Dining News

Where Is Data to Support Closing Outdoor Dining in LA? It’s Complicated

Restaurant owners, workers, and diners have been loudly asking the same thing since last Wednesday, November 25, when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommended that restaurants be closed for outdoor on-site dining: Where is the data?

Frustrated LA operators have spent nearly a year being pushed to the brink — forced to lay off staff, change concepts, amass untold debt, fight landlords, and stay safe during the largest public health crisis in recent history. Now they’ve been told that the outdoor, open-air spaces they spent thousands to build are no longer suitable for safe operation while coronavirus cases rise precipitously across the state, despite little direct data linking restaurants to the uptick. Meanwhile, owners argue, grocery stores and retail shops and outdoor gyms are allowed to remain open with capacity caps in place, as hotels and airlines continue to ferry and house travelers during the ongoing holiday season.

So where is the data, if it exists? And if it does not, then why did the LA County Department of Public Health implement a change to the latest public health order in order to prohibit outdoor dining, as directed by the county Board of Supervisors?

The answer is: It’s complicated.

Los Angeles County actually has a fairly robust contact-tracing program, especially compared to many other parts of the country, which gathers as much data as possible on an infected person’s movements and possible sources of contraction. In theory, tracers would be able to pinpoint a person’s precise moment of exposure, then track that person’s movements before and after the exposure — including at public spaces like restaurants, where other diners and staff members who may have come into contact with an infected person could then be notified. But in practice, with 10 million inhabitants, 31,000 restaurants, few mechanisms currently in place to limit individual travel, and no mandate to collect customer data at restaurants or points of retail, the real data that tracers eventually amass is much less clean.

Using what data is available, public health officials have previously said that up to 15 percent of COVID infections could be traced to “dining experiences” within greater Los Angeles over the past few months, and that restaurants as a workplace are areas of higher risk. As an industry, restaurants have been hit with the most infractions by public health inspectors in LA County, and last week Dr. Muntu Davis noted that restaurants had seen a threefold increase in outbreaks among staff over the past several weeks.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer at a press conference in March
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Daily health care publication California Healthline spoke with UCLA associate professor of community health sciences and epidemiology Shira Shafir about the limited contact tracing data that is available; Shafir says that the “data suggests that even outdoor dining may spread the virus.” County health inspectors say that even with daily check-ins, they’re hitting less than 1 percent of all restaurants countywide per week, and that of those compliance checks they have done, 19 percent of restaurants are not properly following social-distancing guidelines. “Compliance is a big issue,” Dr. Ferrer said in a public address yesterday, “but that’s not why we’ve asked restaurants to close for outdoor dining. We’ve closed them because we are asking everyone to keep their face coverings on.”

To Ferrer’s point, simply asking for causal data is missing the larger point. Contact tracing is messy, yes, and a direct link between restaurants and rising infection rates is hard to pinpoint — but that’s not why the county Board of Supervisors or the Department of Public Health shut down outdoor dining in the first place.

Simply put, county officials agreed to shut down outdoor dining because coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been rising dramatically over several weeks, and reducing the number of places where people gather — especially unmasked — is one of the levers of power available to them. The DPH and Ferrer only acted to modify the health order and close outdoor dining because the county Board of Supervisors (who can override the DPH) set a threshold of daily cases for such an action, and LA County blew by it almost immediately. “We had no idea how quickly those numbers would be upon us,” county supervisor Janice Hahn said at a contentious Board of Supervisors meeting last week. “We thought we were weeks away.”

LA public health official Dr. Muntu Davis freely acknowledged last week that the DPH lacks “specific contact tracing showing that restaurants are driving this huge increase in cases,” but noted specifically that gatherings overall are. “We have to look at every place where we can get back some control,” Ferrer added, “partially because there has been such a steep acceleration of cases.” Since then, LA County’s COVID-19 condition has continued to worsen, leading to a modified safer-at-home order that bans all public gatherings of any kind, outside of protected religious events and protests.

The threat of a statewide shelter in place order from Gov. Gavin Newsom still looms. Meanwhile, the city of Pasadena — which has its own public health department — continues to allow outdoor dining at its restaurants, though a recent spate of inspections found two-thirds of restaurants not in compliance with coronavirus protocols.

As for the metrics that will be used to drive the next public health decision? Last week Supervisor Kathryn Barger put forward a motion to begin reaching out to local universities like UCLA and USC to “provide feedback and develop strategies and recommendations to guide our future decisions regarding COVID-19 response and reopening our businesses and communities,” though it’s not likely that those universities will have more restaurant-specific data than the Department of Public Health — or that anyone will any time soon, really, without a massive overhaul to the county’s tracing system. Again, it’s complicated.

