Only days after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set some of the harshest COVID-19 coronavirus ‘stay at home’ restrictions in the state, Los Angeles County announced late Sunday that more restrictions would now be put into place for the entire county.
As of Monday, all private and public gatherings of any size are now prohibited, with obvious exceptions being families and shared residencies. All businesses that haven’t been deemed essential are also closed.
Restaurants in the county also received an unusual variation of restaurants only being allowed takeout services. Alcoholic drinks are now allowed be delivered or received at takeout, marking a rare exception where laws are expanded under coronavirus quarantine.
Two cities were exempted from the order: Pasadena and Long Beach. Both cities have their own health departments and therefore can set their own standards into play.
The failure of any kind of slowdown in coronavirus rate, now numbering over 400 cases with 5 deaths in LA County, has been cited as a huge factor in the county’s decision. The county’s Twitter page noted with the announcement that staying home would lead to much less risk of the virus being spread. But other factors could be at hand as well.
“A lot of people went to parks and beaches this weekend,” said former California health liaison Hailey Woods. “This was almost as bad as house congregation. Now, this was across the state, but LA County in particular knew how many people were flocking to these places. A lot of people thought they were isolated, but a lot of people thought the same thing.”
“So now there were hundreds or thousands of people in these areas. They may not have been touching each other or they were wearing facemasks, but the damage is still there. They’re touching the same sand, using the same facilities, leaning on the same rocks, you get the picture. It’s a lot of spread.”
The County had followed Mayor Garcetti’s response, who had promptly closed down many park services and shut down all beach parking in response to the high number of people congregating in public parks and beaches.
“This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” stated Mayor Garcetti in a tweet. “So we are closing sports and recreation at LA city parks and closing parking at city beaches. That doesn’t mean gather elsewhere. This is serious. Stay home and save lives.”
Currently the county order still allows grocery stores, healthcare places, banks, gas stations, and other similar essential places to stay open. The updated ban is also currently enacted, much like state and city restrictions, until at least mid-to-late April.