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LA County Says No TVs For Outdoor Diners At Local Restaurants

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – On the same day that outdoor dining resumed in Los Angeles County for the first time in nearly two months, public health officials announced Friday that restaurants are banned from turning on their televisions for customers.

outdoor dining Los Angeles
A waitress takes customers' orders in the outdoor seating area of a restaurant on January 28, 2021 in Los Angeles. - California lifted blanket "stay-at-home" orders across the US state on Jaunary 25, paving the way for activities such as outdoor dining to return even in worst-hit regions as the pandemic's strain on hospitals begins to ease. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

The county issued an order Friday which bans restaurants from allowing television screens that broadcast programming to patrons in an effort to keep restaurants from becoming overcrowded for sporting events, such as the upcoming Super Bowl.

"Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off," the order reads. "This provision is effective until further notice."

L.A. County's health order also reinstates previous restrictions on outdoor dining, requiring servers to wear masks and face shields, limiting restaurants to 50% of patio capacity, limiting tables to no more than six people and requiring tables to be at least eight feet apart.

The move came as the Los Angeles County Department of Public health reported 7,112 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 228 additional deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,104,393 cases and 16,332 deaths.

And though daily reported cases have continued to decline from the peaks experienced at the beginning of the month, health officials said transmission rates still remained elevated.

"Transmission and risk are still very high and we are concerned about variants of the virus and what these may mean in our region," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. "We absolutely don't want to get to a place where have to close again, because that will mean more people are sick and more people will pass away."

Health officials said there were 5,855 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Friday, 26% of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

On Monday, the state of California lifted the regional stay-at-home order for Southern California's 11 counties, paving the way for restaurants to resume outdoor dining, and hair and nail salons to reopen at 25% capacity. The regional stay-at-home order took effect on Dec. 7 and was based on intensive care unit capacities at hospitals amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

L.A. County officially gave the OK for restaurants to resume outdoor dining on Friday. However, the county has issued a revised health order requiring more stringent requirements. The full details of that order were not immediately available.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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