Posts in Legal Bites.
Posted in Legal Bites
LA County Cracks Down on Restaurants Violating COVID-19 Health Orders

On July 7, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to fine LA County businesses, including restaurants, for violations of COVID-19 public health orders, and to shut businesses down for non-compliance in as little as two health inspector visits. The motion was proposed by Supervisors Shelia Kuehl and Janice Hahn. 

In explaining the urgency of passing the motion, the proposal states: “on the weekend of June 27-28, inspectors found that 49% of bars and 33% of restaurants were not adhering to physical distancing protocols indoors and that 54% of bars and 44% of ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FTC Issues Proposed Rule for Made in USA Labeling

On June 22, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission issued a proposed Made in USA Rule regarding when businesses can advertise that their products are made in the U.S., and giving the agency discretion to impose civil penalties.  The proposed rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register, but the agency has invited businesses to file public comments regarding their feedback.

Under the Rule, advertisers would be prohibited from making unqualified Made in USA claims unless the following three factors are met.  First, final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Orders Restaurants to Halt Indoor Dining

On July 1, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants in nineteen California counties, including Los Angeles County, to cease indoor operations for at least three weeks, until July 22, 2020.

The nineteen counties affected by the Governor’s order represent 70% of the California population. They are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura counties.

In addition to restaurants, the order requires that wineries ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Bars, Tasting Rooms and Breweries Ordered to Close

On June 28, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered that bars in seven California counties close. These counties are: Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial. 

The state has also recommended, but not ordered that eight other counties issue local health orders closing bars: Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus.

The order and recommendations are a result of an increase in new cases and hospitalizations across the state.

Following the order, the Los Angeles County Department of ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA Permits Temporary Flexible Food Labeling

Food manufacturers are playing a crucial role during the COVID-19 crisis by supporting various essential businesses and keeping products on the shelves for consumers. The pandemic has disrupted their day-to-day operations and required new protocols for sanitation, social distancing in the workplace, and the distribution of products that are high in demand. Additionally, food manufacturers are required to comply with strict labeling regulations designed to keep consumers fully informed about the contents of their food. These regulations required that manufacturers alter ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Business Interruption Insurance Coverage: A Guide for Restaurants

Restaurants whose operations have been shut down due to the coronavirus crisis are looking to their business interruption or business income insurance policies for relief, and have found resistance from insurance companies paying these claims.

As a general matter, in order to trigger coverage those policies require (1) direct physical loss or damage; (2) to covered property: (3) arising from a covered peril; and (4) resulting in the suspension of the business’ operations.

In cases where coverage is triggered, an insured business may be entitled to recover the net income it would ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Legislature Advances Bill to Regulate Food Delivery Platforms

California’s legislative season is in full swing, and the California State Assembly and State Senate are advancing bills that will affect the food, beverage, and hospitality industry, with a focus on the restaurant industry.

State legislators have shown an interest in regulating food delivery platforms. Several cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, have capped delivery fees that these platforms, including Grubhub, Door Dash, Uber Eats and Postmates, can charge restaurants at least for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concerns have also been raised by ...

Los Angeles County Issues Reopening Protocols for Non-Essential Businesses

Los Angeles County issued protocols that the non-essential businesses listed below must follow in connection with reopening. 

Prior to reopening, each of these businesses must implement and complete the applicable protocol found below, and post a copy of the completed protocol at all public entrances to its facility.

Additionally, each protocol requires certain signage be posted to alert the public about various COVID-19 safety measures that must be followed, and that similar information be included on the business website.  In some cases, businesses must communicate to their ...

Posted in Legal Bites
“L.A. Al Fresco” Program Launched

The City of Los Angeles has launched an “L.A. Al Fresco” Program aimed at helping restaurants reopen while following COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. 

The program will allow restaurants to use their sidewalk and private parking lots spaces to increase their outdoor dining capacity.  Through the program, the City will offer streamlined, immediate approval for eligible restaurants to provide outdoor dining in sidewalks and private parking lots.  The approval will also allow restaurants to serve alcohol in these areas.