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15 Brands You Love That Support Giving Tuesday 2020

We love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!.

It’s the season of gratitude…but it’s also the season of giving! And after all that Black Friday and Cyber Monday madness, it’s time to put your wallet to work for a cause while getting everyone checked off your list.

Giving Tuesday is the perfect opportunity to give a little back with every dollar you spend. Some companies take a percentage of their sales for the day and donate them to a good cause, others give a portion of your purchase to a non-profit that does a lot of good, and there’s even a few retailers who will match donations to their charity of choice. Think of your purchase as a charitable donation where everyone wins a little something extra at the end.

We’ve curated a list of some of the better Giving Tuesday spots to shop, along with some suggestions of what to get. And don’t feel guilty about participating in a fifth straight day of shopping! Remember: it’s for a good cause.

Check out our 15 favorite brands participating in Giving Tuesday!

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Ask Gerda: How to Support Your Immunity and Sleep?

When thoughts turn to preparing for winter, we turn to our head scientist, Gerda Endemann, PhD. She answers some of the most common questions she gets about immunity from readers, staffers, friends, and family. “People want to know what’s worth doing and whether or not a ‘miracle’ cure they’ve heard about is real,” says Endemann. “What empowers people for self-care is getting specific recommendations and action items.”


Are there worthwhile preventative measures to keep
my immunity at its best?

Good hygiene is obvious. Like a skin-softening hand sanitizer. But it’s also important to make sure that the myriad types of white blood cells in your amazing immune system are well-nourished so that they can be their best selves. Of course, wear a mask when you’re out of the house.

Preventative Picks

goop wellness balls in the air

goop Wellness
goop, $90/$75 with subscription

Sure, taking vitamin C is a good idea, but your immune system depends on a whole lot more than just a couple of isolated vitamins for nourishment. Immunity is complex, and so is good nutrition. That’s why this daily multivitamin packet includes omega-3s, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D, all of which are crucial. Plus, it has two other hero ingredients you might not be aware of for lung and skin support: N-acetylcysteine and niacinamide.


Hum Nutrition
goop, $12

Our favorite vitamin D supplement has been updated. It’s now twice as potent, so you need only one small softgel to get a powerful 2,000 IU (international units) for general immune health, including white blood cell and lung support. It still contains the same D3 form that our bodies make, but the D3 is now vegan—sourced from lichen—unlike most vitamin D3, which is obtained from sheep’s wool lanolin.


Herban Essentials
goop, $16

I absolutely love the Herban Essentials individually packaged towelettes, which contain powerful essential oils and stay perfectly wet. I keep a couple in my purse and a few in my car to use on sticky hands, dirty handles, and any other less-than-clean surfaces. It’s fun to randomly choose from this assortment of lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, and peppermint.

Air Doctor 4-IN-1 AIR PURIFIER

Air Doctor
goop, $495

The 4-in-1 Air Purifier uses a VOC filter and an UltraHEPA filter to quietly remove pollen, dust, smoke, volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and viruses from the air. It’s powerful but not too big, so it won’t be in the way wherever you feel like using it. Bonus: It has a washable prefilter.


I’ve had more trouble sleeping than usual, and I know that lack of sleep can affect immunity. What are your best tips for getting more sleep?

First, tire out your body physically with a good workout. Second, address the stressors that are keeping your mind racing. A mind-calming guided meditation can help here. Third, have an evening routine that signals “sleep,” with things like a special bath oil, nice pajamas, and a warm drink. And some people, including me, find melatonin very helpful, once you find the right dose. Start low.

Prepping for Restful Sleep


goop, $160

The versatile BOSU ball can be used for all kinds of bodyweight exercises. It adds an element of instability that makes for a good challenge. With the flat side up, try squats, planks, and push-ups. And then do core work—like scissor kicks and bicycle crunches—with the round side up.


goop, $85

Add Pure Calm to your bath or use a few drops for a nightly foot massage. The fragrance is rich and clean, not too sweet, and not too herbal. Just lovely.


Morgan Lane
goop, $248 each

Our senior creative copywriter, Alyssa Nelsen Geiger, says that these pj’s are what we want: “A good rest starts with a gloriously soft and particularly sumptuous set of silky-soft pajamas. And if they happen to come in a pretty, matchy-matchy print? All the better.” I agree.


