Four cities won't suspend outdoor dining despite Alameda County's health order, for now

Four cities are pushing back on Alameda County's abrupt change to its health order suspending outdoor dining. 

City leaders in Livermore, Dublin, Hayward, and Oakland said they are not enforcing the revised order until more clarity is given on what is exactly allowed. 

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors was expected to vote on applying for a variance from the state to resume outdoor dining at their meeting on Tuesday, not knowing if or when the state would approve it. But KTVU has learned from the county health officer that they may not be able to apply for a variance. 

Dr. Nicholas Moss, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, said the county is seeking more clarification. 

The state's COVID-19 response web page shows that the county attestation process has been paused as of Monday, July 13. 

County officials on Friday ordered that all outdoor dining must cease as Alameda County never got permission from the state. 

Back in June, several Bay Area counties including Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties applied for and received a variance from the state. However, Alameda County did not.

The Board of Supervisors were supposed to vote to apply for a variance at one of their meetings in June, but they decided not to.

Health spokesperson Neetu Balram said the reason was because the county had seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and supervisors felt they needed to slow down the reopening process on June 29. At the time, they determined a variance was not needed to allow outdoor dining.

Health officials said in a statement, "At the time, many other counties had applied for a variance alongside or shortly after opening outdoor dining without consequences, and Alameda County took that same approach."

The statement goes on to say that the county believes the state is now taking a more strict approach: "At that time the state did not differentiate dining guidance by indoor/outdoor as it now does. With the new guidance dated yesterday and enforcement actions observed last week in Santa Clara County, the state is demonstrating a new approach."

Officials said because of stricter guidelines from the state, Alameda County restaurants, wineries and bars can only offer drive-thru or pick-up/delivery service at this time.