City of Pasadena to Take More Aggressive Enforcement Stance Amid Surge in COVID Cases

PASADENA, Calif.—The dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is of great concern for the City of Pasadena, its residents, and healthcare partners. Effective immediately, the City will undertake broader and more aggressive enforcement efforts to slow the spread of the virus with respect to outdoor dining, but also with respect to other activities with higher risk of disease transmission as identified by our local case investigation, including social gatherings, worksites and unauthorized recreational sports events.

Because Pasadena is an independent local public health jurisdiction, it is subject to state orders but maintains local public health authority separate from Los Angeles County. The Pasadena Public Health Department will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates and take all necessary steps to protect the public’s health, including further restrictions of business sectors if needed. While it is our goal to act in concert with regional public health jurisdictions, we were not engaged by the county for the dialogue or decision-making process with respect to closing outdoor dining. We will further evaluate the actions taken by LA County with respect to outdoor dining.

Much smaller in size than LA County, the City is able to pursue a locally-focused enforcement strategy, informed by data, and can exercise more hands-on control with our restaurants and businesses with whom we have already worked diligently to gain compliance through education. We will be increasing our enforcement team’s visibility and activity, and we will be  communicating and coordinating directly with our community and businesses in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The City’s broad, aggressive enforcement strategy is an immediate necessity given the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and potential strain on our healthcare resources,” said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, City of Pasadena health officer.

“Most restaurants operate in compliance with the rules, and those few who openly flaunt them and create a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus stand to ruin the possibility of outdoor dining for all. We intend to identify them and either bring them into compliance or cite them, or, in the last resort, close them for the good of all and so that others can continue to operate,” said City Manager Steve Mermell.

The following are reminders regarding some of the rules already in place:

  • Retail store occupancy may not exceed 25% of maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code). This capacity limit was previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy for local health jurisdictions in counties in Purple Tier 1.
  • Limitations on gatherings are still in place: people are permitted to gather outdoors with no more than 2 other households, for 2 hours or less, with all attendees wearing face coverings and maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet or more between households.
  • Sports competitions, such as softball and soccer games, are still not permitted.
  • Nonessential offices must remain closed for in-person operations and only conduct work remotely, as previously established by the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

New restrictions as of November 20 are as follows:

  • Personal care services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as facials, shaves, and threading are not permitted. All public health protocols must continue to be followed for other personal care services, including a requirement for services to be offered by appointment only, and as many services as possible provided outdoors.
  • Personal care services are now limited to 25% maximum capacity (as defined by the Fire Code).
  • Gatherings must meet the limitations stated above (outdoor, 2 hours or less, with face coverings worn and physical distancing between households) and may not exceed a total of 15 people from 3 or fewer households.
  • Restaurants, breweries and bars must cease service in their on-site, outdoor dining areas as of 10 p.m. and close their on-site dining areas thereafter until 5 a.m.

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