Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county plans to release its own operating guidelines for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, outdoor live events and theme park reopenings as the county anticipates moving into the less-restrictive “red” tier of California’s reopening blueprint.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the loosening of state restrictions earlier Wednesday. But local health officials have the authority to be more restrictive than the state. L.A. health officials have in the past exercised that option. At restaurants, for instance, L.A. officials prohibited TV screens outdoors even though state guidelines permitted it. Ferrer says there’s no definitive answer yet on whether indoor dining will be allowed, despite it being a permitted activity in the “red” tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
“We’re looking at what is happening across the state. We’ll have a definitive answer about that tomorrow,” she said.
Whatever the case, said Ferrer, “I am going to ask everyone to take a look [at the new rules] tomorrow and be compliant.”
“The state does have a slide back into purple strategy,” she reminded. “The only exception is schools.”
Newsom said earlier that the state on Friday will meet its threshold of administering 2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in low-income, hard-hit communities. That will trigger a change in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy advancing Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties into the “red” tier of that matrix. That red tier provides a path for more businesses to reopen. L.A. has been in the most restrictive tier of the governor’s Blueprint since August.
Ferrer said Wednesday that she belived the county had 48 hours after the state announces the vaccination threshold is met to officially move into the red tier. If the goal is met by Friday, as Newsom announced, the county would advance by Sunday.
On Tuesday, however, two members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors said they support fully aligning with state guidelines ASAP.
State officials recently announced theme parks would be allowed to reopen on April 1 at 15% of capacity, with in-state visitors only. That timeline is now moved up by about two weeks. Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced on Tuesday that Disneyland would reopen in “late April.”
Under state guidelines, movie theaters will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
Outdoor live events like sports and concerts are allowed to reopen at 20% capacity. That includes suites at 25% occupancy per suite and no more than three households gathered in each suite.
It remains to be seen how closely local health guidelines adhere to those benchmarks.
Newsom sounded confident during a Wednesday visit to a mobile vaccination clinic in South Gate.
“Southern California, you will be a beneficiary of this,” he said.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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