Judge expected to limit L.A. County’s outdoor dining ban to 3 weeks, though statewide order remains in effect

A judge has limited Los Angeles County’s outdoor dining ban to three weeks, even as a state order will keep the restriction in place past Christmas, according to a tentative decision announced Tuesday.

Once the ban expires — on Dec. 16 — county public health officials must conduct a risk-benefit analysis to extend the closures, L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said in his decision. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Under a targeted stay-at-home order, which rolled out across most of California early Monday, “outdoor restaurant dining in the county cannot open at this time,” Chalfant said in the decision. “Instead, the county should be prevented from continuing the restaurant closure order indefinitely.”

The ruling arrives nearly a week after Chalfant ordered the county to provide scientific evidence justifying the ban that went into effect Nov. 25. The initial ban was scheduled to last only three weeks but the county later made the restrictions indefinite, the judge said. Swift backlash followed the ban, which was issued as coronavirus cases began to soar, and opponents say it could spell the end for restaurants and bars already struggling during the pandemic.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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