Despite not providing any evidence that restaurants open to restricted, outdoor-only dining contributes to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests, Los Angeles County is shutting down all restaurants beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday. The closures will last at least three weeks and are guaranteed to wipe out a percentage of businesses run by hard-working people and families who have had to jump through hoops for months to try to survive.
There is one L.A. county supervisor who is disgusted by the plan and has vowed to vote against it. Kathryn Barger, the only Republican on the board, said this new measure accomplishes one thing: It unfairly punishes restaurant owners and workers. “For me, it’s about a lack of consistency. Our own public health director has said that more than 50% of the positives being reported are the result of private social gatherings with someone who tested positive,” she told KPCC Radio.
Barger believes that it’s illegal house parties that have caused the sudden surge in Southern California, not restaurants where social distancing and mask wearing is required. “I’m not going to sit back and say that the restaurant industry should have to shoulder the financial burden for something that is, from a health standpoint, causing this virus to spread,” Barger said.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who does not own an actual medical degree, said at a press conference Friday she had no idea how idea how many people were infected at a restaurant. “Most people don’t know where they got infected. … Everywhere people interact is a risk, indoor is worse than outdoor, without a mask is worse than with. Our data presents evidence that gatherings are increasing, and gatherings are one of the drivers for the increases in cases in L.A. County.”
Restaurants that have survived the pandemic in Los Angeles have been forced to convert to outdoor-only dining, and most have spent thousands of dollars making that transition.