In an Only In Los Angeles moment, Venice Neighborhood Council members Wednesday demanded restaurants be allowed to resume outdoor dining as film sets already do for their casts and crews.
They decided to ask the Los Angeles City Council to demand the county’s Department of Public Health allow outdoor in-person dining to resume at restaurants.
At its Tuesday night meeting, the VNC passed a resolution that stated the county has allowed outdoor in-person dining on film sets and that it should set the same standards for brick-and-mortar establishments.
“… Venice Neighborhood Council calls upon the city of Los Angeles to call upon the county Department of Public Health to immediately quantify the protocols under which film companies have been allowed to provide outside dining to their crews on film sets and to allow all restaurants in Los Angeles County to re-open outside dining under the same protocols,” the resolution stated.
VNC Vice President George Francisco told City News Service that he recalled the vote being “almost unanimous” but the official tally was not immediately available.
The VNC resolution stated the pandemic has crippled the restaurant industry and threatens to put many locations out of business, and the most recent restrictions from the county disallowing outdoor in-person dinning are setting them even further back.
The VNC’s resolution also noted the tens of thousands of restaurant jobs that have been lost and more that could be lost without some kind of sustainable revenue.
The county Department of Public Health imposed the outdoor in-person dining ban on Nov. 25, citing increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The county Board of Supervisors debated the issue on Nov. 24, but voted 3-2 to support the ban, arguing that restaurant patrons spend extended periods of time in close proximity and without wearing masks.
In the meantime, county health officials reported Tuesday that there are only 115 intensive-care unit beds available, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
Los Angeles County health officials acted “arbitrarily” and without a proper “risk-benefit” analysis when they banned outdoor dining as a coronavirus-control measure, a judge ruled last week in a lawsuit brought by California Restaurant Association against the county, but the decision didn’t immediately restore in-person dining.
Restaurants can still deliver and provide take-out meals.
CNS reached out to FilmLA, the nonprofit organization that oversees filming in the region, about what protocols it has regarding dining on film sets. According to the FilmLA website, people working on film sets are required to adhere to COVID-19 orders set by the county.
“Current orders impose requirements on film productions regarding workplace social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, hours of filming activity, regular sanitation and employee testing,” the website states. “The protocols do not limit the size of productions in terms of people, beyond what is safe and practical for social distancing in a confined space.”