Wylde One
goop, $35

Now that you’re all warm and cozy in your pj’s, mix this powder into some hot nut milk for a soothing nighttime ritual. The star ingredients are the adaptogens—reishi mushroom and ashwagandha—which are blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, and licorice.


How do you like to take care of yourself when you’re not feeling well?

When I’m a little under the weather, I like to keep warm and hydrated, get tons of sleep (see above q), and make sure that I’m getting enough vitamin C. (As always, consult your doctor about any illness.)

Cozy Does It


goop, $500

This sauna blanket will definitely keep you from feeling chilly. Our associate editor Kelly Martin’s review sold me: “It’s probably the easiest and most accessible way to experience infrared. You just set it up on your bed or couch, preheat the blanket, wrap yourself up like a burrito, and let the power of infrared—plus internal layers of tourmaline, amethyst, and charcoal—do its magic. When I’m done, I emerge drenched in that post-hot-yoga way I love—feeling glowy, loosened up, and satisfied.”


goop Beauty
goop, $35

These bath salts are what goop’s executive beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June, counts on: “This soak is the only beauty product I actively hoard. There’s nothing like it. If I don’t have at least two bags in my medicine chest— each bag makes three baths—I don’t feel prepared. If you feel something coming on, mix the mustard-powder-salt-eucalyptus-tea-tree soak into a hot bath. Stay in there for twenty minutes, then wrap yourself up in towels and curl up in bed for another twenty. If you’re already struggling, the same treatment works magic, I swear.”


goop, $40

If you want the excruciating details about why it’s a good idea to get plenty of vitamin C, check out this Ask Gerda column. If you just want to work on your hydration and vitamin C replenishment, stir a packet of this powder—with organic orange and strawberry—into a glass of water.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.

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Brian Austin Green Thanks His Fans For All Their Support

“It’s extremely kind and really appreciated.”

Brian Austin Green is so grateful for his fans. After he and actress Megan Fox separated last year, Brian’s fans were there to hold him down — and now he’s thanking each and every one of them for having his back.

“I wanted to thank everyone who’s come on my page and been supportive of everything. It’s extremely kind and really appreciated,” he said in an Instagram video.

Brian captioned the clip, “Life at home while the kids are at school.”

While he mentioned his kids in the caption, the actor didn’t show them, in the wake of Megan calling him out the last time he posted a photo of their youngest kid on Instagram.

“Why does Journey have to be in this picture? It’s not hard to crop them out,” she said in the comments. “I had a great Halloween with them yesterday, and yet notice how absent they are from my social media. I know you love your kids. But I don’t know why you can’t stop using them to posture via Instagram.”

“You’re so intoxicated with feeding the pervasive narrative that I’m an absent mother, and you are the perennial, eternally dedicated dad of the year,” she continued. “You have them half of the time.”

After Megan’s comment was published, Brian changed the photo on Instagram and cropped his son out of the picture.

Fox Atomic & Dune Entertainment / Via

But even though some of his fans didn’t agree with that move, Brian seems to be doing what’s best for his family.

As Brian said of co-parenting, in August on the Hollywood Raw podcast, “There’s no way of doing it right or doing it wrong. We’re learning as we go. The important thing for us is just communicating as much as we can.”

BuzzFeed Daily

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Experts support Democratic bill to create 18-year Sup.Ct. term limits




“We invoke the words of Jefferson and Lincoln because they say something about our legacy and our traditions. We do this because we recognize our links to the past–at least when they flatter us. But black history does not flatter American democracy; it chastens it. The popular mocking of reparations as a harebrained scheme authored by wild-eyed lefties and intellectually unserious black nationalists is fear masquerading as laughter. Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge –that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it.”
          ~~Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (2017)




At Daily Kos on this date in 2002—Politicizing intelligence gathering:

So you’re a Bush Administration official looking for a reason—any reason—to invade Iraq (say, Donald Rumsfeld). You ask your intelligence agencies (CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.) for confirmation that Iraq has ties to Al Qaeda. The agencies mine their assets, review their data, train satellites and listening devices and whatever other exotic technologies they may have on the Iraqis and scattered Al Qaeda members.

And after analyzing everything, they conclude there are no ties between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

This is a setback. You can’t give the real reasons for an Iraq invasion—oil, political gain, and revenge for daddy’s assassination attempt. You just HAVE TO HAVE evidence linking OBL to SH.

So what do you do?

