By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An increasing number of storefronts are appearing in small downtown areas across Southern California.

“It’s very difficult to watch. Especially when you know people, like we do, who own these businesses,” said Kristy Ontes, a small business owner.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Los Angeles County have more than doubled in the past month from 747 to 1,893 people, with 24% of them currently in the ICU.

The alarming increase prompted the county public health department to reinstate a version of its Safer-At-Home order that will go into effect starting Monday through at least December 20.

Guidelines issued by the county discourages people from socializing with anyone outside their own households and further restricts capacity at the businesses that remain open.

“I understand why they’re saying that. I just don’t know if it’s proven that that’s gonna help,” Arnold Ontes, a small business owner, said.

Dr. Daisy Dodd, who is an infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente, said these types of precautions will “definitely slow down the transmission of the virus.”

She says the surge in new COVID-19 cases has strained healthcare providers in coronavirus units, emergency rooms and medical offices.

“This virus is not gonna go away,” Dodd said. “We have to do what we have to do to protect ourselves and those around us.”

Dr. Dodd said that while there is optimism due to promising vaccines, therapeutic, and decreasing mortality rates, a lot of new people are still getting infected. So right now, safety precautions still remain the most important tool in the public’s arsenal to stay protected.