Defne Onal staff writer
As COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high around Southern California, restaurants in Los Angeles were restricted to delivery service only. Those cases are predicted to decrease steadily as Los Angeles comes out of one of its worst pandemic periods yet, according to the public health officials who decided to reopen outdoor dining.
“It’s not an idea that is needed now since LA has such a big food culture. I feel like COVID cases are going to ramp up even more. I definitely don’t think it’s a good thing to reopen outdoor dining, because we’re all trying to get this pandemic thing down as fast as possible,” junior Isaac Colendres says.
Reopening outdoor dining is controversial, as some students think it will worsen COVID-19 cases.
“The reality is, I don’t know what to think. There’s so much information from so many different sources of government. The president says one thing, the governor says one thing, and the mayor says another thing. It’s really confusing for me to know what to do and to determine who is correct especially since they change the rules every few months. So, I don’t know why it’s ok to have outdoor dining,” social studies teacher Roel Hinojosa says.
Students and teachers have empathy for the business perspective of the situation, as independent businesses are losing money.
“The men and women who work there as waiters are also losing money. I have empathy for them, and I understand their situation. However, the public health is at risk. Public health should always take priority over the business interests of these people,” Hinojosa says.
Others argue that outdoor dining is a good idea, since it would bring in money for small businesses.
“I think it’s a good idea, especially for small businesses because it’s a way they can stay open and make some type of profit. The places that I have been to are pretty strict with their policies, so I don’t think COVID cases would increase if the restaurant in question is enforcing their rules,” senior Praize Vangari says.
Small businesses often operate at small capacity, or have closed their doors. People linked to these businesses and restaurants are not only figuring out how to get their businesses through a deadly pandemic, but they are also adapting to everchanging health and safety standards all the while bringing in less revenue.
“It’s too early in these circumstances to reopen outdoor dining, we should have waited at least another month. For sure, the COVID-19 number will rise due to this new order. There wouldn’t be any negative consequences to not having outdoor dining, since someone that wishes to eat here will eat here no matter if we have outdoor seating or not. If there was no outdoor dining, they would just get the food and eat at home. At the end, it’s all the same,” Özgül Arslan, the owner of Cafe Istanbul in Beverly Hills, says.