County inspectors visited 2,000 restaurants over the weekend, and half of them were "still not in compliance" with pandemic health requirements, said the county's public health director, Barbara Ferrer.
The inspections were made only one week after Los Angeles restaurant were allowed to re-open dining rooms but only if they followed some stringent guidelines and requirements intended to protect workers and customers from coronavirus.
"They'll be revisiting all of the restaurants that were not in compliance and issuing them an order to come into compliance," Ferrer said. "We've been doing a lot of education, but starting this week we're actually going to revisit places where we noted that people still had concerns, they had confusion, they hadn't quite made the changes. There should be no places where tables are right next to each other. They either need a six-foot (separation) or a physical barrier. Those are requirements in the protocols."
Compliance was even lower the first weekend, Ferrer said. "I want to note that 50% of the restaurants we visited were in complete compliance, which is way up from where we were the first weekend. So I want to thank all those restaurants that are in fact doing their very best to adhere to the protocols and put in place those measures that offer safety."
County officials have continued to stress the need for residents to continue practicing social-distancing and wearing face coverings when mixing the public. They have warned that reopening more businesses is not a sign that the coronavirus pandemic has receded or disappeared, but reopening the economy is essential.
"We're trying to balance public health with getting people back to work," County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. "Because we know it's not an `either-or,' it's got to be an `and.' We want to be driven by industry, recognizing that Dr. Ferrer and her team will help us ensure that people are doing the social distancing and everything is in place at each business to ensure that people are protected."
Restaurants are subject to 10 pages of rules and guidelines that are subject to change. A few of the requirements included in 10 pages of rules and diagrams:
• Seating capacity is capped at 60% of normal
• Customers in different parties must be seated at least six feet apart if there are no barriers
• The barriers must be at least 6-feet tall
• Diners must wear masks at all times except when they are eating and drinking
• Table tops must be clear of all items --- including dishes and condiments -- before customers are seated
• Restaurant bars are to remain closed