As of Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will allow gyms and fitness facilities to re-open as well as museum and art galleries, hotels and short-term rentals, campgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities. It also will permit professional sports games (without a live audience) as well as music, film and television production and schools and education-based programs.
The reopening of gyms and fitness facilities is likely to be especially popular for some residents of West Hollywood, a city whose gyms and fitness centers are popular gathering places and where residents have continued to jog on the sidewalks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the openings will come with the enforcement of strict rules intended to reduce the likelihood of infection with the COVID-19 virus.
In today’s announcement of the re-openings, the Health Department said the following rules apply to gyms and other fitness facilities:
- Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever.
- Staff members must wear a cloth face covering at all times.
- Gym-goers must wear a cloth face covering when entering and exiting the gym and it is recommended that they be worn while exercising in the gym.
- Physical distancing must be maintained, and equipment may be rearranged to allow for that.
- Reservations for time at the gym are recommended as occupancy will be limited. Gym-goers feeling unwell should reschedule their appointment.
- Equipment must be cleaned before and after each use with provided disinfecting wipes or the gym must provide “ready to clean” tags for staff to clean equipment after each use.
- Personal trainers must maintain six feet of distance from their clients and wear a face covering. Clients are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering while receiving instruction
- Group training class sizes will be limited to ensure a minimum of six feet of physical distance between patrons. Group exercise classes can only be offered if distancing requirements can be maintained and there is no person to-person physical contact.
- High contact programs that require close contact less than six feet in distance are not allowed.
- Pools at fitness facilities may reopen once employees properly clean and disinfect for use in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
- Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs will remain closed.
These re-openings put Los Angeles County in Phase 3 of the State of California’s “Resilience Roadmap.” Phase 3 is being implemented as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to grow in Los Angeles County.
“Los Angeles County remains one of the hardest-hit counties in California, with more than 2,700 dead, comprising more than 57% of the state’s death toll, despite being home to one-quarter of the state’s population. Yet the nation’s most populous county is moving faster than the San Francisco Bay Area in reopening,” says a story in today’s Los Angeles Times.
The Health Department today reports 1,275 newly confirmed infections and 61 new deaths. That brings the total number of residents confirmed to have been infected to 67,064 and the total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 2,768. The number of confirmed infections among West Hollywood residents hasn’t increased from yesterday’s count of 193. The Health Department reports that 3,858 West Hollywood residents have been tested for the virus and four have died from COVID-19-related illnesses.
The number of confirmed infections in Beverly Hills is up by three to a total of 153. The number of confirmed infections in Culver City has increased by one to 164. The Hollywood neighborhood now has 307 confirmed infections, up three from yesterdays count. The Melrose neighborhood’s infections have increased by four to 644.
The implementation of Phase 3 “does not mean the threat of COVID-19 is gone,” the Health Department said in its announcement. “Residents must continue to practice physical distancing, wear cloth face coverings and follow public health directives.
“If at any time, the county’s rate of infection and other key metrics demonstrate a rapid acceleration of new cases that threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system, the Department of Public Health and the Board of Supervisors may need to limit future re-openings or close reopened sectors.”
“These additional re-openings follow other significant elements of the economy and community that have begun reopening and operating with limits and safeguards, including hair salons, barber shops, religious services, retail, restaurants, beaches and trails.
“Still closed are nail salons, tattoo shops, bars and wineries, movie theaters, live performance theaters, entertainment centers, concert halls and venues, stadiums, arenas, gaming facilities, theme parks and festivals. Click here for a detailed list of what is open and closed in L.A. County.”
Other rules governing the new re-openings are listed below.
- Employees and campers will be screened for symptoms, including fever. Each campers’ temperature will be taken before camp begins. Campers feeling unwell should stay home
- Physical distancing measures will be in place.
- Staff must wear cloth face coverings and campers are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings.
- Outdoor activities are encouraged
- Campers should bring their own meals, when possible.
- Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums
- Interactive exhibits will be closed.
- Capacity will be limited.
- Tours and live presentations in confined areas, such as an animal show, must only include members of the same household.
Campgrounds, RV Parks and Outdoor Recreation
- Plan ahead. Make reservations and purchase permits, firewood, ice and other items online or by phone before arriving on site.
- Be prepared to be as self-contained and self-sufficient as possible. Bring everything you may need, including soap, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, paper towels/hand towels, and toilet paper. Bring your own sports equipment, towels, first aid supplies, and other items needed for outdoor recreation, whenever possible.
- Visitors should bring plastic tablecloths for picnic tables that can be disposed of or taken back home for washing.
- Set up your campsite or picnic areas with maximum distance from adjacent campsites and picnic sites that host people from different households.
- Many programs and facilities will be canceled or closed, so visitors should check online resources for updated information about rule changes and closures to know what to expect upon arrival. Playgrounds and other common spaces will be closed.
- Leave furniture, such as picnic tables and chairs, where they were found as park staff may have appropriately spaced these items to encourage physical distancing.
- Pack up what you pack in to keep campsite staff safe.
Professional Sports Without Live Audiences
- All staff will be required to wear masks, follow physical distancing guidelines and be screened for symptoms before work
- Athletes and staff must not have had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days or close contact with anyone who is sick within 14 days of beginning group training.
- Athletes must wear face coverings at all times other than while exercising.
- Physical distancing should be practiced to the extent possible on the field/in-game play and in training, though guidelines may be adjusted subject to limitations of competition and the fundamentals of certain sports.
- Broadcasters will have to practice physical distancing and camera placements will be different than pre-COVID-19.
Hotels, Lodging and Short-Term Rentals for Tourism and Individual Travel
- Employees, including housekeeping, must wear face coverings and limit touching guests’ belongings.
- Guests will be screened for symptoms. People experiencing symptoms will not be allowed an overnight stay. Guests who feel sick should not travel or stay in a hotel.
- Stringent cleaning and laundry protocols will be in place to protect staff and guests.
- Reusable materials in rooms, such as magazines, menus and local attraction details, will be removed.
- Rooms should be left vacant 24 to 72 hours after a guest has departed for proper cleaning.
- In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s room will be removed from service and quarantined. In the event of a positive case, the room should only be returned to service after undergoing a deep cleaning in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
- Property managers, timeshare operators, and other rental unit owners and operators must only rent unoccupied units and cannot rent rooms or spaces within an occupied residence.
- PSaunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs will remain closed.
Schools and School-Based Programs
- Students and staff should wear face coverings during all educational activities at school or on a bus.
- Students and staff should engage in physical distancing at all times.
- Schools will be taking the temperature of students and staff before they enter the campus.
The Health Department continues to urge people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested. “COVID-19 testing continues to be prioritized for hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, and first responders with symptoms, as well as residents and employees, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, in long-term care facilities or other congregate living settings where there are outbreaks.”
It said that it recommends testing for anyone who is older or has underlying health conditions with symptoms, as well as people who have been close contacts of people who are positive for COVID-19. “Anyone that has symptoms should also consider testing. It is important to note testing negative for COVID-19 right after being exposed does not mean you can’t become infected later during the incubation period. Individuals who are tested too soon after being exposed, are less likely to test positive because the viral load may be undetectable to the test. If anyone was possibly exposed to someone with COVID-19, and the test result is negative, they should remain at home for the full 14 days, to prevent spreading illness to others. For more information on how to get tested, visit covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.”
Residents with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and who are looking for resources to deal with it can find answers on the City of West Hollywood’s website. Here is a list of links to sections about particular subjects and issues: