COVID curfew: Restaurants to close at 10 p.m. in LA County’s new round of pandemic business restrictions

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China Cafe and other restaurants in downtown LA’s Grand Central Market have seen far fewer customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mona Holmes.

After hinting that new restrictions could be coming, LA County officials are tightening the rules on some businesses. On Tuesday, the County announced that curfews will start Friday to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  

Here’s the rundown: 

-Restaurants, breweries and other “non-essential retail” businesses will have to close at 10 p.m. No more late-night service. 

-Restaurants also must reduce outdoor dining capacity to 50%. That will be a hit to businesses because many have relied on increasing their outdoor table service. 

-Nail salons and other personal care businesses will see a 25% capacity limit put on their operations. 

LA County’s official guidelines on gatherings bans get-togethers greater than 15 people from more than three households — think Thanksgiving dinner tables. 

LA County took these steps because COVID-19 is spreading unchecked by almost all metrics; the County is reporting 2,884 cases as the five-day average and 1,126 hospitalized patients.

County officials gave a grim warning about the consequences if the spread reached certain milestones, and they set a new threshold for a future stay-at-home lockdown. 

If the 5-day average of cases in the County grows above 4,500 or hospitalizations exceed 2,000 per day, the following restriction will be added:

  • A Safer at Home Order will be instituted for three weeks. The Order would only allow essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.
  • A 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew would be mandated, with essential workers exempt.

“Los Angeles County is at a critical moment to save lives and curb the spread of COVID-19,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in a statement. “I urge our residents, businesses and community leaders to heed this warning and follow these heightened safeguards so that additional restrictions do not need to be imposed.”