California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a video announcement on Wednesday that the lockdown rules in the state preventing outdoor dining are not a tool for safety, but rather a tactic to "keep people at home."
"Turning to restaurants to deliver and provide takeout options instead really has to do with the goal of trying to keep people at home," Ghaly said. "Not a comment on the relative safety of outdoor dining."
Ghaly commented on the extensive steps which restaurants have taken with the government to make outdoor dining as safe as possible including "keeping tables farther apart, to ensuring masking happens as much as possible, to create opportunities for air circulation." He pointed out "all of those factors make outdoor dining lower risk."
"But right now," Ghaly continued, "we advise against anything that you can do in another way, in a lower risk way, that avoids you either leaving your home, or only leaving your home in a way that doesn't expose you and cause you to mix with others."
California's lockdown rules have come under extensive criticism by conservatives who have suggested that the restrictions put in place are arbitrary and draconian, while Democrats have mostly, although in Ghaly's case not always, argued that they are necessary steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Conservatives have also pointed the fact that some state officials and healthcare profession leaders, who have strongly supported lockdown measures, have flaunted the rules themselves. California Governor Gavin Newsom was photographed in November dining at a lavish restaurant in Napa, California with a small group of people even at a time when his own orders restricted such gatherings.
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