On Friday, Los Angeles County officially extended coronavirus stay-at-home and essential business measures for another month, moving the end date from April 19th to May 15th.
LA County under lockdown until May 15th
LA County health officials warned at a press conference on Friday that if county COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown measures were lifted too soon, up to 96.5% of the county could be infected with the coronavirus.
“We still have a ways to go,” said LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
The county lockdown has been in effect since March 19th and has since added some of the strictest measures in the state, such as mandatory face masks in public in the city of Los Angeles.
However, officials have also noted that the number of new coronavirus cases have been flattening both in LA and in California, enforcing the fact that many residents have been compliant with orders
“Because everyone here is doing their part, because people are heeding the directives. What we can confirm is in fact the flattening of the curve in a way that’s actually saving lives and allowing us to have a chance at making sure that our healthcare system remains able to serve all who need care,” continued Dr. Ferrer.
In addition to the ended end date, LA County also announced that all essential businesses must provide face masks for employees and that everyone going into an essential business will need to wear a face mask or covering throughout the county. All additional measures are set to begin April 15th.
“Everyday we do get closer to being on the other side of this,” added Dr. Ferrer.
The new May 15th extension has generally fallen in line with similar extensions and projections by the state. The California legislature recently extended their hiatus until May 4th, while Governor Newsom has warned that the statewide lockdown may continue into June.
Other counties weighing extended lockdowns following LA County’s decision
While other counties have also extended their lockdowns, with 6 Bay Area counties moving their end date from April 7th to May 3rd last week, LA County now has the longest county order in the state, with many bordering counties dependent on LA County business now facing a similar dilemma.
“It’s not that these counties want to, but if LA is now closed until the middle of May, other counties might now follow suit,” noted LA County exporter Daniel Tay. “San Diego, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Santa Barbara are only a few hours away. While gas stations and other businesses remain open, it may not bode well for periphery businesses to stay closed. Not to mention the spread of the virus. If LA County still has a long recovery timeline, neighboring counties will too.”
“If no one from LA County can get out, neighboring counties will suffer.”
“And LA County can influence others too. If the county with the latest date is a big one, others won’t want to risk it. The lockdown keeps spread at bay, and if a later date is working for LA, all other struggling areas will do the same since it works.”
“But we’ll see what happens. Mostly rural and partially urban counties like San Bernadino have big decisions. They already have mandatory masks – what will they do to have an extended lockdown with such a wide divide in populace? You have big cities that are affected more, but also many small towns that generally avoid it. A lot of hard calls coming up soon.”
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