Los Angeles County and city officials released emergency orders Thursday to close nonessential businesses and keep residents in their homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, chair of the county’s board of supervisors, announced restrictions under the “Safer at Home” order at a press conference Thursday evening.
"Nonessential” businesses include indoor malls and shopping centers, as well as retail businesses.
The order features a list of essential businesses that are exempt and may remain open, including: grocery stores and pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, banks, newspapers, television stations, radio stations, hotels, car dealerships, hardware stores, nurseries, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, funeral homes, taxis, mailing and shipping companies and laundromats. Restaurants may remain open, but only to serve take-out and delivery customers. It also excludes food-production companies, defense work and all health care providers including cannabis dispensaries.
Businesses have Friday to prepare for closure, with restrictions in full effect at midnight on Friday. It will remain in place at least through April 19.
“This is the next step in protecting our communities from the coronavirus and will have invaluable long-term effects,” Barger said. “This order will increase social distancing while still enabling residents to shop for essential items at the market, pharmacy and hardware store, and still be able to visit the bank or gas station.”
Businesses that remain open must practice social distancing, keeping people at least 6 feet apart and providing access to hand washing facilities or hand sanitizer.
The county measure also prohibits events or gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces.
The city of Los Angeles also issued restrictions that are a bit tighter and go into effect at midnight on Saturday, giving residents more time to prepare.
Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered L.A. residents to stay in their homes and for nonessential businesses to close. Also, the city order prohibits all public and private events and gatherings of any size that occur outside of a private residence.
The county and citywide orders came at the same time as an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health for all California residents to stay in their places of residence except to access such necessities as food and healthcare.
According to the statewide order: “When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain or perform (necessary) functions, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing.”