Pass the Plate: LA’s Food Scene During the Pandemic

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It’s no secret that Los Angeles’s food scene is both influential and diverse, rivaling those of major cities around the world. The wide range of cultures and demographics in this city is reflected through the thousands of different takeout menus available at one’s fingertips. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected nearly every industry, and LA’s food scene is no exception.

During these uncertain times, restaurants have been adapting and accommodating to satisfy CDC guidelines, eager to reopen. Sadly many restaurants have had to close their doors, but many have been actively implementing significant changes in their daily routines to keep their loyal customers and their doors open.

Back in July the County of Los Angeles came out with a thorough list of rules restaurants were required to follow. Some of the key points highlighted in that document were a mask requirement at all times, employee symptom checks before coming into work, and an occupancy limit of 60% of the restaurants’ normal maximum.

Even delivery services including Uber Eats and Postmates are implementing changes to their business practices. The Los Angeles City Council is following in the footsteps of San Francisco and New York by enforcing rules on how much food delivery services can charge restaurants. The max was set at 15% of the price. Yet, some restaurants have petitioned for a lower percentage, saying that it is essential for them during these times due to them being fully dependent on services like Postmates when in-person dining is prohibited. The 15% cap was supported by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, UFCW Local 770, and the local labor unions.

There has also been a spike in the unemployment rate due to layoffs in all fields, especially in the hospitality and restaurant industries. During a press conference on April 17, 2020, California’s governor Gavin Newsom announced that 3.1 million people have applied for the state’s unemployment benefits. Additionally, the USC Dornslife for Economic and Social Research’s recent survey of thousands of Los Angeles natives provides eye-opening information that over half of the LA residents are not employed.

Slowly but surely restaurants are trying to reintroduce the in-house dining experiences that we ar all craving. In Old Pasadena, barricades and partial street closings have been used to create more space for the al fresco dining. Portions of Colorado Street are now flooded with outdoor umbrellas and dining setups for this exciting occasion.

These restaurants in Los Angeles are resilient and actively doing their part to tackle the curveballs that this current pandemic is bringing to the table…literally!