More LA restaurants in need of COVID-19 vaccines or testing – .

More LA restaurants in need of COVID-19 vaccines or testing – .

A growing number of Los Angeles restaurants are requiring diners to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or show evidence of a recent negative test.
It comes as new cases of the coronavirus continue to rise, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which now accounts for more than 84% of specimens sequenced in California.

Conservatory in West Hollywood was one of the first restaurants in LA to take the plunge, owner Paul Kalt said. Its requirement that diners present either proof of vaccination or a negative test result from the past 72 hours went into effect on Tuesday.

“We think it’s a very difficult choice to take that position because it won’t always be popular with everyone,” Kalt said. “But ultimately, we think it’s the most responsible thing to do.

“Even if we risk losing a few guests, we prefer to take this blow right away rather than having to close again and put all our staff out of work,” he continued. “Or even more, take the risk that people get sick. “

Although the restaurant has a security guard who works weekends and will help enforce the rule if necessary, so far people have mostly complied, he said. Employees contact those making reservations to inform them of the requirements prior to their arrival. They had to turn down some dates, but people were mostly understanding, he said.

Kalt expects more restaurants to start imposing similar requirements in a bid to both stop the spread of the virus and prevent public health authorities from stepping in and completely halting operations again.

“We want to try to stay ahead of the game this time around,” he said. “We want to be proactive and we want to put in place safe and secure measures that protect our staff, protect our customers, and hopefully protect the restaurant industry as a whole from shutdown.”

Asian fusion restaurant Formosa Cafe also requires proof of vaccination or a negative test, according to a list compiled by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The list includes several bars and performance venues, which have been quicker to implement vaccination requirements, including Abbey, Harlowe, Beaches WeHo, Hi Tops, Trunks, and the Comedy Store.

Italian restaurant Osteria La Buca, which has branches in Larchmont and Sherman Oaks, announced that starting Monday, customers will be required to provide proof of vaccination by presenting a vaccination card, photo, scan or digital copy. .

“We haven’t fought so hard, for so long, to make things go wrong now,” the restaurant wrote on its Instagram page. “There will be a security guard up front to check all the guests. “

Owner Stephen Sakulsky said guests and staff were grateful for the new rule but declined to discuss it.

“We believe this will only promote the negativity of a small, small crowd which is unfortunately very loud,” he wrote in an email. “We don’t need this attention.

In Hollywood, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has opened an adjacent outdoor lounge that will require guests to test negative for the past 24 hours for COVID-19 or undergo a rapid test, which will be provided on-site for $ 12, owner Francesco Zimone mentioned.

The lounge, Caffè degli Artisti, is intended to provide a safe space for those who can’t wait to go out again but may not be ready to eat at a restaurant, Zimone said.

“We still have people calling the restaurant now and they say, ‘This is the first time we’ve been going out of the house in a year and a half,’ and they’re very worried, ‘he said. “How do we count these people? “

He said it was alarming to see people’s adherence to public health precautions like social distancing suddenly disappear when California moved forward with a dramatic reopening on June 15.

“The idea of ​​creating a space like this is like saying, ‘Can we please take care a little bit for another little bit? ” “, did he declare. “Can we walk slowly before we run, to use the most basic line?” “

The facility aims to implement the testing requirement this week. The tests themselves have been hard to find and they are expecting a delivery of 1,000 people due to arrive on Monday, Zimone said.

Like many in the service industry, he had to deal with staff shortages – he was preparing to work as a bartender on Saturday night and on Friday he had worked as a waiter. With a relatively small operation, it has also been difficult to stay abreast of the various trade restrictions, and he is always looking for other measures to put in place.

“It looks like a game of chess,” he said.

More recently, on July 17, Los Angeles County began requiring all residents, regardless of immunization status, to wear masks again in indoor public spaces as the number of cases increased.

The county public health department reported 3,318 new coronavirus cases and 11 related deaths on Saturday.

“The tragic reality is that almost everyone hospitalized and dying of COVID-19 is not vaccinated and these hospitalizations and deaths are, for the most part, preventable,” said Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, in a statement. communicated.

Public health officials said last week that the average daily rate of cases rose to 15.7 per 100,000 people, from 12.9 cases per 100,000 people the week before. Still, officials said, this was a lower rate of increase from the previous week, when cases rose more than 80% from the previous week.

As of Friday, there were 1,071 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals. The number remains well below the peak of 8,098 patients recorded on January 5, but still represents an increase of almost 283% from the previous month, when there were 280 patients.

Hospitalizations have increased 45% since last Saturday, the public health department noted. Still, they haven’t increased as quickly as new cases, as vaccines prevent those who end up with so-called breakthrough infections from becoming as seriously ill as they otherwise would have been.

“The data overwhelmingly shows that vaccines are effective in preventing serious illnesses that cause hospitalizations and deaths,” Ferrer said. “To truly combat transmission, however, we need to have higher levels of immunization, especially among our young residents.”

There was another bright spot, officials said: For the second week in a row, the county saw an increase in the number of people receiving the first dose of the vaccine. LA County administered 69,558 first injections between July 19 and July 25, an increase of about 7,500 from the previous week. Before that, the number of vaccinations had steadily declined for weeks.

So far, 61.8% of LA County residents have received at least one dose and 54.1% are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by The Times.

The rise in restaurants requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test follows announcements from at least 33 Los Angeles bars that they have also taken the plunge, according to LA Taco, which released a shopping list.

And on Monday, the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance also announced that it is recommending that its more than 300 member establishments require such proof for guests who wish to sit inside.

At least 60 bars and restaurants require proof of vaccination in the Seattle area, according to a list compiled by the Seattle Times. It came after at least a dozen bars were forced to temporarily close the previous week after employees contracted COVID-19 or came into contact with someone who did, the newspaper reported.

On the East Coast, restaurateur Danny Meyer announced last week that all restaurants in his Union Square Hospitality Group, which include Gramercy Tavern in New York as well as Maialino Mare in Washington, DC, will require employees and dining room diners. present proof of vaccination from September 7.

“We know the vaccine works,” he said in an interview on CNBC. “And it’s time to make sure this economy keeps moving forward. “

Meyer also founded Shake Shack and is chairman of its board, but the chain is a separate business and does not require vaccinations for customers or employees at this time, a spokesperson confirmed on Saturday.

Times writer Luke Money contributed to this report.


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