State Watch

Los Angeles issues new stay at home order as coronavirus cases surge

Los Angeles County on Friday announced a new stay at home order urging residents to avoid nonessential outings for three weeks in an effort to combat a new spike in coronavirus cases.

The order will go into effect on Monday and last for three weeks, until Dec. 20.

A statement from the L.A. County Department of Public Health advises residents to stay home "as much as possible" and wear a face covering when they go out.

It bans all public and private gatherings with individuals not living in the same household, with the exception for "constitutionally protected rights" to attend church services and protests.

Occupancy limits were issued for various businesses. Fitness centers, museums, galleries and zoos can operate at a 50 percent maximum occupancy. Essential retail can remain open at 35 percent capacity, compared to 20 percent occupancy for non-essential retail including indoor malls. Nail salons and personal care services must remain below 20 percent occupancy.

The order will also temporary close public playgrounds. Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries will remain closed to in-person dining and drinking due to the increased chance of the transmission when customers have their masks off.

All schools and day camps will remain open in adherence to reopening guidelines, according to the statement. Outdoor recreation at beaches, trails, and parks also will remain open, with safety requirements.

"We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that L.A. County residents continue following public health safety measures that we know can slow the spread," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge. Please remain home as much as possible and do not gather with others not in your household for the next three weeks."

The order comes as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the nation's most populous county.

On Friday, public health officials confirmed 4,544 new cases and 23 new deaths.  To date, there has been 387,793 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,604 deaths. Approximately 10 percent of all people are testing positive, according to officials.

The order in Los Angeles County was issued the same day the United States surpassed 13 million coronavirus infections.

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