LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The strictest health order in California goes into effect for all of Los Angeles County today.
The new order, announced Friday, urges people to stay home as much as possible over the next three weeks, which just happens to be the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays. The order will remain in effect until at least Dec. 20.
Public health officials have been increasingly alarmed at the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. An additional 5,014 new cases in the county were reported Sunday, and another surge is expected from Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.
Starting Monday, all public and private gatherings with anyone outside your household are prohibited, with the exception of church services and protests. Occupancy limits have also been reduced – essential retail is now set at 35% maximum occupancy; while non-essential retail like indoor malls, personal care services and libraries are now required to keep their occupancy at 20%.
The outdoor operations of fitness centers, museum galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor recreational activities like mini-golf, batting cages, and go-kart racing must keep their occupancy at 50%.
Fitness instructor Daniel Villeda has seen attendance for his workouts at Warner Center Park increase amid the pandemic, but with the tightening restrictions, he is trying to make the switch to virtual instruction.
“It’s very limited to what you can do,” Villeda said. “Not everybody likes it.”
Beaches, trails and parks remain open, but gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited. Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household, but playgrounds not associated with a school or daycare center will be closed.
“Makes no sense at all because this is an open area,” Woodland Hills resident Barry Michaels said. “If you’re covering up, you’re doing everything you can…the kids need the exercise.”
Community pools may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane, but contact sports like soccer and basketball will also be prohibited. Schools and day camps will remain open if they adhere to the reopening protocols, but campuses with an outbreak of three cases or more over 14 days should be closed for two weeks.
Drive-in movies, events and car parades are still permitted as long as each car’s occupants are members of the same household.
The new health order does not affect restaurants, wineries and breweries, which were required to close their in-person dining and service under a previous order. They may remain open for pick-up, delivery and takeout at 20% takeout.
The updated guidelines are targeted at places and activities where social distancing is not possible, according to public health officials. A number of protests have been staged decrying the guidelines as too restrictive, but people like Villeda are adjusting as needed to stay as safe as possible.
“Your health is gold. Without your health, there’s nothing,” Villeda said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)