Los Angeles County warns residents of possible curfew and 3-week stay-at-home order as COVID-19 restrictions tighten

Los Angeles County officials have tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving — and have warned residents that if the spread isn’t controlled quickly, the county may be imposing a curfew and a 3-week stay-at-home order. 

Starting Friday, the county will attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 by tightening restrictions at businesses and gatherings. Non-essential businesses that operate indoors will be limited to 25% capacity; outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will operate at 50% outdoor capacity; card rooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages will operate at 50% outdoor capacity; and personal care businesses will have to operate by appointment-only. Services that require either the provider or the consumer to be mask-less will not be allowed. 

Restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars and non-essential retailers will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Individuals will also face tighter regulations. Beginning on Friday, a maximum of 15 people from a total of three different households will be permitted to gather, officials said, and all gatherings must continue to be outdoors. 

The heightened measures come just one day after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is hitting the “emergency brake” on economic activity due to surging COVID-19 cases.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted Tuesday that Los Angeles “is in a very dangerous situation.” 

Here’s what all Angelenos need to do:

1. Stay home as much as possible.

2. If you go out, assume everyone you encounter outside your home is infectious. Keep your distance, wear a mask.

3. Avoid indoor gatherings.

“The U.S. is breaking new infection records every day and averaging more than one COVID-19 death every minute,” Garcetti said. “… I am calling on every Angeleno to take action to save lives and stop the spread of this virus.”

The county said it expects cases to continue to surge, and officials said they plan to further tighten regulations if necessary. 

If the five-day average of COVID-19 cases hits 4,000 or more, or hospitalizations increase to more than 1,750 a day, the county will shut down all outdoor and indoor dining. 

If the five-day average of COVID-19 cases hits 4,500 or more, or hospitalizations increase to more than 2,000 per day, the county will institute a 3-week “Safer at Home Order,” which will only permit essential workers and those seeking essential services to leave their homes. The order would also mandate a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., exempting only essential workers. 

On Tuesday, the county reported 2,301 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the county total to date past 344,500. There were 1,126 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county as of Tuesday. The weekly average of daily COVID-19 cases was 1,171 on November 1, and by November 14, it had more than doubled to 2,406, according to county data. 

COVID-19 Daily Update:
November 17, 2020
New Cases: 2,301 (344,523 to date)
New Deaths: 25 (7,299 to date)
Current Hospitalizations: 1,126 pic.twitter.com/AmWFBOMKKi

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, said that Los Angeles County “is at a critical moment to save lives and curb the spread of COVID-19.” 

“I urge our residents, businesses and community leaders to heed this warning and follow these heightened safeguards so that additional restrictions do not need to be imposed,” Ferrer said. “We are so grateful that many of our residents are wearing face coverings, keeping physically distanced and avoiding gathering with people they don’t live with, but we need everyone to do their part and follow these measures. Lives and livelihoods are at stake and our entire community will be affected by our collective action if we do the right thing.”

The tighter restrictions in Los Angeles County were announced the same day that doctors on the Coronavirus Task Force warned Vice President Mike Pence that the U.S. is in a dire situation regarding the pandemic. Two senior administration officials told CBS News that doctors believe that in just a week, the U.S. may see 1,500 deaths a day. By Christmas, they fear that number will hit 2,000 a day, and urging officials to stop indoor dining at bars and restaurants to curb the spread.

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