An upscale Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills known to attract celebrity diners invited a select group of customers to a ‘speakeasy’-style New Year’s Eve indoor dinner that violates COVID-19 lockdown measures.
La Scala in Beverly Hills sparked outrage on social media after a Los Angeles-based reporter on Friday posted a notice that the restaurant was leaving inside takeout orders.
‘Welcome back to the 20’s Prohibition,’ the notice reads with the letters printed in a classical style font.
‘Speak Easy – New Year’s Eve Dinner,’ read the note.
Customers who recently bought takeout food from La Scala in Beverly Hills received an invite to a ‘1920s Prohibition speakeasy’-style New Year’s Eve in-person, indoors dinner bash in a brazen attempt to flout COVID-19 lockdown rules
‘We are considering taking reservations for New Year’s Eve dinner,’ the note from the restaurant (seen above) read. ‘Inside. If this is something you’d be interested in, please let us know as soon as possible. If enough interest we’ll contact you back to secure a reservation.’ The note ended by saying: ‘Please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends’
La Scala, the pricey Italian restaurant, is a favorite haunt of Hollywood celebrities, including former basketball superstar Lamar Odom and his then-wife Khloe Kardashian (pictured together at La Scala in June 2010)
Entertainment mogul David Geffen (right) and his then-girlfriend Cher are pictured outside of La Scala in Beverly Hills in January 1983
‘We are considering taking reservations for New Year’s Eve dinner. Inside.
‘If this is something you’d be interested in, please let us know as soon as possible.
‘If enough interest we’ll contact you back to secure a reservation.
‘Please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends.’
The notice was obtained and posted by LA-based journalist Alissa Walker.
Keith Sterling, a spokesperson for the City of Beverly Hills, told DailyMail.com: ‘The City has made direct contact with representatives of La Scala to confirm the conditions of the County’s Health Order.
‘We understand this is an incredibly difficult time for all of our businesses, however the County Order does currently prohibit indoor and outdoor dining, including in the City of Beverly Hills.’
Phone calls to La Scala’s Beverly Hills location as well as its corporate office in Los Angeles seeking comment went unanswered late on Saturday night.
A ‘speakeasy’ is a reference to illicit liquor stores and nightclubs that were operating in the United States during the 1920s, when Prohibition was in effect.
Suzanne Somers (pictured left in 1981) and Kirk Douglas (pictured right in 1978) also frequented La Scala
Paul Newman (left) and daughter Susan Newman (right) are seen at La Scala in January 1984
They were called ‘speakeasies’ because people spoke discreetly about their existence so as not to alert the police or law enforcement.
They were popular in most of the country between 1920 and 1933, when it was illegal to manufacture, sell, and transport alcoholic beverages.
After Prohibition ended in 1933, speakeasies mainly referred to retro style bars.
On December 6, most of California, including Los Angeles County as well as surrounding jurisdictions in the southern part of the state, were placed under a stay-at-home order that banned in-person dining.
The move, which angered restaurant and bar owners who took measures to provide socially distanced service to diners outdoors, came in response to a surging number of COVID-19 cases.
Hospitals statewide are operating beyond normal capacity due to the skyrocketing case loads as some counties report that there are no more available beds in the intensive care units.
In-person dining can only resume when ICU bed capacity climbs above 15 per cent again, as per Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home directive.
The situation is so dire that the top public health official in Los Angeles County, the country’s most populous which includes Beverly Hills, said on Thursday that on average one COVID-19 patient is dying every 10 minutes.
Hospital staff in several medical centers in Southern California said that there is no room to house patients as some are being forced to place gurneys into gift shops.
Health inspectors and authorities stepped up enforcement at restaurants and shopping malls over the post-Christmas weekend as they desperately seek to curb a coronavirus surge that already has filled some hospitals in California well beyond normal capacity.
