In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, Los Angeles County announced tight restrictions on Tuesday, requiring restaurants, wineries, breweries and non-essential retail businesses to close at 10 p.m., while also limiting their capacity and the capacity of indoor retail stores.
While a complete lockdown has not yet taken place, county officials have warned that if the numbers of cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, the overall “safer at home” restrictions will return and a county-wide curfew will be imposed from 10pm until 6am.
For now, the restrictions that will take effect on Friday are:
– “Non-essential” internal business such as retail stores, offices and personal care services will be limited to an occupancy rate of 25%;
– Outdoor service in restaurants, wineries and breweries will be limited to 50% of the maximum outdoor capacity;
– Outdoor card games, mini golf sites, race car tracks and punching cages will be limited to 50% of the maximum outdoor capacity;
– Clients in personal care companies must make advance appointments, and no services can be provided that require customers to remove face masks;
Restaurants, wineries, breweries and non-essential retail outlets should be closed between 10 PM and 6 AM; And the
Outdoor gatherings should be limited to 15 people, with a maximum of three families
The county previously issued guidelines restricting gatherings to three families, but there was no numerical limit for attendance.
The changes come amid an increase in COVID-19 that saw the number of daily cases exceed 2,000 last week, before exceeding 3,000 on Saturday and Sunday.
The province has also seen a steady increase in hospitalizations. The number of Los Angeles County residents hospitalized due to the virus exceeded 1,000 on Sunday for the first time in months, jumping from 966 on Saturday to 1,014, then rising to 1,049 on Monday and 1,126 on Tuesday.
All other major metrics for the county are on the rise. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Monday that the average daily rate of new cases in the county per 100,000 residents was 13.7, double the rate of 7.6 a week ago. The average daily rate of seven-day positive virus tests in the province was 5.3% on Monday, up from 3.8% just a week ago.
As of Tuesday, the five-day average daily new cases in the county were 2,884, while there were 1,126 people in hospital. According to the province, if the average of five-day new cases reaches 4,000, or the number of hospitalizations is higher than 1,750, outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries and wineries will end, with businesses limited to pick-up and drop-off service only.
If the average case for five days reaches 4,500 or more, or if hospitalizations exceed 2,000 per day, the county will re-enforce its original “safer at home” order for three weeks, allowing only essential workers to leave their homes, or residents who They are looking for service necessities. The county will at that point also issue a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., with only essential workers exempt.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement: “Los Angeles County is at a critical moment to save lives and limit the spread of COVID-19. I urge our residents, businesses and community leaders to heed this warning and pursue these strict safeguards so that additional restrictions are not required.
“We are very grateful that many of our residents wear face coverings, physically distance themselves and avoid meeting with people they do not live with, but we need everyone to do their part and follow these procedures,” she said. “Life and livelihoods are at risk and our entire community will be affected by our collective action if we do the right thing.”
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The county reported 2,301 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while health officials in Long Beach added 157, and Pasadena reported 61 cases. The new cases brought the county’s cumulative total to 344,741 since the start of the epidemic.
The province also reported 25 more deaths linked to the coronavirus on Tuesday, while Pasadena County reported one death, bringing the countywide death toll to 7,300.
Health officials have directly pointed to population gatherings – whether in public or private spaces – to drive the recent increase, which primarily included the younger population under the age of 50.
Ferrer said Monday that residents between the ages of 18 and 29 consistently accounted for a greater proportion of new cases over the past two months, widening the gap significantly above all other age groups. She said that while young people are infected more often, the older population suffers the consequences in terms of hospitalization, which means that young people are infected and transmitting the virus to the older population who is more likely to develop severe disease.
Ferrer said: “This is very unfortunate and it is a stark reminder that young people are spreading the virus with disastrous consequences for our elderly.”
Ferrer said she still hopes that if residents return to strict adherence to protocols such as avoiding gatherings, wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday, more stringent restrictions can be avoided.
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County Superintendent Mark Ridley Thomas said in a statement on Tuesday that he shared the disappointment over the increasing restrictions “especially as Thanksgiving approaches”.
“Unfortunately, as COVID-19 continues to threaten the health of our loved ones and our community, precautions are essential,” he said. “We can and must do better to protect ourselves and those around us. We are all in this together, and I urge you to continue to bear and not lose hope.”