LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles County will tighten some coronavirus health restrictions this week with a curfew imposed affecting restaurants, wineries, breweries, and non-essential retail businesses, a 15-person limit on gatherings, and capacity limits on restaurants, personal care businesses, and offices. The changes are expected to take effect Friday according, to a report by the Los Angeles Daily News.
The new restrictions come as the coronavirus outbreak reaches surge levels not seen since July in Los Angeles. New cases and hospitalizations are climbing and health officials face the prospect of widespread Thanksgiving gatherings that could end up spreading the coronavirus at explosive rates. With the approval and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine still months away, health officials have few tools beyond restrictions, mask requirements, and widespread testing. County leaders employed are employing all three.
Though nonessential travel is discouraged, officials unveiled a pilot testing program at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday, to try to limit the spread of the disease among those who do have to travel.
“Testing is our first line of defense against the coronavirus – helping us track this virus and limit its spread – and any steps to expand our testing capacity can save lives,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “COVID-19 is still here and still dangerous, and building up our testing resources at LAX is a gateway to a stronger crisis response and a healthier city.”
Among the restrictions, county officials are turning to, restaurants, wineries, breweries and non-essential retail businesses will be required to close at 10 p.m. Gatherings will be limited to no more than 15 people from a maximum of three households. The county previously issued guidance limiting gatherings to three households, but there was no numerical limit on attendees. Other measures will include a 50% capacity limit for restaurants with outdoor service and a 25% capacity limit for personal care businesses and offices.
Customers of personal care businesses — such as nail salons — will have to make advance appointments, and no services can be performed that require the customer to remove a face mask.
Although the changes had not been formally announced as of the late afternoon, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl told the Daily News the restrictions will take effect Friday.
The changes come amid a surge in COVID-19 that saw daily case numbers exceed 2,000 most of last week before topping 3,000 on Saturday and Sunday.