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Morning Brief: Restaurants Get Whiplash From Reopening Back-And-Forth

Wine glasses at a restaurant. <A HREF="">Chuttersnap/Unsplash</A>
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Good morning, L.A.

For local restaurant owners and staff, the pandemic has been a long, traumatic rollercoaster ride. They’ve grappled not only with the baseline financial terror of possibly closing (for those that have even made it this far), but also with city, county and state orders that have forced them to close, open, close, open and close again.

Yesterday, the situation took yet another confusing turn. My colleague Elina Shatkin reports that L.A. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary injunction that overturned L.A. County's recent ban on outdoor dining. The move comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the California Restaurant Association and attorney and local restaurateur Mark Geragos.

At first pass, that sounds like a good thing for local eateries, many of whose owners loudly decried the outdoor dining ban. But it’s 2020, and nothing could be that simple! After county officials issued their now-overturned prohibition, California imposed a three-week stay-at-home order on L.A. County, which overrides the county ban. The state order requires restaurants and bars to remain closed, except for to-go services.

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The short version? The county’s outdoor dining ban was overturned, but as long as the state’s stay-at-home order is in effect (for now, until Dec. 28), it doesn’t matter – restaurants will still have to stick to take-out and delivery.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

What You Need To Know Today

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Criminal Justice Reform: Just one day into the job and facing criticism from some of his own staff, L.A. District Attorney George Gascón said his decision to lock up fewer people and shorten the sentences of people already behind bars will not endanger the public.

Money Matters: L.A. City Council opted to pass most of the city analyst’s cost-saving recommendations in order to meet a $675 million budget shortfall. The council also voted to pursue the purchase of a Chinatown apartment building to protect tenants from a big rent increase. Outdoor dining is closed everywhere in Southern California – except Manhattan Beach.

Coronavirus Vaccine: More than 80,000 doses of a new coronavirus vaccine should arrive in L.A. County next week, but the first batch won't be enough to vaccinate all of the health care workers in L.A. County.

Public Radio Friends: KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic has two hosts for the first time, and they're also the first people of color to host the show in its four decade-plus history.

Foodie Gift Guide: Check out our guide to gifts for the local foodie on your list, including crazy cookbooks, face-melting hot sauces, artisanal boba, fresh kimchi and more.

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