Soaring COVID-19 cases impact Studio City businesses


Sandra Koretz/Chronicle

Palm trees line both sides of the street on Ventura Boulevard and Laurel .Canyon intersection, where establishments such as Laurel Tavern and Mazza Modern Kitchen adapt to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Grant Park and Jackson Mayer

The ongoing surge of the omicron COVID-19 variant has led to increased infection rates in Los Angeles County, with over 2 million cases tallied in total, as of Jan. 14. Although Studio City’s daily case count is significantly lower than other areas of Los Angeles County, Studio City is experiencing business adjustments and restaurants have fallen victim to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The daily positivity testing rate of Los Angeles County has risen to a seven-day daily average of 20.81%, and the total number of cases reported is 2,172,008 as of Jan. 14.

Upper school Dean and Studio City resident Chris Jones said he notices that restaurants are struggling to stay open.

“Many businesses shortened their open hours and reduced their staff, and several others closed either temporarily or for good,” Jones said. “Harder still are many of the places where people gather, restaurants, for example, that foster a sense of community. [Such locations] have yet to rebound, and that loss of community is pretty tangible and easy to feel.”

The mandate reducing indoor dining also impacted Studio City’s restaurants, according to LA County Public Health. Located in Studio City, Flavor of India employee Akashdeep Khinda said while business has not slowed, fewer people have been dining in at the restaurant.

“Because of the omicron [variant] surge, not as many people have been dining in recently,” Khinda said. “Although we’ve been getting more pick-up orders, because of the commission rate of Doordash and Uber Eats, we haven’t been getting the guests that we got before the omicron surge.”

Studio City resident Sam Volokh ’23 said the recent COVID-19 spike has heightened the sense of fear throughout the Studio City community, and many local businesses appear to be suffering.

“The biggest effect of rising case counts in Studio City seems to be an increased danger that everyone feels,” Volokh said. “I have seen a lot of businesses on hiatus, which is unfortunate for both the customers and store owners.”

Donya Ghassemieh ’23 said she noticed that vaccine card requirements have also been enforced due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“A lot of businesses have been requiring vaccination cards even for eating outside,” Ghassemieh said. “This has allowed them to stay open through this rise in cases.”

The daily case count of Los Angeles County has now reached 40,535 with 4,257 hospitalizations and 27,942 deaths as of Jan. 14.

Illustration by Alexa Druyanoff.