A day after Governor Gavin Newsom announced more statewide restrictions and counties moving to higher reopening tiers, the Los Angeles County Department of Health announced that more restrictions , as well as a business curfew, would be placed in the county.
Among the new restrictions expected to begin Friday is a limitation of up to 15 people from three households being able to gather in one place. Currently, while there is still a restriction of three households, there was no firm limit on the total number of people.
Businesses in Los Angeles County will also be severely affected, with all restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail places having to close no later than 10 P.M. and open no earlier than 6 A.M.
Restaurants will also see even more restrictions, with outdoor service capacity being reduced to 50%. Other businesses, like offices and personal care businesses such as nail salons and barber shops, are to limit their capacity to only 25%. Personal care establishments will also have to return to advance appointments only.
Masks at all establishments are also now to be required with no exceptions.
Many business owners in LA County reacted to the news negatively on Tuesday, with many expressing doubt that this help reduce COVID-19 rates, as well as expressing great worry over the financial negatives of this.
“It’s like the County doesn’t even realize that they’re taking away what little business we have left,” said Glendale restaurant owner Sal D’Amico to the Globe. “A lot of use can’t rely on deliveries and pickups. We need people in the seats to keep the lights on. Now that’s cut in half.
“I mean, we’ve been six feet away. We’ve sanitized everything. We’re wearing masks and gloves. What more do they want? What more do we have to do?
“LA County may see this as a precaution, but I see this as going into the red. Plus, suburbs and cities outside of LA are way different and don’t have as many people and can social distance better. Why punish the entire county when it’s really all on Los Angeles the city?”
Other business owners expressed similar frustrations.
“The capacity limitations are just killing us,” said flower shop owner Carlita Hernandez in a Globe interview. “A lot of big days for me, like Mother’s Day, became average. And now, coming into the Christmas season and December, the month where I usually get back into the black, they do this. They reduce my customers again. Walk-ins are a big part of my business, and this just, well, it just kills us.
“Why can’t there be exceptions? A lot of stores already have lines to get in. Those are going to be even longer now, and a lot of those people will likely give up because of the line.
“COVID-19 is important. It’s an important thing to stop. But it seems like they’re asking us to sacrifice our businesses, our livelihoods, to do that. That’s unbelievable.”
LA County officials focus on COVID-19 spread reductions, saving lives over economic woes
LA County officials have maintained that all of this has been for health reasons due to COVID-19 spreading exponentially nationwide during the last few weeks.
“It is clear that L.A. County is at a very dangerous point in the pandemic,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Tuesday about the restrictions.
LA County has been experiencing the highest number of positive cases since July, with nearly 7,000 new cases being reported during the weekend. LA County, as of Tuesday, now has more than 340,000 reported COVID-19 cases and 7,275 reported deaths from the virus since the pandemic first hit in March. The number of total county residents hospitalized also pushed above 1,000 for the first time since the summer.
Ferrer has said that younger residents in the 18-29 age group have, in addition to getting higher infection rates in the last several months, been the major age group of carriers to older and more vulnerable groups.
“This is most unfortunate and it serves as a stark reminder that young people are spreading the virus with disastrous results for our elderly,” added Ferrer.
The new County restrictions are to begin on Friday, with no end date begin given.