L.A. County must conduct risk-benefit analysis to extend outdoor dining ban, judge says

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A judge on Tuesday limited Los Angeles County’s outdoor dining ban to three weeks, saying the health department must conduct a risk-benefit analysis before trying to extend the restriction.

While Superior Court Judge James Chalfant’s ruling keeps the local order in place through Dec. 16, L.A. County remains under the state’s regional stay-at-home order that also bans in-person dining at restaurants.

That means L.A. County restaurants won’t be able to offer outdoor dining until at least Dec. 27 — though the state’s order may be extended if intensive care unit capacity at hospitals stays below 15%.

The county’s attorney said the analysis the judge asked for is “not even feasible,” since it “puts a value on long-term illness and death,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The county had announced the in-person dining ban as daily coronavirus case numbers surged in November, with officials saying it’s meant to “reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings.”

Carlos Herrera reports for the KTLA 5 News on Dec. 9, 2020.

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