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Restrictions banning outdoor dining across most of California have been lifted.

Outdoor dining to resume at California restaurants

Governor Gavin Newsom announces end to most severe restrictions as ICU beds open up

California has ended all stay-at-home orders effective Jan. 25 and the most severe business restrictions have been lifted, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday, paving the way for outdoor dining across the state.

Regional stay-at-home orders affecting most of the state were announced Dec. 3 as available ICU hospital beds dropped below 15%. That meant restaurants could only offer takeout and delivery service — the most severe restaurant restrictions in the country.

But four-week ICU capacity in every region in the state is now at 15% or higher, signaling an end to those orders, as well as to a curfew that banned non-essential activity between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Officials in Los Angeles, which imposed outdoor dining restrictions even earlier, on Nov. 25, indicated that they would move to allow outdoor dining there later this week, according to a report from The Los Angeles Times.

The Times quoted L.A. county supervisor Hilda Solis as saying the county would “essentially align with the state,” including allowing outdoor dining.

The restrictions had sparked outcry across Southern California, including some operators in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles, refusing to stop serving outdoors.

Restaurants in San Diego, just south of Orange County, won a temporary right to stay open after suing the county, but that was overturned last week.

Meanwhile, in New York City, where indoor dining was shut down on Dec. 11 as hospitalizations rose, those restrictions have remained in place, even as Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would lift some other restrictions, although he didn’t clarify which ones.

New York restaurants outside of the city are permitted to offer indoor dining at 50% capacity, but Cuomo said the city was a special case, due to its high population density.

“The indoor dining in New York City is a New York City-specific condition and we’re not at this point contemplating any changes,” he said in a press conference Monday.

The city’s restaurant trade association, the NYC Hospitality Alliance, expressed outrage at the continuing restrictions and said it would continue to seek legal remedy to the restrictions.

“Governor Cuomo’s never-ending restrictions keeping indoor dining closed at New York City restaurants, while keeping it open around the rest of the state where infection and hospitalization rates are higher than in New York City, is discriminatory and is destroying the livelihoods of small business owners and workers,” NYC Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie said in a statement. “Multiple legal actions have been filed to reopen indoor dining in New York City and we are exploring all additional legal options on behalf of the city’s restaurant industry to ensure equitable treatment and application of the Governor’s Executive Orders.”

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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