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Essential California: L.A. suspends in-person dining

Customers at outdoor tables
Customers dine at outdoor restaurants in Redondo Beach.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Nov. 23, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year will be announced Monday. Last year’s word was “climate emergency.”

The 63rd Grammy Awards nominations will be announced Tuesday. The awards themselves are scheduled to be held Jan. 31, in a manner to be determined.

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[See also: “Taylor & Megan & Harry & COVID? In music biz, it’s officially Grammy season” in the Los Angeles Times]

Also Tuesday: Many long-established conventions of the American presidency have fallen by the wayside as of late, but the annual White House turkey pardon is scheduled to proceed as planned.

Thursday is Thanksgiving. If you’re looking for something to watch, the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be presented as a TV-only event for the first time. (A quick programming note: This newsletter will be off from Thursday through Saturday for the holiday, and then back in your inbox next Monday morning.)

[See also: “We only have to do this once. How to celebrate the holidays alone” in the Los Angeles Times]

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Friday is “Black Friday” — the day that typically kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. To ease foot traffic during the pandemic, some retailers are already offering special sales and deals online in advance of the typically bustling holiday weekend of shopping.

Saturday is “Small Business Saturday” another made-up “day” to encourage you to buy things. But at least this one specifically targets small businesses, who desperately need the support at the moment. If you’re looking to shop local in L.A., here are some good roundups of local businesses, many of which offer online options.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

On Sunday, L.A. County public health officials announced they will suspend outdoor dining at restaurants amid a surge of new coronavirus cases. The devastating blow to Los Angeles’ struggling restaurant industry came after the five-day average of new cases in the county reached 4,097 — surpassing the threshold that officials had previously said would trigger a suspension of in-person dining. The new rule takes effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday and restricts restaurants — along with breweries, wineries and bars — to takeout and delivery only for the first time since May. Los Angeles Times

The Southern California COVID-19 surge is bearing down on exhausted healthcare workers, raising anxiety levels on hospital wards and stoking fears that there might not be enough staff and supplies for the difficult weeks ahead. Los Angeles Times

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California’s pandemic-plagued economy perked up in October, as employers brought back tens of thousands of furloughed workers. But the state has regained fewer than half the jobs it lost in the spring’s catastrophic downturn, and economists predict the recovery may have already stalled.Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his family are under quarantine after learning that three of his children were exposed to a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the coronavirus, the governor’s office said late Sunday. Los Angeles Times

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

L.A. STORIES

Los Angeles has reached a bloody benchmark not seen in a decade: 300 homicides in a year. The milestone comes amid growing concerns about increases in violence this year, not just in Los Angeles but also other big cities across the nation. Los Angeles Times

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Are you pining for the strange rituals of the office holiday party? Well, a new outdoor sculptural installation at LACMA should do the trick, complete with cringy outfits, watered-down punch and at least one employee in a Santa hat who’s passed out at her desk. Los Angeles Times

“This mural inside an LA boutique is the most cursed thing ever made.” Over the weekend, a photo of a mural inside a Venice clothing store went viral. Lining a wall inside the boutique, the mural depicts Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — all walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard together with shopping bags. LAist

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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Joe Biden will unveil his first Cabinet picks Tuesday, his chief of staff said Sunday, a tangible sign that a new administration is moving ahead despite President Trump’s continuing efforts to stymie it and to overturn the election result. Los Angeles Times

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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced that state prisons will soon offer video visits. In-person visitation has been suspended since March 11 due to the pandemic. Los Angeles Times

HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

“Every person is sacred. Every life holds value.” As deaths soar, a Bay Area vigil mourns homeless lives lost. Mercury News

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

The longtime leader of California’s NAACP will step down next month, a move that comes amid conflict-of-interest allegations after her public affairs company earned $1.7 million endorsing ballot measures this year. Los Angeles Times

“Irony of ironies: what saved Burritos La Palma during a pandemic was going viral.” How an appearance on a Netflix show saved a small Southern California chain from coronavirus ruin. Los Angeles Times

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Albert Bañuelos in his shop
Albert Bañuelos’ Burritos La Palma experienced a steep downfall due to the coronavirus but saw a huge upswing after an appearance on a Netflix taco show.
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Protesters demonstrate in Huntington Beach in defiance of the coronavirus curfew: A couple hundred protesters, many donning bright red caps and waving American flags, gathered Saturday night at Huntington Beach Pier in defiance of new state restrictions. Los Angeles Times

Twenty underrated Sonoma County restaurants, according to readers of the local paper.Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

A poem to start your week: “To be of use” by Marge Piercy. Poetry Foundation

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Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: partly sunny, 64. San Diego: partly sunny, 64. San Francisco: partly sunny, 61. San Jose: sunny, 63. Fresno: sunny, 63. Sacramento: partly sunny, 64. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

The late former congressman and Oakland mayor Ron Dellums (Nov. 24, 1935), “I Love L.A.” singer Randy Newman (Nov. 28, 1943), retired Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully (Nov. 29, 1927), Nobel chemistry laureate and UC Berkeley professor Yuan Lee (Nov. 29, 1936) and former UC President Janet Napolitano (Nov. 29, 1957).

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If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.


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