LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County’s “safer-at-home” order has been extended until May 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced Friday, while all members of the public are now required to wear a face covering when entering an essential business.
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L.A. County Public Heath Director Barbara Ferrer said the order, which was set to expire on April 19, was extended because the virus continues to spread rapidly.
Non-essential businesses must remain closed during this time, along with county-owned beaches, trails, playgrounds and parks.
“I know that many of you were hoping we’d get to the end of April and be able to lift many of these restrictions,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer noted that the social distancing guidelines are working to flatten the curve, but not enough to lift the order.
“We have in fact seen what we now can confirm is in fact the flattening of the curve, in a way that’s actually saving lives,” she said.
“But because there is so many people that are infected in L.A. County, and because there is still so much spread, we have to continue to keep ourselves physically apart from each other during the next few weeks,” she added.
Health officials reported Friday that there were 475 new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County and 18 deaths. There are now a total of 8,430 cases and 241 deaths.READ MORE: Kings Lose To Flames 3-2, Markstrom Makes 40 Saves
The mortality rate has ticked up again to 2.9 percent, up from 2.8 percent Thursday.
Over 40,600 people in L.A. County have been tested.
Officials also unveiled the long-awaited model showing how the steps taken have impacted the virus’ spread.
That model showed that if physical distancing efforts were to be reduced to pre-stay-at-home order levels, nearly 96 percent of Los Angeles County residents will have been exposed or infected with COVID-19 by Aug. 1.
If the county maintains its current level of restriction, that number drops to 30 percent.
“It’s a huge decline,” L.A. County Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said.
And, if restrictions are increased, the number of infected drops to just shy of 6 percent.
Ferrer Friday said that cloth face coverings will now be required for all customers who enter an essential business anywhere in the county. The city of L.A. had already implemented a similar measure which took effect Friday.
“From here on in, when you go into a business or a site that provides essential services, you too need to put on your cloth face covering so that you provide some protection to all of those who are inside a place of business, or providing you with a service.”MORE NEWS: Statements From Los Angeles Community College District and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
By April 15 at midnight, all businesses will also be required to provide all their employees with cloth face coverings, which those employees will be required to wear.