The city of Manhattan Beach in South Bay has decided to offer a “creative” solution to the current ban on on-site dining in Southern California restaurants. Although the city does not have its own public health department to make localized decisions regarding on-site meals (which, in any event, would be superseded by today’s new regional ban on officials from the ‘State), officials there to do have jurisdiction over things like public right of way and park space. And so, Manhattan Beach has designated all outdoor dining areas as “public seats,” making them open and accessible to everyone – and that includes people who want to eat.
As per the new public directive, sent last week by City Manager Bruce Moe:
The City transformed outdoor dining areas into public seating areas to encourage patrons to support the local business community while providing a socially remote and safe place to relax and enjoy the holiday shopping experience. The public can now use the spaces previously allocated to outdoor restaurants and retail areas during the pandemic.
Due to the new on-site dining restrictions, restaurants are required (for at least the next three weeks, if not longer) to offer only take-out and deliveries, meaning there will be no staff or reservation system to supervise public seating. manners, but the intention here is to always allow diners to eat their food, without a mask in public, after purchasing from a nearby store. Public health officials have repeatedly stated that being exposed in public is considered a high-risk activity for the community’s spread of the coronavirus; Just yesterday, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases across the county rose to over 10,500.
The announcement, made at the end of last week, also notes that these spaces must be closed for daily use from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., and that “users of the zones must disinfect tables after each use”. And despite a ban from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that specifies that “chairs and tables must be removed from outdoor spaces or clearly marked as restricted,” Mayor Suzanne Hadley said. The daily breeze that the city is “confident that our new outdoor rest areas meet current LA County guidelines.”
Such a setup had limited success in other areas, with Heroic Italian attempting a setup similar to Santa Monica, only to receive a citation. Regardless, the Broken The report says other cities, including Redondo Beach, are considering trying a similar workaround.