Public health officials in Los Angeles County have issued a temporary stay-at-home order for more than ten million residents to take effect on Monday, November 30, and last for three weeks, through December 20.
Authorities announced upcoming restrictions on Friday afternoon after the county recorded 24 new deaths and the five-day average of new cases hit 4,751. They said coronavirus infections “remain at alarming levels,” and hospitals could soon reach their limits.
The health department had established thresholds earlier this month for new rules if the five-day average of cases reached 4,500 or more, or hospitalizations increased to more than 2,000 per day.
“With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our healthcare system,” said L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.
The mandate advises individuals to remain in their homes as much as possible, prohibiting multi-household gatherings except for church services and protests, which the department emphasized “are constitutionally protected rights.” It also reminds the public to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose when outside of their residences and to physically distance.
Public Health to Add Additional Safety Modifications to Health Officer Order – Targeted Safer at Home Order Comes After 5-Day Average of New Cases is 4,751. View https://t.co/CfWbZdkIZH pic.twitter.com/RAZRpJUcxK
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) November 27, 2020
Still, the new guidelines are not nearly as strict as the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in March.
Many businesses are permitted to remain open with distancing requirements and occupancy limits. Retail establishments deemed essential must operate at 35% maximum occupancy, while those categorized as non-essential (including stores at indoor malls) are capped at 20%, along with personal care services and libraries. Outdoor fitness centers will be restricted to 50%.
NEW ORDERS in LA Monday:
1. Only household gatherings, unless church or protests.
2. Retail. 35% occupancy max in store
3. Non essential retail and personal care, 20% occupancy
4. Outdoor fitness centers: 50% occupancy
Do you agree? #JohnAndKen #kfiam640 #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/p9azN4wmpu
— John and Ken (@johnandkenshow) November 28, 2020
According to the news release: “All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.”
Most outdoor recreational activities are allowed but require physical distancing and face coverings (excluding swimming). Beaches, parks, and hiking trails will remain open, but the rules against multi-household gatherings still apply.
Members of a single household may golf together or play tennis, while “go-kart racing operating outdoors” is still permitted, the release specifies.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
The new rules come just two days after restaurants in much of L.A. County were ordered to suspend outdoor dining. The decision sparked a backlash from restaurant owners and some elected officials, who called the rules too restrictive for the already struggling industry. Officials had warned new restrictions were coming.
L.A. County was reporting a seven-day average of nearly 4,300 new coronavirus cases a day as of Wednesday, the third consecutive day that number has hit a new high. Unless something dramatic is done to slow transmission, that number is on track to double within two weeks and quadruple in a month, officials said.
Officials said hospitals could see a shortage of beds – especially in intensive care units – over the next two to four weeks if these trends continue. But hospitals are better equipped now than they were in the spring to handle a surge in cases, treatment for COVID-19 has significantly improved, and hospitals can cancel elective surgeries to make more room.
“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that L.A. County residents continue following Public Health safety measures that we know can slow the spread,” Ferrer said. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”
“Please remain home as much as possible and do not gather with others not in your household for the next three weeks.”
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