LOS ANGELES – Indoor shopping malls in Los Angeles County will be permitted to reopen on Wednesday at 25% of capacity, the latest economic sector permitted to reopen under gradually loosening coronavirus restrictions.
Nail salons in the county were permitted to reopen for indoor operations beginning last Thursday, also at 25% of capacity, with health officials urging salons to continue offering outdoor services as much as possible.
Outdoor playgrounds were also cleared to reopen across the county, at the discretion of individual cities. Everyone over age 2 must wear a face covering at playgrounds, and adult supervision is required.
Health officials said they are still working with county attorneys to finalize plans for the resumption of outdoor beverage service — with food sold by third-party providers — at breweries and wineries. That process is expected to be “completed in a week,” according to the county.
Some county officials expressed concern that permitting breweries to reopen with an outside food vendor would lead to a backlash from bar owners, who are still prohibited from operating.
County public health director Barbara Ferrer on Monday again stressed the need for all of the reopening businesses to adhere to all of the health protocols, and for customers to do the same. She noted that some previous business reopenings — most notably indoor restaurant dining — had to be rolled back due to a sudden increase in virus cases.
“I use the phrase cautious reopening often when I talk about our approach to recovery here in L.A. County,” Ferrer said. “As we learned in July, closings and reopenings have a very direct impact on the transmission of virus in our community. … The spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that we saw in July came after Memorial Day, July Fourth and also after a number of reopenings, all in very quick succession.”
Ferrer said case numbers dropped again after business sectors were closed again.
“Compliance on everyone’s part is so important in reopening sectors and continuing to keep them open,” Ferrer said. “None of us wants to move backward in our recovery.”
The county Department of Public Health on Monday reported another seven coronavirus-related deaths, llifting the countywide total since the onset of the pandemic to 6,654. The county also announced 472 new cases, raising the cumulative total to 274,942.
Since the start of the pandemic, health officials have confirmed 4,297 coronavirus cases and 76 deaths in Palmdale; 3,590 cases and 58 deaths in Lancaster; 184 cases and 11 deaths in Quartz Hill; 241 cases and four deaths in Lake Los Angeles; 193 cases and one death in the Littlerock/Pearblossom, Juniper Hills areas; and 167 cases and two deaths in Sun Village. View the latest detailed report here.
Case numbers are traditionally lower early in the week due to reporting lags from weekend testing.
Hospitalizations in the county related to the coronavirus were at 674 as of Monday, up one from Sunday.
Speaking during an online media briefing Monday afternoon, Ferrer offered her best wishes to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump – – along with others in the administration — who have recently tested positive for the virus. But she also stressed the need for people who are infected with the virus or are exposed to follow the rules for isolating and quarantining — even if national leaders appear to be violating those mandates.
“Everybody is sort of wondering, ‘Aren’t these people supposed to be quarantining?’ or ‘Why aren’t they isolating?”‘ Ferrer said. “We want to be clear. Here in L.A. County, we have really benefited from everyone doing their part around isolating and quarantining. … Even if you’re seeing other people that don’t seem to be really quarantining and isolating not only as we tell people it’s important to do, but also as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does, that doesn’t mean it’s OK not to do that.
“I mean, again, we’ve just had a really good example of how testing every day does not protect everybody.”
Ferrer said anyone infected with the coronavirus needs to isolate for at least 10 days, and remain quarantined until symptoms subside and the patient is fever-free for at least 24 hours. Trump, who was diagnosed last week, raised eyebrows when he was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend and was driven past onlookers outside the hospital.
“Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 should know that they’re able to infect others for up to 10 days after being diagnosed, even if the person never had any symptoms or their symptoms have subsided,” Ferrer said.