LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The target date for a reopening of Los Angeles County stores, restaurants and other retail outlets has been set for July 4, officials said Tuesday.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger made the announcement during a meeting of the county’s Economic Resiliency Task Force, which “expressed a goal for the safe reopening of Los Angeles County as early as July 4.”

The July 4 date indicates a goal of the full or staged reopening of retail, restaurants, and malls.

“The economic and sociological impacts created by the COVID-19 shutdown have hurt our vulnerable populations the most,” Barger said. “The County, in partnership with our Task Force members and key stakeholders, is prepared to move forward with recommendations that ensure the safety and well-being of employees and customers while safeguarding public health.”

According to Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) president Bill Allen, there have been more than 1 million unemployment claims filed in L.A. County to date. More than 75% of the projected job losses have an average annual earning of less than $50,000, with restaurants and retail industries hit the hardest.

Task force leaders agreed that prolonged closures will continue to deteriorate the ability of most small businesses to reopen and will cause permanent loss of jobs and wages for millions countywide, Barger said.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, county public health director Barbara Ferrer announced 76 more deaths linked to COVID-19, raising the county’s total to 1,913 deaths.

Ferrer said as more employees return to work and businesses reopen, those who can continue to work remotely are encouraged to do so.

Employers are being asked to symptom checks on employees upon arriving at work and allow frequent break periods to wash their hands.

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