Jose Mier Investigates “Bona Fide” Meals.
Currently the State of California states that bars must remain closed with the exception of those that serve food. Like other restaurants in Los Angeles County our Sun Valley bars which do serve food must do so outdoors. Unfortunately most of the bars in our area do not have outdoor facilities which means bars like Las Playas Bar on San Fernando Rd. have to remain closed. Small businesses like this one are taking the brunt of coronavirus closures.
For those bars that do have the ability to set up outdoor food service they may serve alcohol as long as it served with a meal. Here’s the catch though: the food they serve has to be a “bona fide” meal. This term intrigued me as I was looking up the restrictions imposed on bars and restaurants. What exactly constitutes a bona fide meal? Like many government documents the definition is vague or employs a certain circular logic.
The document on the Los Angeles county public health department website which post the restrictions on bars and restaurants States it this way:
“Bona fide meals” are defined as a usual assortment of foods commonly ordered at various hours of the day that would be considered a legitimate meal.
I find this definition vague to say the least. There is no mention of any specific food only assortments of food. And who is to consider one food legitimate and another not? The document does state that prepackaged food like sandwiches for appetizers or snacks do not constitute bona fide meals. It seems like this was left intentionally vague so the government officials could determine on a whim whether a bar can remain open or to close it.
If the prepackaged sandwich is not a meal tell that to the thousands who grab one on the go during lunch hour. It would have been helpful if the legislators or lawyers who created this document took a few more minutes to define what actually constitutes a legitimate meal.
This is the situation we find ourselves in in Sun Valley and for those small businesses like bars that are currently prevented from serving customers the outlook is bleak indeed.