Promising stricter restrictions for days due to the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County health officials today announced a modified health routine that bans almost all gatherings, further restricts most businesses and closes certain sectors altogether.
The order, which takes effect on Monday, keeps most retailers and other businesses open with limited occupancy, but closes playgrounds and card rooms completely.
It also prohibits all public and private assemblies except protests and church services. This is stricter than the current restrictions that allowed people from up to three households to gather outside while keeping themselves away and wearing a mask.
Unlike the original March home order, outdoor activities such as tennis, golf, hiking and beaches remain largely open, with only mandatory masks and social distance. Schools and day care providers that are already open can still operate.
The order does not automatically apply to Long Beach because the city has its own health department, but local officials have almost always followed the county leadership. Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach he said in a tweet that the city’s health department will review the order “and issue further guidance”.
According to county officials, the order will be in effect until December 20 and includes the following restrictions in addition to the existing restaurant closures:
- Gatherings: All public and private assemblies with persons not living in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
- Employment barriers in different companies (In these places, all persons must wear face shield and keep a distance of at least 6 feet):
- Basic retail – maximum occupancy 35%
- Non-essential retail (including inland shopping malls) – maximum occupancy 20%
- Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
- Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
- Outdoor fitness centers – maximum occupancy 50%
- Open-air museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens – maximum occupancy 50%
- Mini golf, rackets, outdoor go-kart competition – maximum occupancy 50%
- Outdoor leisure activities (each requires a face mask, except for swimming and distance):
- Beaches, trails and parks remain open; it is forbidden to hold gatherings in these places with members outside his household.
- Golf courses, tennis courts, pickling, archery, skating parks, bike parks and community gardens remain open to individuals or members of a single household. Pools serving multiple households may only be open for controlled cruises, with one person per lane.
- Introductory films / events / car parades are allowed, provided that the occupants of each car are members of a household.
- All schools and day camps will remain open with the reopening of protocols. K-12 schools and day care camps with an outbreak (3 or more cases for 14 days) must be closed for 14 days.
- Closed insignificant businesses / activities:
- Playgrounds (excluding childcare and school playgrounds)
- Card rooms
Regardless of whether a particular activity was allowed, the public health department urged everyone to stay home as much as possible and avoid anyone from other households, whether or not they were ill.
“These targeted measures will be in place for the next three weeks and will still allow for many basic and non-core activities where residents will always be covered and demarcated,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health. “We know we’re asking a lot of so many people who have been sacrificing for months, and we hope LA County residents will continue to follow the public health safety measures we know can slow the spread.”
LA County also reported an extremely high number of new coronavirus infections today.
Officials said there were 4,544 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising the five-day average to 4,751. According to local officials, the spread of the virus has accelerated faster recently than at any point in the pandemic.
On Wednesday, it was estimated that the current rate of spread could cause bed shortages in hospitals over the next two to four weeks.
As of Friday, 1893 people were staying at COVID-19 Hospital in LA County. That jumped to the skies from 747 a month ago.
On Wednesday, officials also said the model used to approximate the current state of the epidemic suggests that one in every 145 people in LA County is likely to be COVID-19 infectious – meaning they are currently able to spread the disease.
“Acting with collective urgency is essential if we are to stop this wave,” Ferrer said. “Please stay home as many times as possible and do not gather with others who do not live in your household for the next three weeks.”
To date, 387,793 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in LA County and 7,604 people have died from the disease.
California’s daily case numbers have also broken records in recent days. Nationwide hospital care has increased by more than 80% in the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, public health officials are preparing for a wave of cases that could follow rallies at Thanksgiving. Officials say it usually takes two to three weeks for such serious cases to appear, but about 12% of those infected can be hospitalized.
If the infections cannot be controlled, other options for civil servants are even more difficult and are unlikely to be used in the United States, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
China, for example, has tested millions of people and carried out quarantines. Italy introduced the military to carry out the shutdown.
“It’s hard to imagine how far you can go in a society like ours,” he said. “It’s a balancing act, isn’t it?” You want people to obey that, but you don’t want to make me so draconian that people are constantly trying to figure out the circumstances.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.