Los Angeles County allowed restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining Friday but forbid any from turning on their televisions.
"Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off," the order published Thursday night states. "This provision is effective until further notice." The L.A. County Department of Public Health did not give a reason for the television ban nor did it respond to a request for information or comment on it.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported the measure is akin to a "Super Bowl ban" as fans seek outdoor, COVID-cautious alternatives to watch the most important game of the year in a little over a week.
The implication is likely given the statement of county supervisor Hilda Solis, who cautioned against Super Bowl gatherings on Monday.
"We are not in the clear," Solis said in a video briefing. "The Super Bowl, as you know, is coming up and we've seen what happens when other sporting events take place and people gather in others' homes. Please resist that urge."
Restaurant owners have borne the brunt of the nation's economic recession, as states such as California have increasingly turned to strict coronavirus lockdown measures meant to stem the tide of COVID-19. Many have pursued legal remedies to save their businesses.
The California Restaurant Association triumphed over the L.A. County health department in court in December, successfully blocking what a judge termed an "arbitrary" ban against outdoor dining in the state. The group estimates that nearly one million restaurant workers have been laid off or furloughed since the start of the pandemic. The Washington Free Beacon reached out to the group regarding the television ban and its perceived effects on restaurant owners but did not hear back.
California currently leads the nation in restaurant closures.