Updated: Local Coronavirus Outbreaks Include Malibu Restaurant, Pepperdine Campus


Moonshadows Restaurant in eastern Malibu has recorded six confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, according to LA County Public Health data published Thursday, July 23. 

Three Moonshadows kitchen staff who also socialize outside of the restaurant tested positive three weeks ago, owners Andrea Bullo, Franco Simplicio and Rodolfo Costella said in a statement shared with The Malibu Times.

Bullo said that Moonshadows immediately closed for three days—”going above and beyond” county health department guidelines, Bullo told The Malibu Times —and immediately contacted LA County and filed a report. County regulations require that a company owner or manager who knows of three or more cases of COVID-19 within their workplace within a span of 14 days must report this outbreak to the Department of Public Health.

According to their statement, Moonshadows also hired a cleaning service to disinfect the restaurant during the time it was closed. They also quarantined all members of staff that worked in close proximity to or spent time with the three positive individuals and asked all of their employees to get tested, the owners said. During the closure, three other kitchen members tested positive, bringing the total number of confirmed positive cases to six. 

All of these employees are currently still at home recovering. None so far have been hospitalized, according to the owners.

Bullo, Simplicio and Costella, who have owned the restaurant for more than 20 years, wrote that Moonshadows continues to abide by all health department requirements “and beyond.” 

“We are well aware of the risks involved and we don’t take [them] lightly,” the owners said. “We will continue to do all we can to protect our staff and clients.”

The Department of Public Health shared with The Malibu Times that whenever a COVID-19 cluster is identified at a worksite, the county initiates “a cluster response, which includes providing infection control guidance and recommendations, technical support and site-specific control managers.” They also assign a public health case manager to the cluster investigation to help guide the facility’s response. Moonshadows’ case manager could not be reached for comment.

Moonshadows is open for outdoor dining in accordance with county health orders. 

Pepperdine University also recently recorded five COVID-19 cases. Three staff members, one law student and one undergraduate student have come down with the virus, bringing the total case number among students, faculty and staff to 44. On July 17, the university reported that a Mail Services staffer had tested positive, although the staffer had most recently been on campus July 10. University contact tracing indicated no close contacts within the campus and the mail room was closed from July 17-20 for cleaning.

Pepperdine also announced last week that its upcoming fall semester would be entirely online, saying administrators anticipate Governor Gavin Newsom’s forthcoming announcement regarding regulations for California colleges to closely mirror last week’s guidance which effectively prohibited most K-12 schools from resuming in-person instruction.

As of Friday afternoon, Malibu had 73 confirmed novel coronavirus cases. Two community members have been killed by the virus: John Bell, who died in April, and an additional resident (unnamed) who died in July. 

According to data that was available by Tuesday afternoon, there were no other local outbreaks listed on the county’s website, which is updated daily. LA County has been publishing information about outbreaks in residential congregate settings, skilled nursing facility deaths, non residential settings and homeless service settings. All of that data is available online at the LA County Public Health Department’s COVID-19 data page by visiting publichealth.lacounty.gov. 

County data did list Canyon Trails at Topanga Senior Living and Topanga Terrace Convalescent Center as having outbreaks. Neither of these facilities are in Topanga; they are located in Canoga Park and West Hills, respectively.

On Tuesday alone, Los Angeles County recorded 2,708 laboratory-confirmed new cases and 51 new deaths. The total number of LA County cases is now 169,158. The total number of LA County deaths is 4,426.