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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge declined Tuesday morning to block a ban on outdoor dining from going into effect in Los Angeles County, rejecting an 11th-hour plea by the state’s leading restaurant group.

With outdoor dining across L.A. County set to shut down Wednesday night amid a continuing surge in new cases of the coronavirus, the California Restaurant Assn. filed a lawsuit challenging the ban by county health officials and, as a first step, sought an emergency order from a judge halting the new rules from taking effect.

Attorneys for the association asked the judge to issue an order to stop the closures unless health officials can provide scientific evidence backing their decision to impose the dining ban.

According to the association, restaurants can operate just as safely as other industries during the pandemic, and the impact of a ban on food industry workers and owners will be enormous.

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