LA’s Indoor Shopping, Breweries and Card Rooms Can Reopen with Limited Capacity

Sectors can restart with either outdoor service only or at 25 percent capacity.

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Los Angeles County officials will allow indoor shopping centers, wineries, breweries, card rooms and nail salons to reopen with restrictions by Oct. 10.

Those sectors, which have been closed for months due to the coronavirus outbreak, can restart their business with either outdoor service only or at 25 percent capacity. Officials will announce specific dates and regulations for each sector today.

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The decisions to reopen come shortly after shopping center landlords and owners, including Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, filed lawsuits against the county for maintaining stricter policies than the state. Other retail landlords are expecting more permanent store closures due to lost revenue.

California officials announced about a month ago that these businesses could reopen throughout the state, but L.A. County said it would wait to assess how the Labor Day weekend affected the rate of coronavirus cases before moving forward. There has not been a significant new surge in cases or large spikes similar to what followed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends, when much of the state was forced to re-close bars, malls, barber shops and restaurants.

In fact, the county’s positivity rate and hospitalization count are at their lowest levels since the beginning of the outbreak, according to the Health Department. But state officials also expect an increase in the next few weeks.

In a split vote, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors first approved plans to reopen breweries, wineries and card rooms. Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis introduced the motion and Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted in support. 

“I know some people could get sick and die for every bit we reopen, but that’s a responsibility we are all taking together,” Hahn said. “We’re threading the needle between people’s livelihood and their health.”

Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas voted against the measure. Kuehl said it wasn’t a great idea to ignore Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer’s advice to continue slowly with reopening.

About a month ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced the state’s new color-coded tier system for reopening, which is stricter than the original phased plan. The four tiers indicate how prevalent coronavirus is in each county, and which restrictions apply. The new system mandates that counties spend at least 21 days on each tier before advancing.

L.A. is in the purple tier, the first and most restrictive, designated for widespread transmission. Some counties have moved to the second and third tiers, which allow for looser capacity restrictions, such as allowing restaurants to serve indoors with capacity restrictions. But all of Southern California is still in the purple tier.