LOS ANGELES – Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Wednesday the first step of gradually releasing the Safer at Home orders in Los Angeles County; she said some “non-essential” retail businesses will be allowed to reopen Friday, May 8.
Businesses that will be allowed to reopen beginning Friday include florists, car dealers, toy stores, book stores, clothing retailers, sporting-goods stores and music shops.
“The health order will only allow curbside pickup for retail, and in-store shopping will still be on hold for the time being,” Barger said.
Car dealership showrooms will be allowed to reopen, but with strict physical-distancing and infection-control requirements. County trails will also reopen, but people using them will have to wear face coverings and adhere to physical distancing requirements.
“We will have county staff that will be deployed to prevent crowding on our trails,” Barger said.
Golf courses will also be allowed to open, but pro shops will remain closed, and golf course restaurants will be restricted to carry-out only.
“These are all in alignment with the governor’s orders,” Barger said. “Los Angeles County cannot be more lenient on which stores can reopen than the state dictates. This list is less about what products are sold and more about the ability to maintain social distancing.”
Specific reopening guidelines for various business sectors are expected to be posted on the county’s website before Friday so that business owners can make proper arrangements, but in general, they require measures to protect employees and customers.
“As a reminder, all of the businesses that will be reopening will open in a much-modified way that allows for optimum physical distancing and infection-control practices,” said county public health director Barbara Ferrer.
Ferrer also warned that although businesses are reopening, it does not mean residents should let up on safety measures.
“It’s incumbent on every one of us to protect each other by adhering to the distancing requirements, use our face coverings when we’re around others, wash our hands frequently, isolate ourselves when we’re sick and quarantine when it’s appropriate,” Ferrer said. “Employers are also asked to do their part and please not open before all the requirements for safety are able to be met.”
Ferrer outlined a series of stages in which businesses will be permitted to reopen in the future, noting that facilities such as museums, cultural centers and galleries are among those expected to be allowed to open soon.
The next stage will involve higher-risk businesses such as massage companies, tattoo shops and movie theaters, followed later by the highest-risk venues, such as concert halls, convention centers and sports arenas. No time frame was given on when such businesses would be cleared to reopen.
Ferrer said health officials will be closely monitoring a number of indicators after businesses reopen to ensure public safety, such as increases in case numbers and deaths, particularly among vulnerable populations; the continued availability of testing and contact tracing; and availability of hospital beds to handle a surge in cases if one occurs, along with adequate supplies of personal protective equipment for health care workers.
“Protecting the people who are most vulnerable is going to be a very important part throughout all of our reopening process,” Ferrer said. “I want to thank everyone for continuing to work together during this challenging time, and I want to remind us all that we need to be each other’s helpers to ensure we’re able to safely open our community’s businesses.”
County officials noted that the opening of select retail businesses does not include authorization for shopping malls to reopen.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that the state will also be relaxing its stay-at-home order at the end of the week, allowing lower-risk retail businesses to reopen with limited operations, primarily restricted to curbside pickup.