Los Angeles won’t be returning to anything near normal anytime soon, according to the city’s health officials. They’ve extended shutdown orders through at least July on the guidance of L.A.’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer.
“We are being guided by science and data that will safely move us forward along the road to recovery in a measured way—one that allows us to ensure that effective distancing and infection control measures are in place,” Ferrer told the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
While the state of California and its governor, Gavin Newsom, has relaxed stay at home orders in less populous regions of the state with less COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County’s cases continue to grow.
According to Forbes, out of 240,000 California residents that have been tested, 32,000 have tested positive. Los Angeles has made up over half of those cases and over 2700 people have died. On a positive note, Los Angeles does have a testing system that allows anyone to be tested for free whether they have symptoms or not.
As the state reopens, and despite the stay-at-home order, L.A. has allowed certain businesses to reopen including florists, bookstores, and clothing stores the L.A. Times reports. Though the stores are expected to abide by public health guidelines, including requiring social distancing, curbside delivery, and masks many have not heeded them.
“As a reminder, retail establishments are closed to public entry and must ensure compliance with all protocols before reopening. Inspectors will continue to monitor for compliance and ensure that all adhere to the health officer order,” the county said in a statement.
L.A. is also allowing hiking trails, golf courses, and parks to reopen. Beaches opened today for recreational purposes only and those are restricted to walking, swimming, or running. No beach volleyball, no biking, sitting or sunbathing, says the L.A. Times. Parking lots and boardwalks will remain closed and beachgoers should be prepared to wear masks.
The stay-at-home orders will remain in place but the easing of restrictions will hopefully help L.A.’s economic recovery, which has been in freefall since the pandemic forced shutdowns. The Hollywood film industry has been at a standstill with uncertainty as to when TV and film production can resume.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti echoed the caution of his health officials while trying to weight that against calls to reopen businesses. There is a national movement to reopen states, even those like New York and California that have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
“We’re not moving past COVID-19, we’re learning to live with it — and we will keep taking measured steps toward a new, safer reality in the days and weeks ahead,” Garcetti said in a statement.
This is despite testimony to this week to a Senate committee by infectious disease specialist and Trump advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who warned that the end of lockdown could mean ‘needless death and suffering” and an outbreak of new cases that couldn’t be mitigated said multiple reports. He was joined in that bleak outlook by Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, who also testified.
“It’s safer to stay at home,” Ferrer also said this week. “COVID-19 has not changed.”
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