L.A. Al Fresco was launched on May 29, 2020 and the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA City Council Caps Delivery Fees at 15%

On June 3, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an ordinance capping third-party food delivery services fees at 15% for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The ordinance will become part of the City’s Municipal Code.

The new ordinance makes it unlawful for a third-party food delivery service to charge a restaurant a fee per online order of more than 15% of the purchase price of the order. The ordinance is designed to protect the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, when dine-in was prohibited. The ordinance is set to expire 90 days after the ...

Los Angeles City and County Issue Dine-In Restaurant Guidelines for Reopening

On Friday, May 29th, both the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles announced that dine-in restaurants are permitted to reopen. Both the city and county have also issued guidelines for restaurants to follow in the reopening of their dine-in operations.

The County of Los Angeles’ protocols for the reopening of on-site dining for restaurants and other permanent retail food operations are found here.

The City of Los Angeles’ guidelines for dine-in restaurants and bars in the City of Los Angeles can be found here. At this time, bars are not permitted to reopen except for food ...

Los Angeles County Announces Dine-In Restaurants, Hair Salons and Barbershops May Reopen

Today, May 29, 2020, the County of Los Angeles announced that it will move further into Phase 2 reopening by permitting dine-in restaurants, hair salons and barber shops to reopen.  This decision came after the County learned it received a variance from the State of California to allow this action.  Los Angeles County has moved at a much slower pace than most California counties due to its higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

 Los Angeles County also announced it will be posting new restaurant guidelines later today.  Restaurants may open for in-house dining when the County posts ...

Governor Newsom Relaxes California Guidelines for Business Reopening

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson announced relaxed state guidelines for Phase 2 reopening of dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls. The relaxed guidelines would permit 53 of California’s 58 counties to move into Phase 2 reopening. However, with its higher infection and death rate, it is not expected that Los Angeles County will be ready for Phase 2 in the immediate future. 

Instead of the prior guideline of having no deaths within the last 14 days, under the new state guidelines, COVID-19 hospitalizations cannot increase more than ...

In Case You Missed It: New State Guidelines For Reopening Dine-In Restaurants, Offices and Malls

This week Governor Newsom announced new guidelines for the Phase 2 reopening of dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls. The date for reopening of these establishments will be determined by the COVID-19-related circumstances of the county in which the business is located. To reopen dine-in restaurants, offices and malls, a county must receive a variance from the state, through self-certification and state approval. 

Specifically, a California county seeking to start Phase 2 must prove to the state: that it has no new COVID-19 case per 10,000 ...

Los Angeles County Issues New Order Permitting Certain Businesses To Reopen

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Los Angeles County issued an updated “Safer at Home” order that amends and supersedes prior Los Angeles County Health Officer orders. The new order is intended to partially move Los Angeles County into the second stage of reopening businesses.

The businesses now permitted to reopen can do so only for curbside, door side, or other outdoor or outside pick-up, or delivery.  Members of the public cannot be permitted inside these businesses.  Businesses permitted to open on this basis are retailers not located in indoor malls or shopping centers, and ...

Proposed Fair Scheduling Act of 2020 Will Impose Fines and Additional Pay for the Failure to Provide Advance Notice of Worker Schedules

Senate Bill 850, also referred to as the Fair Scheduling Act of 2020, would require grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores to provide employees with 21-day work schedules, at least seven calendar days in advance.

Employers must pay a worker not exempt from overtime a “modification pay” for each previously scheduled shift that the employer cancels or moves to another date or time, each previously unscheduled shift that the employer requires an employee to work, and for each on-call shift for which an employee is required to be available but is not called into work.  If less ...

California Court of Appeal Agrees Employer Does Not Have To Pay For Shoes...This Time

Krista Townley was a server at BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. As a server, Townley was required to wear black, slip-resistant close-toed shoes pursuant to company policy.  Townley purchased a pair of canvas shoes that complied with the policy.  She was not reimbursed by BJ’s. What happened next?  You guessed it: Townley filed a class and representative action under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.) which sought civil penalties on behalf of herself and other "aggrieved employees" for Labor Code violations.

In her lawsuit, Townley claimed that an ...

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