Outdoor dining in Los Angeles County reopened Friday with a catch: restaurants and bars can’t have their televisions turned on for customers, according to a new health order.
“Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off. This provision is effective until further notice,” guidance issued Thursday reads.
It’s unclear why the county is prohibiting restaurants from using their televisions given no scientific evidence that television contributes to the spread of the coronavirus.
Fox 11’s Bill Melugin, however, said he suspects the health department “wants to stop people from watching the Super Bowl outdoors at sports bars/restaurants.”
Melugin does go on to note that this new guidance will only “force people to watch [the game] indoors with private home gatherings by taking the outdoor option away.”
Directly from the new health order: “Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off. This provision is effective until further notice.”
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) January 29, 2021
“Absolutely brilliant,” he continued.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned the Super Bowl could be a super spreader earlier this week, making it likely the new guidance was issued in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We know that Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and we can’t repeat the mistakes of the past,” Ferrer said, according to NBC Los Angeles. “It will be tragic if the Super Bowl becomes a super-spreader of coronavirus.”A Nov. 25 health order banned outdoor dining for at least three weeks but was made indefinite, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled in December that health officials imposed arbitrary restrictions when they shut down outdoor dining, noting the county failed to provide any scientific evidence justifying the ban. Chalfant had previously declined to lift the ban during an initial Dec. 2 hearing but ordered the county to provide some supporting evidence.
California’s Second District Court of Appeals ruled at the end of December that the ban could remain in place through February, according to Fox Business.
Story cited here.