At a press conference Sunday evening, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that all Los Angeles bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, and performance venues will be ordered to close as of midnight Sunday night, and remain closed until at least March 31 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants will be closed to eat-in diners, but can continue to fulfill takeout and delivery orders.
“I signed an order tonight that will do the following: It prevents people from gathering in close proximity by banning and closing our bars and nightclubs. Second, restaurants and retail facilities we will now have prohibited on-site food, but permitted for delivery, takeout and drive-through. Again, restaurants will be closed for dining inside…groceries, pharmacies, and food banks are, of course, exempt from this order. Movie theaters, performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, gyms, and fitness centers will be closed to the public.”
He noted that the city can’t mandate that churches close, but implored houses of worship to consider halting services.
“First our city is strong…we will get through this,” Garcetti assured. “Second our city is not shutting down; we’re not planning to do so and we never will.” He also pleaded with Angelenos to “continue to practice social distancing” and to stop hoarding food and other essentials: “Know that the power will be on, know that you will have water, get the food that you need, and look out for each other and those folks who need your help.”
In a post accompanying a live Facebook video, Garcetti wrote:
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, I’m taking executive action to temporarily close bars, nightclubs, restaurants (except takeout/delivery), entertainment venues, and other establishments in the city of Los Angeles. These orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will stay in place until March 31 unless extended. There is no food shortage and grocery stores will remain open. We’re taking these steps to help protect Angelenos, limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our health care system.
Garcetti suggested the move was coming in a CNN interview on Sunday. Asked by an anchor if he’d consider helping to contain the virus by “closing restaurants and bars or even all non-essential businesses,” Garcetti replied, “Absolutely. Bars will happen today. We’re waiting…we think the governor will give some guidance here in California for all of our cities on restaurants, but besides pickups, takeout, drive-through, that’s just smart.”
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said bars in Los Angeles will close today and that dine-in restaurants may close as well. pic.twitter.com/FMTn52aPFC
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 15, 2020
Garcetti’s vague declaration reflected Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent comments on drinking establishments in particular. In a tweet Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom said that bars, breweries, wineries, and night clubs “should” close, but fell short of suggest that shuttering would be mandatory. He also said that restaurants should “focus on takeout for those isolating” and “maximize social distancing.”
NEW: Those that are 65 and older or vulnerable to #COVIDー19 must practice home isolation.
Bars, night clubs, wineries, and breweries should close in CA.
Restaurants — focus on takeout for those isolating. Maximize social distancing.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 15, 2020
On Thursday, Newsom ordered that public gatherings of more than 250 people be canceled; on Sunday, the CDC called for the cancelation of gatherings of 50 people or more for a period of 8 weeks.
“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the CDC. “This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”
Earlier on Sunday, some local bars seemed determined to stay open as long as possible. Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz said in an Instagram post this evening, “People of the world , the Ye is still open!!! Get your ass in here and clean those insides with alcohol.”
Others are heeded Newsom’s suggestion prior to the announcement of Garcetti’s executive order. Silver Lake nightspot 4100 Bar announced on Instagram it was closing “until further notice.” On Sunday evening, Caña Rum Bar, the Streamliner, and other bars issued the same notice.
The latest update on Garcetti’s website, dated March 15, says, “Everything we do right now will determine the outcome of this crisis, and we can save lives if we stay calm, care for one another, and take forceful steps to protect our communities. That’s why we must follow the guidelines laid out by Gov. Newsom, build on them for local needs, and put the health and safety of the most vulnerable above all else. Los Angeles has weathered enormous challenges before, and our strength and resilience are this City’s most powerful assets.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.