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LA County Pivots, Moving To Allow Restaurants To Sell Like Grocery Pop-Ups

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Since the coronavirus quarantine forced most businesses to close, restaurants have gotten crafty. Some shifted to takeout and delivery. Others reinvented themselves as mini-markets, leveraging their connections with food vendors to sell fresh produce, dry goods and meal kits to customers.

  • Guerrilla Tacos in downtown Los Angeles is now offering large, pre-made meals that include 10 pounds of meat, 30 eggs and a roll of toilet paper.
  • All Day Baby in Silver Lake is selling smoked and raw meats, baked goods, eggs, wine and other items from a takeout window.
  • Sunset Strip bistro Tesse is selling locally sourced produce as well as beans, spices, soups and more.
  • An array of Long Beach eateries are selling breads, veggies and meal kits to make at home.

You get the drift.

As creative as this strategy is, Los Angeles County officials weren't thrilled about it and earlier this week, and they put the kibosh on it.

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On Monday, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer publicly said:

"I appreciate all of the innovation, but grocery stores are licensed, and anybody who wants to be a grocery store does need to get licensed."

Under California law, you need different permits to sell prepared vs. unprepared foods.

Today, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion, proposed by supervisor Janice Hahn, that directs the Department of Public Health to create a set of guidelines that would allow the restaurants under certain situations to keep selling unprepared foods like eggs, meat, milk, beans, rice and the like.

No word on how long it will take for officials to draw up the new guidelines. In the meantime, the restaurants-turned-markets remain in limbo.


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