Ally Santana/Courier An Illustration of people dining while being surrounded by a virus.
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The coronavirus pandemic continues to surge around the country with major increases in Los Angeles county, leading to a halt in in-person dining for all businesses in Los Angeles. Although Pasadena is a part of Los Angeles county, city officials have chosen not to follow these restrictions and continue to allow in person dining at outdoor locations in Pasadena.

Many Pasadena residents work in the LA area or vice versa, LA residents work in the Pasadena area. This means that when cases rise in Los Angeles, they are spiking in Pasadena, impacting the safety of the Pasadena community. The city of Pasadena should follow Los Angeles county guidelines to keep their residents as safe as possible during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases continue to climb in Los Angeles with the average number of cases in a five day period reaching over 4,000. The much needed precautionary restrictions on in-person dining aim to reduce exposure and bring the transmission rate down as the county heads further into the purple, or widespread, tier in the state’s blueprint for a safer economy system.

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health stated in their protocol for restaurants, breweries and wineries:

“Due to the continued increasing spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), rapidly increasing case rates and hospitalizations, and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, this protocol has been updated to limit restaurants, other food facilities, and breweries and wineries, as defined below, to provide food and beverage service via delivery, drive thru or carry out only.”

As the rest of Los Angeles County begins to shut down their businesses to help curb the spread, Pasadena health officials have decided that these precautions should not apply to them. Even though Coronavirus cases continue to soar, restaurants are permitted to remain open in Pasadena.

The Pasadena public health department released a new reopening protocol for restaurants and breweries outlining guidelines for in person dining.

The primary mandate stating:

“Approved operating restaurants, breweries and bars must cease service in their on-site, outdoor dining areas as of 10:00 PM and close their on-site dining areas thereafter until 5:00 AM, but may continue to offer takeout, drive-thru and delivery. Restaurants with Permitted, Commercial Kitchens, Restaurants and breweries that provide sit-down meals prepared in-house can open for take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining only.”

In this new protocol the Pasadena health department states how businesses should maintain social distancing in their establishments and what to do when an employee contracts the virus or if someone is feeling sick while at the establishment. These guidelines show that the health department is acknowledging that there is in fact a risk with operating during this time but are attempting to place public safety in the hands of business owners.

The health department continues to issue warnings to non-compliant restaurants and claim to be taking steps to ensure they are taking appropriate measures. The City of Pasadena stated they will hold businesses accountable to follow guidelines.

Enforcement teams will be monitoring businesses, parks, and other areas to ensure compliance with health protocols issued by Pasadena Public Health Department. Enforcement personnel will be easily identifiable and will be wearing official City uniforms.”

Pasadena has already had to shut down restaurants for noncompliance of the coronavirus protocol only a few days into the new guidelines.

Restaurants not adhering to health protocols will be shut down. We want to keep restaurants operating, but that hinges on their willingness to follow the rules. Four restaurants were closed today, pending hearings to reopen, and several others have been issued warnings.”

This proves that continuing to operate in-person dining is unsafe in Pasadena and leaving it up to businesses to keep the community safe is not in the public’s best interest.

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