Los Angeles County restaurants finally saw loosened coronavirus restrictions on Friday as establishments were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only — but officials implemented new restrictions, including a ban on televisions.
According to the health order issued by the county, televisions or other screens that broadcast programming must remain off. The rule comes a week ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday she’s worried that the giant sporting event, which usually drives crowds to bars and restaurants for celebrations and watch-parties, will become a “superspreader” event.
“It will be tragic if the Super Bowl becomes the Super Spreader of coronavirus,” Ferrer said, according to KTLA5. She added that residents should avoid large gatherings and refrain from throwing Super Bowl parties to prevent a situation where the virus can further spread.
Ferrer stressed the need for residents to continue to abide by social distancing and mask recommendations, otherwise “we’ll be in the horrible position of needing to once again backtrack.”
Dining was suspended in the county for nearly two months, as California grappled with record-shattering numbers of positive cases and alarming rates of hospitalizations.
On Friday, L.A. County Health Officer Muntu Davis said that despite the reopenings — considered a reprieve for struggling businesses that are forced to remain closed amid the pandemic — LA County is “still seeing between 6,000 and 7,000 people test positive for COVID-19 every day.”
“This is still a very high number of positive cases,” Davis said.
Restaurants are not allowed to seat more than six people per table, all of whom must be from the same household, and tables must be positioned at least 8 feet apart, according to the new guidelines.
Employees must wear a face covering and a face shield at all times to interact with customers, as well.