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It's Official! LA's Restaurants And Bars Can Ditch Masks, Capacity Limits And Other Pandemic Protocols

An image of dozens of well-dressed people sit at tables in a large, fancy restaurant.
Diners celebrate at the opening of La Condesa Restaurant in Santa Monica, California on April 22, 2021.
(JC Olivera
/
Getty Images)
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Late Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health finally issued an order rescinding most sector-specific COVID-19 protocols. The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15 — a.k.a. today.

Although we've known for months that June 15 would be California's big reopening, restaurant and bar owners were in limbo, waiting for specific guidelines from L.A. County officials.

What does this order do? In short, it's freedom. The order allows restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries and most other businesses to operate pretty much they way they were operating before the pandemic.

For dining and drinking establishments, this means...

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  • They don't have to ask patrons, vaccinated or unvaccinated, to wear masks inside their establishment — although they can if they want to.
  • They can now operate at 100% capacity, both indoors and outdoors.
  • They can, once again, seat large parties and these parties can be comprised of people from multiple households.
  • They no longer need to space tables 6-feet apart, install Plexiglass partitions, remove touchable items (like salt and pepper shakers) from tables or avoid hard menus.
  • They don't need to ask patrons to wait outside an establishment until their table is ready.
  • They no longer need to prepare and post COVID-19 safety protocols.

By the way, the above rules (or lack thereof) aren't just for restaurants and bars. They apply to most other business in L.A. County.
So what are restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries still required to do?

  • Until June 17, employees still need to wear masks. After June 17, employees who are vaccinated don't need to wear masks.
  • If a business experiences a coronavirus outbreak — defined as three or more COVID-19 cases among their employees in a 14-day span — they must report it to the Department of Public Health either online or by calling 888-397-3993 or 213-240-7821.

Yesterday's order, which supersedes the health department's prior order, will be revised to reflect future Cal/OSHA directives, State Executive Orders and public health guidelines. It also aligns L.A. County with a California's June 11 Public Health Order.

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Elina Shatkin connects connect hungry Angelenos — through food — to the culture, history, people and neighborhoods that make up our city.