Councilmembers back down from indoor dining proposal as COVID-19 cases surge

Three Long Beach City Council members who suggested urging the state to allow limited indoor dining in Los Angeles County are backing away from their proposal after a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

The proposal had been scheduled for discussion at tonight’s City Council meeting, but it will be pulled from the agenda at the beginning of the session, Councilwoman Stacy Mungo said.

Mungo, Councilwoman Suzie Price and Councilman Daryl Supernaw—who represent the entirety of East Long Beach—all backed the proposal late last week. It would’ve urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow indoor dining up to 25% capacity at restaurants in counties like Los Angeles where the coronavirus is widespread. The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles means it is still in California’s “purple tier” of reopening rules, which is the state’s most restrictive tier.

Price said the proposal was drafted because nearby Orange County, which was in the less-restrictive red tier, was allowed to have limited indoor dining and she wanted Long Beach to be playing at the same level. On Monday, Newsom announced Orange County would be sent back to the purple tier, along with most other counties across the state. He said the move was to put an “emergency brake” on new infections that recently surged across the state faster than ever before.

Mungo previously argued that residents in Southern California are too mobile to be making such geographic distinctions about reopening rules. Long Beach residents, she argued, can easily go over to Los Alamitos for indoor dining.

The canceled item is not likely to leave a large hole in this council meeting agenda, as the council will be considering a whopping 78 other items.

Columnist Tim Grobaty contributed to this report.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.
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