Posted by 10 December 2020
The Los Angeles Public Health Department’s desire to shut down outdoor dining has run into legal trouble. This week a state judge says the agency erred in issuing the ban.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said that the department did not have the authority to issue such a ban. He went on to say that the ban “is not grounded in science, evidence, or logic.” The health department had shut down outdoor dining two weeks ago in response to rising coronavirus cases. An association of restaurant owners sued.
While the county said that such a ban was necessary to combat the coronavirus, Judge Chalfant disagreed. His ruling finds that the county did not rely on science in imposing the ban. The restaurant association leading the lawsuit noted that only a small percentage of coronavirus cases are linked to restaurants and that the federal government ranks outdoor dining as a less-risky activity.
The judge’s decision also pointed out that this ban would have severe consequences on restaurants. He noted that many of these restaurants would likely go bankrupt under such a ban. He said the county should have weighed not only the potential health benefits of a ban but also the economic consequences of it.
While this case invalidates the L.A. County ban on outdoor dining, the state of California has its own outdoor dining ban.
Do you agree with banning outdoor dining as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus?