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Santa Monica Bars, Restaurants Can Only Serve Drinks With Meals

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

June 29, 2020 -- Bars, pubs and breweries in Los Angeles County must close down once again or serve drinks only to those who order sit-down meals, under an order issued Sunday by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Under the order -- which took effect in six other counties -- brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs should close "unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals."

Although alcohol can only be sold "in the same transaction as a meal," bars can "contract with another vendor to serve dine-in meals."

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Any establishment that serves alcohol "should follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible," the order states.

The order comes after Santa Monica boosted its economic recovery efforts by relaxing its alcohol service requirements last month ("Council Relaxes Business Requirements to Boost Economic Recovery," May 14, 2020).

The city -- which has few, if any, bars left that don't serve food -- expanded alcohol service hours from 8 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

It also eliminated the cap on alcohol sales of 35 percent of gross revenue and allowed for delivery and take-out of alcohol with a valid alcohol license.

According to a press release issued by the State Sunday, health officials nationwide have identified bars as "the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open.

"In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing."

In addition, "Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets.

"These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce."

It is also harder to use "contact tracing" in bars "because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance," State officials said.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger," Newsom said in a statement on Sunday.

"That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases,” the Governor said.

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