Local Chefs React to 50 Percent Dining Capacity Regulations

Capacity in Los Angeles restaurants capped at 50 percent

By Toi Creel

Local restaurants are having to make some big changes in order to comply with the new COVID-19 guidelines. Hear what Westside chefs have to say about the new restrictions that limit restaurant capacity to 50 percent.

LA County officials announced that on November 20 that outdoor dining would be reduced to 50 percent for bars, restaurants, breweries, and wineries. The stricter protocol comes following the rise of COVID-19 cases in LA County for the third time. Recently cases had risen to around 3,000 per day.

In addition, county health officials say that if the five-day average of cases surpasses 4,000, all outdoor dining will be suspended. On Thursday, the county reported over 5,000 cases.

The regulations have provided a new challenge for local restaurants, including many on the Westside.

“Sometimes it feels like our industry is used as the rudder steering this ship — no other industry has been impacted so tumultuously as much as ours has,” Sam Trude of Great White in Venice told Eater LA. “We’re one of the lucky ones because we have a loyal customers supporting us. Our heart goes other restaurants and industries that aren’t able to open.”

Other restaurant owners who have already adapted to pandemic changes say they feel frustrated.

“There is no capacity limit on my patio, we only have nine tables in Palms and 30 tables in Torrance,” Ivan Vasquez of Madre in Torrance, Palms, and West Hollywood told Eater. “With our patio not even getting full we are already at 50 percent capacity. Restaurants like Madre have already spent thousand of dollars in umbrellas, heaters, tables, chairs, grass, lighting, face shields, outdoor barriers, tents, contractor labor cost, canopies, training, sanitizing stations, permits, and licenses.”

Jeffrey Merrihue of Heroic Italian in Santa Monica said the restaurant understands the need for safety but feels like the new outdoor measures are counterproductive and will be harmful.

“Heroic appreciates the need to fight the current second surge of COVID and indeed think the curfew is a good idea. The restriction on outdoor dining, however, makes no sense. All medical studies encourage outdoor activity noting that the vast majority of infections come from under-ventilated indoor activity. Driving people indoors in the middle of the flu season will only make things worse. Also, 95 percent of all outdoor dining is dramatically smaller than the indoor dining it is supposed to augment/replace. This reduction is like splitting a grain of rice into four pieces,” Merrihue told Eater.

Others were more blunt in their assesment.

“I don’t know what to say,” Jon Yao of Kato in West LA told Eater. “It’s going to crush us,”

in Dining, News
Related Posts

Public Hearing Set for Ridgeline Protection Ordinance

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

A public hearing it set for later this month about regulations intended to protect the mountains in the Bel Air...

Japanese Restaurant Boasting Elite Culinary Talent Opens Tonight

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

Imari opening on San Vicente Boulevard Friday evening By Toi Creel A Japanese restaurant is opening tonight near Pacific Palisades,...

In-Person Events Are Back with Summer Swing Nights: Jazzy Vocals plus Live Big Band – Now with Tap Dance, Swing Lessons, Vendors to Benefit Museum

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

Live, in-person entertainment is bringing out happy fans of all ages for Summer Swing Nights: Drive-In Edition. The concert fundraiser features the...

Food Review: Pizza That Lives up to the Hype

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

Prime Pizza, now on the Westside, serves up a top-notch slice By Kerry Slater A highly anticipated pizza joint recently...

Annenberg Beach House Set for Reopening

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

The Annenberg Community Beach House on Santa Monica beach is set to reopen soon. This week the City of Santa...

Olympic Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski Buys Palisades Home for $8.4M: Palisades Today – June 7, 2021

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Olympic Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski Buys Palisades Home for $8.4M *...

Robot Delivery, Will Rogers Beach Shelter, More on PPCC Agenda

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

Pacific Palisades Community Council set for June 10 meeting By Sam Catanzaro At their meeting this week, the Pacific Palisades...

George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon is Prepping for Landscaping

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

The Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners have awarded Over $8.8M to Ford E.C., Inc. for the creation of the...

Group of Westside Residents Taking on Homelessness Crisis

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

West LA Homeless fundraising to place two caseworkers in West LA- area By Sam Catanzaro A grassroots group of local...

Person Rescued After Falling Over 150 Foot Cliff in Topanga

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

A person was transported to a local hospital after falling 150 feet over a cliff in the Palisades Fire burn...

Edify TV: Hiring Challenges for Restaurants Ahead of Full Reopening

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

“We are having major staffing shortage challenges right now. Everyone is hiring at the same time,” says the owner of...

Belcampo Butcher Exposes Fraud at Santa Monica Location

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

An ex-employee at Belcampo posted a now viral Instagram video exposing a meat sourcing fraud within the Santa Monica location,...

PPCC to Fundraise, Retain Counsel in Opposition to Will Rogers Beach Housing Proposal

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

Pacific Palisades Community Council approves raising funds for legal expense, retain counsel in opposition of use of housing proposal  By...

Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi Featured in New York Times: Palisades Today – June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Street Racing and Overnight RVs Top Concerns for PCH Task Force...