Indoor Dining Will Return To LA Restaurants On Monday — With These Restrictions

Diners wearing masks hold up their coffee mugs at "Eat At Joe's" in Redondo Beach on December 1, 2020. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Los Angeles County hit the red tier today, which means L.A. officials will likely allow restaurants to resume indoor dining on Monday with a few restrictions.

Restaurants will have to:

  • Operate at 25% capacity or seat no more than 100 people (whichever is lower)
  • Space tables 8 feet apart
  • Seat no more than 6 people at a table
  • Forbid people from different households to sit at the same table (although there's not much restaurants can do to confirm and enforce this)

Food courts at indoor shopping malls will also be able to, once again, let patrons sit and eat their food under the skin-enhancing glow of a Sbarro sign — as long as the food court doesn't exceed 25% capacity.

Restaurants in Long Beach, which has its own health department, can open indoor operations with modification on Monday, too, according to officials.

The city of Pasadena, which also has its own health department, is also going to let restaurants resume indoor dining on Monday, per an announcement from the Pasadena Public Health Department.

After today's move into the red tier — which happened when California administers 2 million COVID-19 vaccines in the hardest-hit communities — the L.A. County Department of Public Health will need to amend the public health order so businesses can reopen. Officials could pull the trigger earlier or later but the formal reopening will likely happen Monday.

In more good news, California recently loosened restrictions so breweries, wineries and distilleries that don't serve food can reopen outdoors in counties in the purple and red tiers, starting this Saturday, March 13. (Previously, these establishments had to wait for future tiers to reopen.)

Breweries, wineries and distilleries will have to:

  • Require advance reservations
  • Limit visits to 90 minutes
  • End alcohol consumption at 8 p.m.

However, counties have the ability to amend the state rules to make them stricter and L.A. health department officials could decide to do that.

If you're confused because your neighborhood bar has been open during most of the pandemic, we don't blame you. Breweries and wineries that serve food are classified as restaurants and get to follow those rules, which allow for earlier reopenings.

Diners eat out in Little Tokyo. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

What about bars that don't serve food? They'll remain closed until a county makes it to the "orange" tier. In the orange tier, they'll be allowed to reopen but only outdoors.

In the red tier of California's four-tier reopening blueprint, other businesses will also be able to reopen:

  • Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50% and their food courts can reopen at 25% capacity.
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums can also open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Gyms, fitness centers, yoga and dance studios can open indoors at 10% capacity. Masks are still required.

Happy dining.