Well, given that this administration is the most intensely political in the history of our fair nation, you simply follow from the Rove game plan—you create a new “intelligence agency” and fill it with political appointees who will confirm whatever lies the administration spews. […]

So to clarify, the CIA (and other intelligence agencies) gather the information. They then interpret it. But if the administration doesn’t like that interpretation (e.g. Hussein and OBL hate each other and would never work together), the new agency can take a look at the info and arrive at a more “acceptable” conclusion (or in Rumsfeld’s words, “assist policymakers in assessing the intelligence they receive”).

The gods save us from this cabal.

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Survey Finds President Trump Has Far More Support From Muslim Voters Than Joe Biden

A new survey has found that Muslim voters are backing President Trump over Joe Biden, and by a large margin.

Democrats and the media have spent years falsely describing Trump’s temporary travel ban as a “Muslim ban” in an obvious effort to portray him as anti-Muslim. This has obviously failed.

Trump’s approval among Muslim’s is even higher than Obama’s was in 2012, according to the survey.

The Washington Examiner reports:

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‘Trump does what he says’: Muslims abandon Biden, back president

President Trump, whose Middle East plan is winning support from Arab nations, is gaining strong support from Muslim leaders and their followers who believe that the Democrats haven’t delivered on years of promises, according to a new survey of Islamic leaders.

In a shocking turnaround, 61.48% of the 109 Muslim leaders who “represent two million voters” plan to vote for Trump. That is a slight edge over their 2012 vote for Barack Obama.

The survey of the leaders was done by the Washington correspondent for Aksam Gazetesi, a Turkish news site. It suggested that the Muslim leaders’ support for former Vice President Joe Biden was 30.27%.

Those results represent a dramatic flip of the Muslim vote, which for years has sided with the Democrats.

Aksam’s Washington correspondent Yavuz Atalay shared his results with Secrets and said, “It’s about the trustworthy. Obama, Clinton said good words, but they did not do what they said. Biden is doing same things. Good words but no action. Trump does what he says.”

This is a remarkable development which is being largely ignored by the mainstream media.

Here’s an interesting theory about the support:

It will be fascinating to revisit this after the election to analyze the results.

Cross posted from American Lookout.

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Breaking New

Trump or Biden will need support from allies to keep China in check, H.R. McMaster says

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor said Monday that the winner of the presidential election next month will need to elicit the help of the international community in order to rein in a more ambitious and aggressive China.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who served as Trump’s second national security advisor, described China as the biggest national security threat facing the United States.

“I think whoever gets sworn in on Jan. 20 has to ramp up international coordination and cooperation,” McMaster said in an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

“Since the 1990s, China has increased their military spending 800%. It’s the largest peacetime military buildup in history,” he said, adding that the Chinese government has also “been much more aggressive at exporting its authoritarian mercantilist model abroad.”

“This isn’t just a U.S.-China problem, this is a free world-China problem, and if the world’s largest economies work together to counter Chinese economic aggression as well as physical aggression, I think we can go a long way in convincing Xi Jinping that his aggressive strategy is not working,” McMaster said.

The crumbling relationship between Washington and Beijing has intensified following an attempt from the world’s two largest economies to mend trade relations.

The Trump administration places blame squarely on China for a wide range of grievances, including intellectual property theft, unfair trade practices and the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, Trump’s current national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, slammed China for a laundry list of offenses before saying that “the days of American passivity and naivety regarding the People’s Republic of China are over.”

Similarly, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the Trump administration would not allow the Chinese to carry on with espionage and cyberattacks against the United States that have amounted to what he called “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”

Beijing fired back by saying the U.S. is to blame for deteriorating relations.

“The U.S. is pressing the accelerator to trash China-U.S. relations, while China is putting the brakes on,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in July.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee running against Trump, has previously said he would work more closely with allies in order to mount pushback against China. He has also said that during his political career he has spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other world leader, experience that Trump lacks.

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Serena Williams Returns to the Court With Support From Alexis Ohanian and Daughter Olympia

Game, set, perfect match! 

Serena Williams was certainly feeling the love on Tuesday, Aug. 11 as she returned to the court for her first competitive match since the COVID-19 outbreak postponed numerous tennis tournaments. The world-famous athlete was victorious against Bernarda Pera at the Top Seed Open in Kentucky, and we’d like to think she has her two good luck charms to thank in part. 

