The decision of many jurisdictions to allow restaurants like Merrihue’s to spill out into the roadway provided one of the few bright spots, but now most of the makeshift wood and perspex structures constructed over the summer lie forlorn and empty.

Beloved restaurants have gone out of business all over the city, including a Middle Eastern cafe across the street from Merrihue’s place and a high-end fish restaurant with stunning views over the ocean just a few blocks away next to the Santa Monica Pier.

The pier itself, one of the LA area’s most recognizable landmarks, is still going strong, however, packed with tourists and residents, many of whom are maskless and stay significantly less than 6ft apart. To date, nobody has shown much interest in policing them – much less closing the place down.

To many, it is indicative of inconsistent and illogical applications of of anti-Covid strictures by political leaders facing pressure from a variety of unions and industry lobby groups.