PALMDALE – The cities of Palmdale and Lancaster sent a joint letter to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer requesting that the county allow local restaurants to open indoor dining at 25 percent capacity with modifications to prepare for the upcoming winter.
“Since May, the both cities have been working collaboratively with county officials to get our businesses open in a safe manner, following COVID-19 protocols while getting our residents back to work,” said Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy. “With winter coming and temperatures dropping, restaurants will need to offer some indoor seating to survive.”
Temperatures in the Antelope Valley in November and December can fluctuate between 30°F and 58°F with an average of one inch of snow and 1.15 inches of rain. Under these weather conditions, restaurants operating outdoors can be expected to lose between 13 and 17.6 percent of their seasonally adjusted restaurant bookings.
Data presented in the letter shows that the restaurant industry overall has been devastated by COVID-19. Employment figures for restaurants in Los Angeles County remain down 26 percent from their Sept. 2019 figures and it is estimated that between 30 to 60 percent of restaurants will permanently close by the end of 2020. Under these figures, Los Angeles County can expect between 7,800 and 15,600 restaurants to close leaving the County’s economy devastated.
Recent COVID-19 case data shows that Lancaster and Palmdale’s adjusted case rate of 2.64 and 3.24 percent respectively, and an adjusted person’s positive rate of 2.66 and 3.29 percent respectively, puts both cities below the overall county average.
“In summary, the data shows that restaurants face a very uncertain future,” the letter concludes. “The loss of an additional 20 percent of their business because of inclement weather will cause more restaurants to close, further jeopardizing the livelihood of individuals and families during the winter season. While we recognize that achieving equity in our County during this crisis is multi-faceted, allowing our restaurants to operate indoors in a limited capacity would be a significant step in the right direction.”