LOS ANGELES – Businesses including gyms, museums, zoos, film studios and spectator-free sports arenas will be allowed to open in Los Angeles County beginning Friday, even as health officials warned again Wednesday that the spread of COVID-19 is increasing in the county.
The county’s medical services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, said Los Angeles County still has adequate capacity in local hospitals to handle an increase in coronavirus cases, but the county may run out of intensive-care unit beds in the next two to four weeks if the increase isn’t reversed.
Despite the warnings, county officials said they are confident enough to move forward with a new health order that will be formally enacted Thursday, June 11, but will take effect Friday, June 12. The order will allow a new array of business sectors to reopen, including:
— gyms and fitness centers;
— professional sports venues without live audiences;
— day camps;
— museums and galleries;
— zoos and aquariums;
— campgrounds and RV parks;
— outdoor recreation such as swimming pools;
— music, film and television production; and
— hotels for leisure travel.
“As with all businesses that are permitted to reopen, the health officer order contains protocols for reopening to ensure that it’s done as safely as possible for employees, customers, and residents,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
Those protocols will include mandatory face coverings and physical distancing wherever possible.
Ferrer stressed that the reopening of more business sectors should not be seen as an indication the county is out of the woods in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, noting, “We’re still in the middle of the woods and we have a lot of risk.”
Ferrer said it will remain important for residents to adhere to the health restrictions when visiting any reopened business, and for the businesses themselves to enforce them.
“If sectors don’t adhere to the protocols, there’s a lot of risk,” Ferrer said. “That’s why we issue protocols. Those are directives. We ask everybody to take those very seriously. It is the one way for us to reopen, adding as much safety as possible. The more safety we can add, the less the risk is for any place of business or activity that people are engaging in. But it does depend a lot on everybody doing their part. Businesses need to do their part. Employees need to help each other, residents for sure need to do their part and customers need to do their part.
“We feel fairly confident that we’re in a community where we’ve seen high levels of cooperation that got us here and we’re counting on those very same high levels of cooperation to allow us to continue to make progress on the recovery journey,” Ferrer added.