UPDATED with transcript of County health director’s comments: Los Angeles County has issued new orders to help stem the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
At a late afternoon briefing Thursday, officials announced the “Safer at Home” public order as a way to increase social distancing in the county. The order mandates the closure of all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and non-essential retail businesses, and prohibits gathering in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people.
Read a transcript L.A. County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer’s comment that lists all of the new restrictions below.
“We know this will have an impact on the social fabric of our communities. We still encourage individuals to stay connected to their community and their loved ones in creative ways, and to spend much-needed time outdoors,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said at the briefing. “We won’t have to maintain these restrictions forever, and they will have an invaluable long-term impact.”
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Los Angeles which requires all residents to stay inside their homes and immediately limit all nonessential movement.
“The only people who should be leaving home and going out are those whose jobs are critical to the safety, the health and security of the city,” added Garcetti.
Earlier Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Congress for $1 billion in federal funds to support the state’s medical response to the coronavirus pandemic. The state projects that 25.5 million people in California, more than half of the state’s population, will be infected with the virus over the next eight weeks. In a letter to President Trump, Newsom also requested the deployment of the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1.
In a separate letter to U.S. Senate and House leaders, Newsom said the financial aid is critical to the state’s ability to procure ventilators and other medical supplies, activate state-run hospitals, deploy mobile hospitals and meet other healthcare needs.
A man between the ages of 30 and 50 with an underlying medical condition became the second person to die from the coronavirus in the county, officials announced earlier Thursday, and the total number of confirmed cases rose by 40 overnight to 230.
Throughout the state, there are 958 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 19 deaths.
Eight counties in the San Francisco Bay area are under shelter-in-place orders, along with San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Fresno and Yolo counties.
Here are Dr. Ferrer’s comments from this afternoon’s news conference:
All public and private of 10 or more people are prohibited anywhere in L.A. County. If you have a smaller gathering of two to nine people, you can only have that if you can guarantee that there’s social distancing of at least six feet apart from everybody in that smaller group, and you must enforce access to either hand-washing facilities or hand sanitizer at any group gathering that has less than 10 people.
You have to post signs in conspicuous spaces that instruct anybody attending any place of business that’s essential that if they’re experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness, they must not enter the space.
This order also requires the closure of indoor shopping centers. All non-essential retail businesses must also close. Outdoor malls also must strictly enforce the social distancing requirements if they are to remain open, and again, it’s only for essential stores and retail services. All non-essential retail services everywhere are asked to close.
Indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children, except for those that are within a child-care center or school, are also closed. And we ask that everybody adhere to all of the original guidance’s – orders – that we issued last week. That includes that bars remain closed, gyms remain closed, entertainment centers remain closed, theaters remain closed, all large-event venues remain closed. Food establishments are only open for pickup, delivery or drive-through.
What’s not included … are the essential services that make it possible for all of us to live every day. So grocery stores are not included, supermarkets are not included, food banks are not included, outdoor farmer markets are not included. Schools and child-care centers are not included. Businesses that provide food, shelter, social service and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged people may remain open. Gas stations, banks and financial institutions may remain open. Hardware stores also may remain open. Plumbers, electricians – all of the sort of folks who make it possible for our infrastructures to keep running – their businesses remain open. Health care operators and all health care facilities remain open. Transportation services remain open, as do residential facilities that house our most vulnerable.
However, for everybody that I just listed, that I noted you may remain open, you must retain social distancing requirements in you place of business and your places of service. It isn’t open as business as usual, it’s open by taking an abundance of caution and remembering that everything we do we have to look at through the lens of keeping our distance of six feet apart from each other as much as possible.
Health care workers and those providing direct services are afforded the opportunity to use personal protective equipment that allows them to do their jobs really well, which require close personal contact. But for the rest of us, we need to practice our social distancing as we note that we may be essential workers.
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