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LA Restaurants Can Reopen For Dine-In Service As Soon As Tonight

Customers at the Busy Bee Diner on May 24, 2020 in Ventura, California. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
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Along with hair salons and barbershops, Los Angeles County restaurants can reopen for dine-in service.

The order was issued early Friday and is effective immediately, which means restaurants can open as soon as tonight -- if they follow the county's health and safety guidelines.

However, the L.A. County Department of Public Health hasn't yet released detailed guidelines, only the following broad strokes:

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In-person dining in restaurants

  • Physical distancing measures will be in place.
  • Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever. Patrons feeling ill should not eat at a restaurant.
  • Outdoor seating and curbside pickup are prioritized.
  • Reservations are encouraged.
  • Customers will be asked to wait for their table in their cars or outside the restaurant to prevent crowds from gathering.
  • Diners must wear cloth face coverings when not eating.
  • Bar areas will be closed.
  • Occupancy capacity will be limited to 60% for the next three weeks.

People at a deserted food court inside a mall near Fort Lauderdale, Florida on May 18, 2020. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, who leads the L.A. County Department of Public Health, said at a press conference on Friday afternoon that county officials would not require restaurants to submit to any sort of inspection prior to reopening. She asked that restaurants adhere to the protocols posted on the county's website, but no one will check whether or not restaurants follow the guidelines.

"We've asked that everybody look at [and] adhere to the protocols," Ferrer said. "We're hoping the protocols are a really good tool for the restaurants to use. This is like the honor system because we're all in this together."

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The city of Los Angeles quietly released its own set of guidelines earlier this week.

At today's press conference, L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger said Jerry Greenberg, one of the owners of the Sugarfish chain of restaurants, will deliver a roadmap for restaurant reopening on June 2. Greenberg serves on the county's Economic Resiliency Task Force, which includes 40 experts from various sectors, including the hospitality industry.

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Restaurants can also apply to set up tables on sidewalks, streets, parking spots and parking lots, allowing them to expand their footprints and allow for more al fresco dining.