LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As restaurants in Los Angeles try to stay afloat during shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some owners have tried to think of new ways to bring in business.
In a Monday afternoon briefing held by Los Angeles County Public Health, multiple people asked Director Dr. Barabara Ferrer about the “phenomenon of restaurants that are functioning as grocery stores to try to keep their doors open.”
“It’s not really possible for a restaurant to become a grocery store,” Ferrer said. “You can not just decide you want to sell groceries.”
Restaurants do not hold the right permits to operate as grocery stores, but some wondered if these regulations could be lifted during the crisis.
“I appreciate all of the innovation but grocery stores are licensed,” Ferrer said.
“Anybody who wants to be a grocery store does need to get licensed. We are working with the restaurants so that they understand that they can do a lot of take-out and provide a lot of opportunities for people to get food through their take-out services but no, they don’t get to open as a grocery store.”
One restaurant owner asked if he could keep social distancing within the restaurant by keeping customer six to ten feet away, and only let two in at a time, why not let a restaurant operate as a grocery store.
“Because grocery stores need to be licensed as grocery stores. I think it’s a pretty straight forward answer,” Ferrer said.
As of Tuesday, there were 3,011 cases of coronavirus in L.A. County and 54 deaths. The total number of cases included 115 in Long Beach and 25 in Pasadena, both of which have their own Public Health departments.