By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As more businesses and recreational amenities begin to reopen across Los Angeles County, health officials Friday again urged residents and business owners to adhere to health and safety protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19.

County public health director Barbara Ferrer said coronavirus cases among “our national leaders” should serve as a warning that the virus is still being actively transmitted.

“Recent cases and concerns about transmission of the virus among our national leaders and their staff members are a reminder to everyone about how important it is to use the tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Ferrer said.

“Wearing a cloth face covering and keeping physical distance when around people you do not live with is a very important action everyone needs to take to protect themselves and other people from transmission.”

Ferrer’s comments came following the Thursday announcement that nail salons could reopen indoors and outdoor card rooms could open Monday. Shopping malls are set to reopen indoors Wednesday.

Both nail salons and indoor shopping malls will be limited to 25% capacity, and mall food courts must remain closed.

Outdoor playgrounds were also given the green light to reopen at the discretion of individual cities, but everyone over age 2 must wear a face covering and adult supervision is required.

Health officials said they are still working with county attorneys to finalize plans for the resumption of outdoor beverage service — with food sold by third-party providers — at breweries and wineries. That process is expected to be “completed in a week,” according to the county.

Beginning Monday, schools can submit waivers to provide in-person instruction for students in pre-kindergarten through second-grade. Waivers will be limited to 30 schools per week, with priority given to campuses in the generally lowest-income areas.

If granted, the waivers will allow the schools to have groups of no more than 12, and no more than two supervising adults in each classroom.

On Friday, The county reported another 21 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,324 new cases.

The numbers brought the county’s totals to 6,626 deaths and 272,659 since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials also reported two more cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, bringing the total to 40.

Ferrer stressed Friday that despite the new business openings, people should continue to avoid public gatherings.

“Gatherings of any kind, even with people you know who have no symptoms, can easily result in transmission of the virus to many people, especially when people are not diligent about wearing face coverings and keeping physical distance,” she said.

“Because of the virus’ long incubation period, even a person who has recently tested negative for the virus could be positive within hours of testing and have the ability to infect other people unknowingly.”

As of Friday, 730 people remained hospitalized, down from 746 on Thursday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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