‘For some reason it’s the “Inside” as its own sentence that really makes me want to punch someone,’ Jill Twiss tweeted
One Twitter user commented: ‘Strong “let’s be naughty” vibes. Like what people think an invitation to an orgy would be like’
Michelle Gable tweeted: ‘Yeah the whole thing is bad but “inside” is just next level unnecessary’
Another Twitter user noted: ‘It’s the comparison to prohibition that gets me’
An angry Twitter user commented: ‘And the BS wink to Prohibition. Covid kills people. They’re disgusting, vile a-holes.’
Another Twitter user noted that LA was experiencing a mild winter. ‘It was 75 degree high yesterday on Christmas in LA!’ tweeted a woman who goes by the name Senorita Rocio. ‘I ate my Christmas dinner outside when visiting my mother across town’
Over the course of recent decades, La Scala has earned a reputation for being a preferred dining destination among Hollywood celebrities.
Stars like Frank Sinatra, Cher, David Geffen, Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Barbara Walters, Suzanne Somers, Kirk Douglas, Robert Wagner, Peter Falk, and others have reserved tables at the eatery.
La Scala is not for the faint of wallet. An appetizer of mozzarella marinara is one of the cheapest items on the menu – $12.50.
A diner who orders an appetizer, salad, a main course, dessert, and a drink could easily spend at least $90 for a meal.
From a public relations standpoint, however, the restaurant received bad reviews on social media, where Twitter users lost their appetite over the brazen attempt to skirt lockdown rules.
‘For some reason it’s the “Inside” as its own sentence that really makes me want to punch someone,’ Jill Twiss tweeted.
Another Twitter user noted that LA was experiencing a mild winter.
‘It was 75 degree high yesterday on Christmas in LA!’ tweeted a woman who goes by the name Senorita Rocio.
‘I ate my Christmas dinner outside when visiting my mother across town.
As of late Saturday, California reported more than 2.07 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 24,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic
California public health officials reported that nearly 380,000 new tests were conducted on Friday. The 14-day average positivity rate stood at 12.1 per cent
Nearly 20,000 Californians were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of late Saturday. Statewide, there were just under 1,400 ICU beds available
California public health officials also reported an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive patients who were admitted to the ICU
The above map shows how Southern California is home to the largest concentration of COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized as of Friday
The above map shows that 55 of California’s 58 counties are experiencing ‘widespread’ cases of COVID-19
‘These people are absurd acting like LA winter isn’t a breeze.
‘They’ve fetishized eating inside only because we’re not supposed to do it bc it’s unsafe.’
Michelle Gable tweeted: ‘Yeah the whole thing is bad but “inside” is just next level unnecessary.’
Another Twitter user noted: ‘It’s the comparison to prohibition that gets me.’
One Twitter user commented: ‘Strong “let’s be naughty” vibes.
‘Like what people think an invitation to an orgy would be like.’
An angry Twitter user commented: ‘And the BS wink to Prohibition. Covid kills people.
‘They’re disgusting, vile a-holes.’
On Christmas Eve, California became the first state in the nation to exceed 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Los Angles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Thursday that ‘a person now dies every 10 minutes in LA County from COVID-19 – and since many of these deaths are preventable, our collective focus should be on doing right to save lives.
‘I hope we can each find the strength and courage to take responsibility for each other’s well-being.’
On Saturday, the state reported more than 30,000 new COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, a 22 per cent decrease from the previous day.
The first coronavirus case in California was confirmed on January 25.
It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on November 11. Just 44 days later, the number topped 2 million.
As of Saturday, California had record numbers of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and in ICUs, at nearly 19,000 and more than 4,000, respectively.
The figures showed no increase in hospitalizations, and there were a few more ICU beds available, for a total of around 1,390 statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.
However, ICU capacity varied between the five regions of the state.
The Northern California region had 34 per cent of ICU capacity while the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions were technically at 0 per cent capacity, meaning that they had no more regular ICU beds available.