West Hollywood residents were asked to stay in their homes, and local businesses, with some exceptions, were ordered to close down by midnight in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s latest response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. The shutdown will last through April.
The order incorporates Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Safer at Home” declaration, which he issued Thursday in response to a surge in coronavirus infections in California. The state Health Department reported 699 confirmed infections on Wednesday. “We believe the virus will impact about 56% of California’s population,” Newsome said at a press conference. … “ We believe with a 20% hospitalization rate, that’s about 19,543 people that would need to be hospitalized – above the existing capacity of our system.” As of Thursday, there were 12 confirmed infections in West Hollywood.
People are asked not to leave their homes unless it for essential shopping (groceries, medicines, home supplies, etc.) or to walk a dog or take a walk for exercise. And even then, they are instructed to stay six feet away form others. Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned. Smaller events, such as a family union of up to nine people, must include access to soap and water for handwashing or hand sanitizer, and those attending must sit at least six feet apart.
The county Health Department order regarding businesses applies to what are called “non-essential retail businesses.” Those would include retailers of apparel, furniture, jewelry and other items that are common in shops along Santa Monica Boulevard, the city’s Design District and Melrose Avenue. An earlier order already has closed all bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and arcades.
Thursday’s order applies to indoor malls or shopping centers. However those essential businesses that customers can access without going into a mall, such as those at West Hollywood’s Gateway, can remain open. Many of those in the Beverly Center cannot be accessed without entering the mall, which means they will have to close.
Businesses exempt from the order, designated “essential businesses,” include the following:
- Grocery stores and supermarkets, certified farmer’s markets (such as the Helen Albert Farmers Market at Plummer Park), convenience stores like 7-Eleven, and any other businesses that sell canned food, dry goods, fresh food and vegetables, pet supplies, water, and fresh meat, poultry and fish. Essential businesses include those who offer these products but also sell other things.
- Restaurants that only deliver or offer carry-out food. A partial list of such restaurants in West Hollywood can be found here.
- Hotels, motels, and shared rental units.
- Healthcare facilities (hospitals, clinic, dental practices, etc.), including medical cannabis dispensaries.
- Businesses that deliver groceries, food and goods and services to essential businesses and healthcare providers, or businesses that provide logistical support to such delivery businesses.
- Gas stations, car dealers and auto repair and supply businesses.
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services to needy individuals.
- Banks, credit unions, and related financial institutions.
- Hardware stories, plant nurseries and building supply stores.
- Businesses providing mail and shipping services such as UPS.
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and shops providing personal grooming services. (The Health Department has clarified that nail and hair salons are not essential businesses and must be closed).
- Business such as Best Buy that supply office or computer products needed by people who work from home.
- Businesses that provide products or support to other essential businesses.
- Taxis, airlines, and other private transportation providers, which presumably would include Lyft and Uber.
- Residential facilities and home-based services for seniors, adults, disabled people, or children.
- Childcare facilities, provided that they have no more than 12 children in a single group each day, not allow children to move from group to group, and keep each group in a separate room.
- Providers of legal and accounting services when they are necessary to ensure the client is complying with legal requirements and anything involving construction and the sale of housing.
- Providers of “essential infrastructure,” which includes contractors constructing housing, providers of utility services and internet services, and garbage and trash pickup operators.
- Military/defense contractors
- Food cultivators.
Businesses required to close are allowed to offer access to their employees for 24 hours so that they can come in and pick up their belongings.