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LA Supes Uphold Outdoor Dining Ban, As The Fight Gets Messy

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A server wearing a mask and face shield takes orders from customers at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. (Robyn Beck / AFP)
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Los Angeles County's ban on outdoor dining is still slated to take effect at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, after weathering attacks on multiple fronts.

A divided County Board of Supervisors, after much debate and a closed door session with counsel, voted down Kathryn Barger's motion to rescind the ban.

The vote was 3-2. Supervisors Hilda Solis, Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas voted against the motion, while Barger and Janice Hahn supported it.

The action came shortly after the L.A. City Council, on an 11-3 vote, passed an urgent resolution drafted by Monica Roriguez asking the county's public health department and supervisors to rescind the order.

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During the supervisors' debate, Barger argued, "There is no sufficient data to show that outdoor dining has led to significant transmission," adding, "This county has taken the approach of, 'everything should be closed unless we have a good reason to open it.' Our approach should be, 'will we close sectors when they prove to carry too much risk?' Outdoor dining has not hit that threshold for closure."

Kuehl said she reluctantly backs the ban: "I think it's sad, but I support this. The entire situation that we're in is unprecedented in my long lifetime. People are having to lose their jobs. They are losing so much and we have done everything we can."

This was the final board meeting for Ridley-Thomas, who recently won a spot on the L.A. City Council.

On another battlefront, a Los Angeles judge today rejected a request by the California Restaurant Association to immediately block the county's ban. The group's lawsuit challenging the ban will continue to make its way through the courts.

The temporary ban on outdoor dining has drawn tons of pushback, mostly from restaurant owners, business associations and officials in various cities around the county. At the supervisors' meeting, Hahn said her phone had been blowing up with messages from people opposed to the ban.

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The city of Pasadena, which has its own health department, has decided to allow outdoor dining — for now. Officials have said they're still analyzing data and may change their minds, however.

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