Long Beach officials will allow outdoor dining at restaurants, along with personal care services to reopen, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 26, after the governor rescinded a strict stay-at-home order early Monday.

The city will allow restaurants to serve diners outdoors several days ahead of Los Angeles County, which announced earlier in the day that it would issue a new health order for dine-in service on Friday. Long Beach, however, will be more strict in requiring diners to sit 8 feet apart instead of 6 feet.

Other services, including hair and nail salons, can open Monday in Los Angeles County, and on Tuesday in Long Beach, with 25% capacity.

Ciaran Gough, president of the Long Beach Restaurant Association, said it’s a good thing the city is allowing restaurants to open—but said it was highly unlikely any would be able to reopen on less than a day’s notice.

Restaurants have been relegated to takeout and delivery since November, when the county began closing industries as the number of COVID-19 cases, along with hospitalizations, began to climb.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday justified lifting the order by saying that projections based on current caseloads show the capacity in intensive care units is expected to rise from 0% to 33.3% by Feb. 21.

The city on Monday reported its testing positivity rate is now 12.3%, a decrease from 14.2% one week ago. Officials reported 994 new cases of coronavirus and 10 new deaths associated with the virus over the past four days, since Jan. 21.

Long Beach hospitalizations have declined from 578 to 433 over the past two weeks, and ICU capacity has risen from 9% to 11% locally, officials said.

However: “The pandemic is far from over,” a city statement on Monday said. “All residents are still required to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance from others and are strongly urged to avoid gatherings to slow the spread.”

In the statement, the city said the following would be permitted under a new health order be issued on Tuesday:

  • Outdoor in-person dining, subject to several restrictions preventing overcrowding, creating appropriate distancing and requiring masking. Requirements for in-person dining will include spacing tables 8 feet apart to maintain a constant 6-foot separation between tables; requiring masking at all times except when physically eating or drinking; and strongly encouraging dining for households only to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Indoor personal care services including tanning salons, esthetician, skin care and cosmetology services; electrology; body art professionals, tattoo parlors, microblading and permanent make-up; piercing shops; and massage therapy and setting capacity limits based on the ability to maintain 6 feet of distance between customers.
  • Hotels, motels, lodging, shared rental units and other similar facilities for all types of travel, including tourism and individual travel.
  • Outdoor operations of museums, zoos and aquariums
  • Limited gatherings of no more than three households, with gatherings allowed outdoors only.

Places of worship may continue to operate outdoors. Gyms can continue outdoor operations, and indoor retail will continue, subject to capacity limitations.

Staff writer Brandon Richardson contributed to this report.

Melissa Evans is the executive editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-437-5814.