining as well as salons and barber shops.
Restaurants in Los Angeles County can reopen as soon as Friday, provided they meet health guidelines, which will be on the honor system.
Restaurants will be limited to 60% capacity, and bars will remain closed. Patrons are encouraged to use credit cards and to make reservations.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would expedite approvals for outdoor seating on sidewalks, private parking lots and eventually in streets.
“Businesses are not mandated to open,” Garcetti said. “If you’re a business owner, take your time to get it right.”
Newsom has recently relaxed state social distancing guidelines, allowing for dining rooms to reopen in the nearby counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Orange. On Wednesday, L.A. County applied for the variance from the state, meaning that the county has met the state requirements to begin to safely reopen.
In L.A. County’s COVID-19 update, officials confirmed that the variance had been approved and announced that guidelines for the reopening of further businesses – including the film and television production industry – would be announced on Tuesday.
“This upcoming Tuesday, four of our 13 task force representatives will deliver their road maps to safely reopen some key sectors, including restaurants, sports venues, theme parks, corporate businesses and manufacturing in film and digital media,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.
L.A. County representatives released a 17-page document earlier this week outlining the necessary steps to safely reopen restaurants. The document says that restaurants must place seating six feet apart, have a detailed disinfection plan, focus on reservations to limit walk-in diners and provide personal protective equipment for all staff.
On Thursday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that restaurants in the area will open for outdoor dining starting June 15 and dine-in services on July 13.
The governor cautioned in his approval statement that the threat of coronavirus is not yet over.