LOS ANGELES – Stepping up restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, Los Angeles County issued a “Safer At Home” order Thursday, calling on people to remain home as much as possible and for businesses that don’t provide essential goods or services to close. [View the order here.]
While not fully banning outdoor activities, the order prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people. The order allows for health-care, government and food-industry employees to continue going to work, along with workers in other “essential” fields, but others are encouraged to stay home.
The order goes into effect at midnight and will last until at least April 19, and it could be extended if necessary, county health officials said.
“We know that staying home and limiting close contact is the best way to prevent community spread,” County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “We know that social distancing does not mean restriction from going outside and does not mean isolation. We still encourage you to stay connected to your community and loved ones in creative ways and to spend much needed time outdoors. People working in essential functions within the healthcare, government and food industries will still be on the job, but we encourage other employees to stay home.”
For restaurants, the county has the ability to withdraw the establishment’s service permit if they do not comply with the order, but Barger said many large businesses have told her they will comply.
Businesses that are considered “essential” and permitted to remain open under the order include police and fire stations, jails, courts, government services, utilities, gas stations, repair shops, hospitals and health care centers, grocery stores, farmers markets, convenience stores, restaurants, hardware stores, nurseries, plumbers, electricians, laundromats, media outlets and educational institutions.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said if people are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, they cannot enter public spaces.
“We must slow the number of new cases that we have,” Ferrer said, otherwise, there will be a strain on the county’s health care system. “The predictions are not inaccurate to say many, many people could be infected in L.A. County.”