Good morning, L.A. It’s March 10.
It is with the greatest of hesitance that I say: Indoor dining could resume soon.
In a meeting yesterday, Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, said the county is likely to graduate from the state’s most restrictive purple tier to the slightly less restrictive red tier this weekend. (The color-coded tier system guides what can be open, and exactly how open it can be.) Counties are eligible to move into the red tier when they have an adjusted daily case rate of four-to-seven per 100,000 people, and an average positivity rate of five-to-eight percent.
My colleague Elina Shatkin reports that in the red tier, restaurants can open indoor dining at 25% capacity or 100 customers, whichever is lower. Wineries and tasting rooms can only begin indoor service in the next tier (orange) and bars, breweries and distilleries must remain completely closed until then.
There are a few reasons that L.A. County — after a terrifying and deadly winter surge — is already looking at moving into the red tier: Coronavirus cases have dropped, officials have adjusted their vaccination strategy, and the benchmarks have changed slightly.
But, we’ve been down this road before. After being required to close soon after the pandemic began, restaurants in L.A. were allowed to reopen for indoor dining — yes, indoor dining! — in May of last year. At that time, there were no official guidelines, and restaurants were on the honor code for following protocol.
From there, city and county officials closed restaurants again, then reopened them for outdoor dining, then closed them for outdoor dining again, all of which culminated in some restaurateurs simply ignoring the rules altogether.
All of which is to say, let’s take it one step at a time. It will be great if L.A. moves into the red tier, and not just because more businesses can reopen — it will mean that fewer people are getting sick.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
What Else You Need To Know Today
Before You Go … Disneyland Announces Its Reopening
Get your mouse ears and Disney-themed face masks ready. At Tuesday’s Disney shareholders meeting, CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company expects to reopen Southern California parks — with limited capacity — by late April.
“Here in California, we’re encouraged by the positive trends we’re seeing and we’re hopeful they’ll continue to improve,” Chapek said.
While he didn’t offer a specific date, he said it should be announced “in the coming weeks.” The state announced last week that theme parks could reopen as soon as April 1, but there are some logistics that mean it won’t be happening quite that soon.
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