California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted his stay-at-home lockdown order last week, allowing businesses deemed "nonessential" by the government, including restaurants and salons, to resume some in-person operations with safety precautions in place.
However, Los Angeles County public health officials have already enacted a new restriction that has many people scratching their heads: no TVs on at restaurants.
What are the details?
L.A. County public health officials released new restrictions Friday on outdoor dining, as indoor dining is still prohibited in the county.
Those restrictions include:
- Televisions must not be turned on
- Employees who come into contact with customers must wear a face mask and a face shield
- No more than six people may be seated at a table
- Every person at a table must be from the same household
- Tables must be placed at least 8 feet apart, not the traditional 6 feet
Officials said they placed restrictions on TV operations because they fear Super Bowl watch parties could become "super spreader" events.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"We really do need to be cautious as we move forward, given we have a major sporting event" coming up, and it's not uncommon for people to be "yelling, shouting, screaming during the excitement of a game," said L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.
"There is no such thing as no risk at a restaurant or any other setting where people from different households are together," he added during a briefing Friday.
L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer added on Wednesday, "It will be tragic if the Super Bowl becomes the Super Spreader of coronavirus."
The Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 7.
According to KLTA-TV, Ferrer also warned that officials would enact strict restrictions again if coronavirus cases rise after this latest restriction easing.
"It is really up to us whether we can sustain reopenings without jeopardizing each other's health and our ability to get more schools to reopen," Ferrer said. "The only way for this to occur is to keep doing what keeps the virus in check."
Health officials are reportedly concerned about the Super Bowl, in particular, because they suspect championship celebrations for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers contributed to the massive COVID-19 spike in the LA-area last fall.