Reopening LA County: Once in the red tier, indoor dining will resume and movie theaters can reopen at limited capacity

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — When Los Angeles County moves into the less-restrictive red tier, which is expected to happen as early as Monday, movie theaters can reopen and indoor dining will once again be allowed with reduced capacity and other restrictions in place.

It had been uncertain whether the county would align itself with state guidelines or opt to keep more stringent restrictions in place, but in guidance released Thursday, several types of businesses and activities will be allowed under that tier.

Officials expect to qualify for the red tier sometime between Monday and Wednesday, but the exact date depends on when the state meets a threshold announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom to administer 2 million doses of vaccines in the state’s lowest-income communities.

Under the new guidance, indoor dining can resume at 25% capacity.

The county will require restaurants to have 8 feet of distance between all tables, which will be restricted to a maximum of six people from the same household. The rules also call for ventilation to be increased “to the maximum extent possible.”

Restaurant servers are already required to wear a face mask and a face shield. With the new rules, the Department of Public Health strongly recommends” that employees upgrade their face coverings, through the use of higher-grade N95 or KN95 masks, or a combination of double-masking and a face shield.

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Health officials also strongly recommend that all employees be informed about and offered the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Food service workers are already eligible to receive the shots.

Rules for other businesses once the county enters the red tier largely align with state guidance:

  • Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoors at 25% of capacity.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 10% capacity, with required masking.
  • Movie theaters can open at 25% capacity with reserved seating to provide at least six feet of distance between patrons.
  • Retail and personal care businesses can increase indoor capacity to 50%.
  • Indoor shopping malls can reopen at 50%, with common areas remaining closed, but food courts can open at 25% capacity and in adherence with the other requirements for indoor restaurants.
  • Moving to the red tier will also allow the reopening of theme parks as early as April 1 — including Disneyland in Orange County and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles County — at 15% of capacity, with in-state visitors only.

    The rules also permit resumption of activities at institutes of higher education, and reopening of in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12. Private indoor gatherings are also permitted for people from up to three different households, with masking and physical distancing. People who are vaccinated can gather in small groups indoors without masking or distancing.

    City News Service contributed to this report.

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