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Pasadena Will Keep Outdoor Dining Open -- For Now

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Some lanes on Colorado Blvd. in Old Town Pasadena will be closed to create more outdoor dining spots for restaurants. (Julia Paskin/KPCC)
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Pasadena will allow restaurants to continue outdoor service -- at least for now. City officials are still analyzing the data and could decide to put the kibosh on dine-in restaurant service in the future.

It's a sharp break from the decision made by Los Angeles County public health officials, who on Sunday issued a temporary order requiring restaurants to halt dine-in service for three weeks.

The mandate, which many restaurant owners fear will devastate their businesses, goes into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25. During this period, restaurants in most of L.A. County will only be able to offer food via takeout, delivery and drive-through.

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However, some cities in the county, such as Pasadena and Long Beach, have their own health departments, which regulate restaurants in those areas.

The city of Pasadena issued the following staement:

"The city of Pasadena will allow restaurants to remain open for outside dining with guidelines in place and continue to assess its COVID numbers, work closely with Huntington Hospital and give as much advance notice as possible if the City's Order is going to change in any respect.

We need to balance our growing numbers and the economic hardship of restaurant personnel. Behind every employee is a family and in many cases they are the sole providers. We want to gain compliance through education so we'll continue to work with the restauranteurs although it's imperative everyone follows the rules to slow this surge otherwise a State directive could supersede our local Orders."

At a Pasadena city council meeting on Monday night, officials discussed the issue. Mayor-elect Victor Gordo expressed support for keeping outdoor dining open and said, "I am glad that we're untethering from the county and recognizing our own healthcare jurisdiction," reports the Pasadena Star News.

In this case, the ultimate decision rests with Pasadena's public health department, not its city council.

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The agency has typically followed L.A. County's Department of Public Health, issuing the same kinds of restrictions on public gatherings, restaurants and businesses. If Pasadena public health officials continue to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining, it would be a major policy break between the city and the county.