It’s official. Los Angeles County has moved into the red tier of the state’s color coded system for lifting business closures and stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday this week, museums, movie theaters and gyms are able to reopen indoors for limited capacity. For all the rules, you may want to check LAist’s in-depth guide of what’s allowed to open and the red tier rules.
The greatest buzz locally has been around the news that restaurants may now serve customers indoors with lots of restrictions — and there are quite a few! According to LA County rules, restaurants are only allowed to reopen for indoor dining at 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less. Occupancy is based on applicable building or fire codes. Tables must be spaced at least 6-8 feet apart to allow distance between seated customers. Seating at tables is limited to 6 people and all the members of the party must be from the same household. Bar seating is prohibited and televisions must be turn off or removed. No live entertainment, no DJs, comedians, etc. And finally, restaurants may not host receptions, banquets, or other coordinated, organized or invited events, or gatherings of any type.
With all those restrictions, it’s not hard to see why some restauranteurs are taking their time to reopen for indoor dining. Larchmont’s Steve Vernetti, owner of Vernetti Restaurant at 255 N. Larchmont, told the Buzz he is planning to re-open the inside of the restaurant for dining only when he is permitted to open at 100% capacity. Vernetti told Buzz he’s been doing quite well with outdoor dining. He’s been very busy Friday and Saturday evenings, and all day Sundays, sometimes with more patrons than he can accommodate on his outdoor sidewalk deck.
Le Petit Greek has already opened its indoor dining. The restaurant is only serving dinner for now but the owners hope they can expand to lunch as business resumes.
“We will need more industry to get back to work before we can open for lunch,” Nora Houndalas, told the Buzz. “there simply isn’t the demand yet. It has been very challenging for all restaurants like us that were primarily table service. The support and kindness we’ve received from our customers is what gives us hope. My guess is those that are vaccinated will be more comfortable dining indoors. We will still be relying on Al Fresco Patio Dining and Take Out for our bread and butter (or hummus and pita if you will).”
Le Petit Greek is currently open Tuesday thru Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday from 4:00-8:30 p.m.; and Sundays from 3:00-8:00 p.m. It is closed Mondays.
For now, Village Pizzeria is sticking with pickup and delivery. Owner Steve Cohen told the Buzz he is concerned about getting all his staff vaccinated and the recent rainy weather. But that could change, because he will soon an outdoor deck, thanks to the generosity of a local family.
Cohen told the Buzz, “I’m over the moon with gratitude, joy and appreciation” for this “incredible outpouring of love for my family and our business.” The deck is under construction and should be completed by Friday. And all the staff has been vaccinated.
The Good Goose Cafe at 5210 Beverly Blvd, just around the corner at Larchmont and Beverly, posted on its social media feeds that it is open for indoor dining and following the city safety protocols.
Kevin Meehan, owner of Kali Restaurant at 5722 Melrose (Melrose and N. Lucerne), told the Buzz he is planning to open for indoor dining on the April 1st. In the interim, Kali is serving on its outdoor patio Wednesday through Sunday.
The owners of Met Him at a Bar, the neighborhood pasta bar at 800 S. La Brea, told us they are opening their restaurant Met Her at a Bar, located across the street, as well.
“Both restaurants, Him and Her, starting tomorrow! We are very excited to safely have our amazing, loyal guests back inside again! Even if it’s jut 25% percent. Let’s do this,” wrote @methimatabarla in response to our query on Instagram.
The reopening of restaurants has been made possible by reducing the rate of new infections and getting more people vaccinated. Food service workers have been prioritized for vaccines and most restaurants we talked to were reporting their staff have been fully vaccinated.
County health officials are still cautious and want to avoid a possible surge from Spring Break activities and the reopening of many businesses. They would prefer that restaurants continue offering pickup and delivery service to the extent possible. If you are planning to dine indoors, keep in mind that you must wear a mask when you are not eating, and maintain a social distance from others not in your party. And finally, we know that local restaurant owners and staff will deeply appreciate customers who are respectful of restaurant staff who are trying to serve you and stay safe.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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