LA Mayor Garcetti orders closure of bars and restaurants to slow spread of COVID-19

Bars, restaurants and nightclubs across the city must close at midnight Sunday following an executive order from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

They must remain closed until March 31 unless the executive order is rescinded or extended. The move is an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Garcetti said.

LA County had 69 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, including one death.

The executive order, signed Sunday night, likewise closes entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters and playhouses, and gyms. Garcetti strongly urged all places of worship to limit their services at a press conference Sunday night. 

Businesses with delivery or pickup services, such as restaurants with drive-throughs or takeout options, may continue to operate those services, he said.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and food banks will stay open, Garcetti said. 

Ezequiel Medina, a night manager at Enzo’s Pizzeria in Westwood, was working at the restaurant when he learned of the executive order. Before the mayor’s announcement, Medina said the restaurant had been receiving fewer customers after UCLA classes moved online as a response to the pandemic. 

“A lot of the students are leaving (for home),” Medina said. “So it’s more like deliveries and you know, making sure people get their food right and more careful with the people that come in and the service we give to them.”

After the executive order was announced, Medina said the restaurant will stop dine-in orders but will continue with takeout and deliveries.

“We’ll just leave (the dine-in area) open but will just let the public know that it will be either pickups or deliveries on our website,” Medina said.

David Houston, the owner of Barney’s Beanery in Westwood, said the pub will comply with the order and temporarily close.

“The most important thing, of course, is safety for our staff and our customers,” Houston said. “We’re not happy, but we’re going to comply and we hope this thing can get over quickly and we all get back to our normal lives.”

The gastropub had posted a sign on its doors before the executive order denoting that parts of the dine-in area were closed, cutting seating in half, and notifying customers that the store takes to-go and delivery orders.

Alexander Manos, the owner of Rocco’s Tavern in Westwood, could not be reached for comment. Broxton Brewery in Westwood declined to comment.

Garcetti also discussed other measures the city is taking to lessen the impact of the virus and prevent its spread. 

LA is opening 60 centers Wednesday that will offer food to students and parents, Garcetti said.

The city has already ordered that water and power not be shut off if people can’t pay their bills, Garcetti said. The city likewise ordered a moratorium on renters being evicted.

Garcetti also asked Los Angeles residents not to hoard food.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large gatherings are the most common reason for the spread of the novel coronavirus. The CDC recommended Saturday morning that citizens postpone or cancel gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. 

Slowing the rate of COVID-19 infections will ensure that the health care industry is not too overwhelmed to care for people who have other ailments, Garcetti said. 

The most important thing LA residents can do is continue social distancing to protect older and immunocompromised citizens, he said. 

“Myself and all of us know of individuals who are saying, ‘This doesn’t apply to me. I’m going to get through this,’” he said. “‘I’m strong, I’m healthy, maybe I’m young, it’s not going to statistically take me.’ But know that our actions aren’t about ourselves.”

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