LOS ANGELES - Hoping to help curb the spread of COVID-19 officials in Los Angeles County have announced that restaurants, bars and other non-essential businesses close between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
This order will go into effect Friday, November 20.
“This is not a curfew or lockdown, but a cautionary measure,” LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said during the county’s COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday.
County Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said the changes to the county’s health order are intended to reduce the possibility of overcrowding at restaurants and reduce the possibility of COVID-19 exposure in situations where people aren’t wearing masks, such as when seated at a restaurant.
Even though businesses will be ordered to close at 10 p.m., people can still order pick-up and deliver after that time.
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Starting Nov. 20, non-essential businesses that are permitted to operate indoors, such as retail store, offices and personal care facilities, occupancy will be limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy allowed.
Outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will be limited to 50% of the maximum outdoor capacity. A 50% capacity also applies to cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages.
Dr. Ferrer says personal care establishments will be allowed to operate by appointments only. And all staff and customers must wear face coverings.
She also stated that outdoor gatherings may only include 15 people who are members of no more than three households.
The county on Wednesday reported 3,944 new coronavirus cases and 36 additional deaths, bringing the countywide totals to 388,336 cases and 7,335 deaths.
Public health officials said that both coronavirus cases and positivity rates are increasing in Los Angeles County, which is a sign of increased community transmission, according to Ferrer.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, Los Angeles County's health services director, says that without a rapid change in the upward trajectory of COVID-19 cases, the county is likely to see the highest numbers of hospitalizations of the entire pandemic in the next month, and they could exceed the county's hospital capacity.
Health officials warned that additional restrictions, and even the possibility of another safer-at-home order, are possible if COVID-19 cases and positivity rates continue to surge.
“The resources (at hospitals) are not unlimited,” she said.
“Our actions have consequences. Not wearing a mask has consequences,” explained Dr. Ghaly.
“Wearing a mask works. The mask is the single best method we have against COVID. It is the ticket to getting us back on the path towards reopening.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he was not informed by the board of supervisors of enforcing any health orders.
“If we’re the one enforcing it then we’re not involved in the making of the plan,” the sheriff said.
During an online community briefing Wednesday morning, Villanueva said his department will have a hands-off approach until they get more information.
“There’s a lot of pandemic fatigue going on, a lot of people are concerned they put all this time in separating themselves and social distancing, keeping their family away, using masks and still seeing spikes. Some people are resigning themselves and that fatalist view I don’t want to adopt it and I think we can do better,” Villanueva added."