LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Starting Friday, Los Angeles County will tighten its pandemic safeguards and restrictions in an effort to stem the recent surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The new restrictions require non-essential businesses allowed to operate indoors to limit their occupancy to 25% of capacity; businesses operating outdoors to limit occupancy to 50% of max capacity; and personal care services to be provided by appointment only with all parties involved wearing face coverings during the entire appointment — meaning no facials or shaving.
In addition, restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
“After 10 p.m. is when we make a lot of our money,” Chauncy, a host at Patrick Molloys in Hermosa Beach, said. “Usually on the weekend, especially when we’re opened on the weekends until 1 a.m., cutting off our most busy time is going to be hard for every part of this.”
The county also changed its outdoor gathering guidance to state that no more than 15 people — who live in three households or fewer — could attend. Per previous guidance, gatherings must be two hours or less, and those involved should still practice social distancing and wear face coverings. Indoor gatherings are not permitted.
“We are so grateful that many of our residents are wearing face coverings, keeping physically distanced and avoiding gathering with people they don’t live with, but we need everyone to do their part and follow these measures,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said. “Lives and livelihoods are at stake and our entire community will be affected by our collective action if we do the right thing.”
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the number of daily new COVID-19 cases has doubled since the beginning of the month and hospitalizations have increased from an average of about 900 to well over 1,000 per day in the same time period.
Health officials also reported that the county’s current five-day rolling average of daily new cases was 2,884 and there were 1,126 people with COVID-19 hospitalized.
If that average increases to 4,000 or more — or hospitalizations reach more than 1,750 per day — additional restrictions would be put into place prompting restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars to go back to takeout service only.
If that average hits 4,500 or more — or daily hospitalizations are more than 2,000 — a Safer at Home Order would be instituted for three weeks, allowing only essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes with a curfew in place from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
There are still questions in place about how the county will enforce the new rules, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it has not yet been approached to offer assistance.