Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Whenever LA Restaurants Reopen, They'll Be Half-Full

A coronavirus-themed burger is pictured at the Pizza Home restaurant in Hanoi on March 26, 2020. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

There's no target date yet for when restaurants in Los Angeles (and throughout California) might reopen but whenever they do, dining out will be a very different experience than it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Restaurants that are still hanging on will likely be required to minimize the number of customers who can sit down to eat, which might mean rearranging or redesigning dining rooms. Servers and other workers may have to wear masks and gloves. Establishments might be required to check patrons' temperatures at the door.

Dr. Sonia Angell, the director of the state's Department of Public Health said:

"It's about going forward in ways that are healthy for all of us but it won't look the same. Restaurants will be likely to reopen but perhaps they'll have fewer tables, creating greater opportunity for physical distancing."

She was speaking at a briefing held today by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who discussed his potential timeline for loosening the statewide emergency order.
Support for LAist comes from

Newsom didn't give a specific date but said that if three things happen over the next two weeks:

  1. If hospitalization and ICU numbers decline
  2. If contact tracing infrastructure is ready
  3. And if personal protective equipment is available

Then, he will be able to provide a timeline in the first week of May.
Newsom also emphasized that whenever restaurants and other businesses begin reopening, the new normal will be anything but.

"You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask. Dinner where the menu is disposable, where half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear, where your temperature is checked before you walk in to the establishment. These are likely scenarios as we begin to process the next phase and next iteration," Newsom said.

Face coverings will also likely become common in public, so it won't just be your waiter sporting one — you'll probably be wearing one, too.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.