Los Angeles County on Sunday banned in-person dining for three weeks amid a surge in cases less than 24 hours after they imposed a 10pm curfew.
The order will take effect Wednesday at 10pm, officials said.
Officials said: ‘To reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive thru, and delivery services.
‘Wineries and breweries may continue their retail operations adhering to current protocols. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next 3 weeks.’
Authorities said Saturday that coronavirus cases threaten to swamp health care systems in California. Los Angeles County, the state’s largest county, had already warned that an even more drastic lockdown could be imminent.
Diners are served outside by a waiter wearing a mask, face shield and rubber gloves, Wednesday, November 18 in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles. Los Angeles County imposed new restrictions on businesses Sunday
The county accounts for a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, but it has about a third of the coronavirus cases and close to 40% of the deaths.
County public health Director Barbara Ferrer said Friday that the county had 4,272 new cases in a single day and 13,247 over the past three days. The rate of positive COVID-19 tests has jumped to 7.3%, and nearly 1,300 people have been hospitalized.
Restrictions announced Saturday across California had required people to stay home from 10pm to 5am unless they are responding to an emergency, shopping for groceries, picking up takeout or walking their dogs.
Authorities say the focus is on keeping people from social mixing and drinking — the kinds of activities that are blamed for causing COVID-19 infections to soar after dipping only a few months ago.
California as a whole has seen more than 1 million infections, with a record of almost 15,500 new cases reported Friday.
Officials hope to avoid full-on lockdown orders of the kind enacted back when the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining steam in March.
Public health officials since then have reacted to swings in infection rates by easing and then reinforcing various stay-at-home orders in an effort to balance safety and the economy.
The result, however, has been confusion and what some health officials term ‘COVID fatigue’ in which people simply become tired of the rules and let down their guard.