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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti Issues ‘Safer at Home’ Restrictions Over Coronavirus Fears

‘This will be the normal for the next month’

By Evan Symon, March 20, 2020 4:31 pm

While police or the national guard will not be used to enforce the order, Mayor Garcetti said that citizens would be ‘self enforcing’ the order.


On Friday, new COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions were put into place in Los Angeles that calls for all non-essential businesses to close for a month and for residents to remain home except for essential needs such as food, gas, and medicine.

An empty Santa Monica Pier at 2 PM PST on Friday March 20th. (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had called a press conference late Thursday outlining his “safer at home” order. While police or the national guard will not be used to enforce the order, Mayor Garcetti said that citizens would be “self enforcing” the order, which will remain in effect until April 19th. The order also included a 24-hour exemption until Friday to “allow employees and business owners to access to their workplaces to gather belongings, so long as social distancing requirements are followed.” Gatherings of people were also restricted to people inside a single home.

“Today is a day that will be seared into the story and the streets of this city,” stated Garcetti at a press conference Thursday night. “It will be a moment where everything changed.”

“We’re really going to be reminding people, trying to supplement that on the streets,” added Mayor Garcetti. “But this is not one where people are going to be marched into jails. There are never going to be enough county or city workers to quote unquote enforce this. This is on 10 million people to self-enforce.”

“This is all about increasing social distancing. There are too many people who are in work situations, retail situations where they are coming into contact and the public health direction is this is where the spread can continue to be. The only time you should leave your home is for essential activities and needs.”

Empty Downtown Los Angeles streets on March 20th. (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

While the order does make note of how it’s an enforceable order, it does include enough exceptions to have some normalcy remain.

“You can still social distance outside the city in parks and places,” noted emergency consultant Greg Crosby. “You still have to stay at home and only go out for food and things, but going to a park for a day while practicing safe social distancing measures should be fine. National Park fees have actually been waived to encourage this. If anything you can still go out and walk.”

“Plus there are many jobs still going on from a non-remote point. emergency workers obviously, but banks, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants to a take-out capacity, delivery companies, and more are still open, albeit with gloves, sanitizers, and facemasks. Los Angeles made it very clear that non-essentially businesses that don’t comply will be cracked down on, but these are fine.”

On Friday, traffic was very light throughout Los Angeles, including on the usually packed Interstate 5 and on normally crowded city streets.

“This will be the normal for the next month,” added Crosby. “But everyone is very optimistic that we’ll get through this.”

Evan Symon
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