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Pasadena will allow outdoor dining to continue despite L.A. County health order

 Patrons sit at tables outside Perle Restaurant  in Pasadena.
Patrons enjoy dinner outside Perle Restaurant in Pasadena. The City Council will not halt outdoor dining on Wednesday. Pasadena has its own public health department.
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

The Pasadena City Council will allow restaurants to continue outdoor dining despite a new L.A. County health order to suspend such operations for three weeks due to the alarming coronavirus surge.

“We will assess our data daily but at this point will not close down restaurants on Wednesday or the near future based on a discussion at our City Council meeting tonight,” said Lisa Derderian, spokeswoman for the city of Pasadena.

The announcement was made after Monday’s City Council meeting and a day after Los Angeles County said it would halt in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for at least three weeks starting Wednesday.

The decision to suspend outdoor dining came as Los Angeles County recorded its highest one-day total for COVID-19 cases on Monday.

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Pasadena has its own Department of Public Health that has the authority to issue health orders independent of Los Angeles County. Its orders have generally followed those of Los Angeles. As of Monday, Pasadena has reported 3,405 coronavirus cases and 132 deaths.

The Los Angeles County decision to temporarily halt outdoor dining has sparked a backlash from eateries and some county officials, who worry about the devastating economic toll. The county Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the the health department order on Tuesday.

County health officials argued that the outdoor dining restrictions are warranted given the critical healthcare crisis. They noted that restricting businesses has worked to bring down coronavirus cases in the past, and that action is needed before hospitals are overwhelmed.

The new wave of coronavirus cases brings L.A. County closer to another stay-at-home order.

The city of Long Beach, which also has its own public health department, joined with the county and also issued a new health order to prohibit on-site dining. The order, which goes in effect Wednesday, will allow restaurants, bars and breweries to operate drive-through, curbside and other outdoor pickup and delivery.

Over the last two weeks, the number of new cases has increased in Long Beach. Health officials say hospitalizations have jumped by 248% from 25 to 85 since the start of the month. The positivity rate is now at 5.8%, compared with 2.9% when it was at its lowest, and the most recent five-day average case rate is 34 per 100,000, up from a low of 6.9 per 100,000.

As Monday, the city has reported 15,226 confirmed cases and 270 deaths.


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