A celebrity hangout in Beverly Hills is apologizing after inviting customers to an "inside" dinner party on New Year's Eve. The invitation from Italian restaurant La Scala, dropped into customers' takeout bags, teased a "discreet" speak-easy-themed soiree. "We are considering taking reservations for New Year's Eve Dinner. Inside," the invitation read. It directed interested parties to reach out, adding the restaurant would confirm reservations if there was enough interest. "Please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends," the note concluded. It caused an uproar on social media as indoor and outdoor dining are banned in Los Angeles County. Indoor dining has been banned since March, except for a brief stint after Memorial Day, reports the Los Angeles Times. A ban on outdoor dining was reapplied Nov. 25, per People. It was due to expire Dec. 28 but was extended.
Beverly Hills police said they were "handling this matter" in a Christmas Day tweet. City officials reminded the restaurant of coronavirus restrictions the day before, per the Times. But the restaurant now says it never intended to violate the rules. "Unfortunately, the person that wrote [the invitation] tried to add some levity and said inside instead of outside," reads a statement posted to La Scala's website. It adds La Scala had simply been "hopeful of resuming some sort of table service ... if allowed." "If you can find fault in that, there is nothing more we can say," the statement said. It also called out news sources for focusing on the word "discreet." "How is putting a note in bags being secretive?" it said. "If everyone would turn their hate to love and direct it to the people that need it instead of attacking small businesses trying to survive, that would be a much better use of their time." (Read more apology stories.)