By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Taking another step back in the path to reopening, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a temporary order requiring additional safety measures that took effect Monday, November 30, and extend through December 20.
“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,” Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared in a statement released Friday, November 27. “These targeted measures are in effect for the next three weeks, and still allow for many essential and non-essential activities where residents are always masked and distanced.”
Los Angeles County established thresholds on November 17 for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day.
Public Health is requesting that individuals remain in their homes and with their immediate households as much as possible, as well as reduce time spent with others outside of the household.
When it comes to gatherings, “all public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.”
Other restrictions include occupancy limits at various businesses, including 35% at essential retail, 20% at non-essential retail, 20% at personal care services and 50% at fitness centers with outdoor operations.
Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens operating outdoors, as well as mini-golf, batting cages and go-kart racing, are all limited to 50% maximum occupancy.
According to the order, beaches, trails and parks remain open, but gathering at these sites with members outside of the household is prohibited.
“Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household,” according to the order. “Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.”
Cardrooms and playgrounds—except those at childcare and schools—are closed under the updated order.
Schools and day camps may remain open adhering to reopening protocols, and K-12 schools and day camps with an outbreak—three cases or more over 14 days—should be closed for 14 days.
These updated restrictions follow last week’s Public Health Order, which stopped in-person dining and drinking at restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries throughout the county beginning Wednesday evening, November 25.
“There are 2,316 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU,” according to information provided by Public Health on Tuesday, December 1. “The daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased nearly every day since November 1 when the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 799.”
As the Post went to print Tuesday, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 had reached 408,396 across the county when factoring in Long Beach and Pasadena, with 7,700 deaths. The number of positive cases reached 235 in Pacific Palisades, with 54 additional cases reported in Palisades Highlands.
“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that LA County residents continue following Public Health safety measures that we know can slow the spread,” Ferrer concluded. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”
Governor Gavin Newsom warned of potential additional statewide orders, but more detailed information was not yet available as the Post went to print.
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