On Friday, April 10, LA County health department officials extended stay-at-home measures until at least May 15, and possibly into the summer, in order slow the spread of novel coronavirus. The county has been under social distancing measures since March 16, when the City of LA ordered restaurants and bars to close their facilities with the exception of takeout and delivery.
Essential businesses such as grocery stores, drug stores, and restaurants are still permitted to operate provided they supply face coverings for workers. Physical gatherings of any size outside of a single household will remain prohibited. Earlier this week, LA County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer urged residents to skip grocery and other shopping this week if possible in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ferrer did mention that some of the social distancing restrictions could be lifted by the summer, but those easements will depends on the data. At the moment, LA County has 8,430 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 241 deaths, with over 47,000 tests conducted.
“Physical distancing is working. It has worked to date, and it is working now, and it is important that that physical distancing remain in place in order to reduce not just the strain on the hospital system, but more importantly the overall number of infections,” Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of county health services, told the LA Times.
Restaurants across the county and Southern California have seen dramatic decreases in business despite the allowance for takeout and delivery. Many have decided to close temporarily in order to ensure the safety of workers, while others have had to shutter permanently. At some fast food restaurants, workers have protested the lack of proper protocols and protective equipment after some employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in late March, farmers markets were ordered to close after certain markets were reportedly found to be lacking in social distance measures. Some farmers markets outside of the City of LA, including Santa Monica and Torrance, continued to operate, while others inside the city made changes to allow for proper social distance among shoppers.
Today’s stay-at-home order extension from LA County means restaurants, bars, and other food businesses devastated by the pandemic will have to seek government and other assistance. Multiple establishments have been asking for donations to help workers who lost their jobs.