Both Serena’s husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their 2-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., were cheering her on from the stands. Aside from tournament officials and a very small number of individuals connected to the players, spectators were not permitted inside the tournament. During a post-game press conference, Serena admitted that despite the W, her toddler’s snacking may have kept her from remaining in the zone.  

“I didn’t even look over there,” she told reporters. “I think I heard her cough though. I know my baby’s cough. She was drinking and she was eating grapes. And I’m then like, ‘Oh my gosh. Is she chewing? Make sure you chew.'”

She continued, “So I didn’t look over there but I kind of flashed my husband a look like make sure she’s chewing her grapes because she shouldn’t be coughing while she’s eating grapes. That’s the new mom in me and it’s good.”

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Dining News

Fight Hunger and Support Local Restaurants in America

Not all that long ago it seemed like if the pandemic weren’t exactly over by now, then at least the worst of it would be. But as the virus continues to rage in the South and in California, and as the threat of resurgence looms over areas where it has been beaten back, it is increasingly clear that not only will thousands more Americans likely die as a direct result of COVID-19 by the end of the year, but the mass misery of the economic devastation it has unleashed — suffering disproportionately endured by Black and Latinx communities — will not lift anytime soon. 

As benefits like the federal $600 a week unemployment expansion run out or contract for more than 25 million Americans, organizations that provide food and housing assistance to low-income people across the country, already strained by the last several months of the pandemic and the government’s appallingly incompetent — and at times malevolent — response, are preparing for a new tidal wave of need. As half of independent restaurants and bars teeter on the brink of closing forever, programs that aid people in the food industry are also seeking further support so they can continue to provide assistance to the roughly 8 million workers who have been unemployed or are newly out of a job. Groups representing Indigenous communities, undocumented immigrants, farmworkers, and people of color are also mobilizing to get assistance to marginalized people and lay a foundation for a more resilient food system — because while it’s an extraordinary time of need, it’s also not new. 

Hunger and poverty have always been the U.S.’s most shameful open secrets. Despite being the wealthiest country in the world, as of 2018 more than 13 percent of people in the U.S. lived below the poverty level, according to the Census Bureau, while a full 78 percent of U.S. workers lived paycheck to paycheck. The pandemic and its economic fallout have put those statistics into ever starker relief, as the nation’s working class and its poorest residents have faced the largest health burden from the virus. Several studies have estimated that pandemic-related job losses and increased food costs have roughly doubled food insecurity in the U.S., and No Kid Hungry estimates that one quarter of children around the country could face food insecurity in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus. 

In this guide, Eater has identified a range of programs, organizations, and charities fighting hunger, developing sustainable food networks, and providing support to the roughly one in five people who are unemployed due to this global medical disaster. They’re places that are stepping in to do work in their communities where governments and elected officials have left people behind. Collected here are opportunities for giving and volunteering in and around the United States and its territories, at both the national and the local level, as well as in the U.K. Editors have done their best to vet the charities included here, but it’s always important to make sure when you give money or time that the organization you’re supporting aligns with your values and has a transparent, proven track record. If you only have time or resources to give, give it, but monetary donations — especially those offered over an extended period — can be even more impactful because charities tend to know where the greatest need is. If you’ve chosen a group and aren’t sure what’s the best way to help, it’s worth reaching out and asking.

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Where’s Sleepy Joe’s Support? Trump Signs Are Everywhere But Sleepy Joe Signs Are Nowhere to be Found

All across the nation there are Trump signs everywhere.  Noticeably missing are any Biden signs anywhere?

This past weekend the Crew Dragon SpaceX capsule splashed down off the coast of Florida.  Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley returned to earth after launching from the Kennedy Space Center at the end of May.  They were greeted by a boat with a Trump flag:

Trump boat parades have occurred around the US this past summer.  On the 4th of July weekend in Newport Beach, California, people celebrated the 4th with beach parties on the Newport peninsula and a Trump boat parade:

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A Trump boat parade in South Carolina set a Guinness World Record with over 3,000 vessels participating:

Florida has had numerous boat parades:

Michigan had a two mile long Trump boat parade:

Across the nation there are Trump signs everywhere.  One man shared with us that he drove from Iowa to Oregon and from Oregon to California and all he saw was Trump signs everywhere.  He didn’t see a single Biden sign!

In Florida, one business owner is all Trump all the time…and his business is doing great:

President Trump’s communication director shared a tweet showing Trump 2020 signage on a business roof:

Jesse Watters pointed this out over the weekend – Biden has no base!

Biden has no base – Sleepy Joe has no MO.

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