Los Angeles County and all of Southern California goes into a new state-mandated Safer at Home lockdown at midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning in an attempt to get the soaring COVID-19 numbers under control.
These new restrictions, the tightest since the original Safer at Home lockdown order was issued in March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, will require everyone to wear a mask when out in public and ban any gatherings of people outside of one’s immediate household.
Under the new restrictions, essential businesses like grocery stores will have to operate at 20% capacity, down from the current 35% capacity under which they have been operating.
Non-essential businesses will be allowed to remain open during this lockdown, but operating at 20% capacity.
These places are closed:
- indoor and outdoor playgrounds
- indoor recreational facilities
- hair salons and barbershops
- personal care services like nail salons
- museums, zoos, and aquariums
- entertainment centers
Offices must also close and employees must work remotely, except for these critical infrastructure workers who must be on site to perform their jobs.
Restaurants in LA County have been closed to in-person dining since Nov. 25, thanks to an order from county health department. However, when the state’s restrictions go into effect, restaurants throughout the rest of the Southern California region would be forced to close except for take-out orders or deliveries.
Hotels must close to tourists, but will be allowed to remain open for “critical infrastructure support only,” such as a place for front-line workers like hospital employees to stay between shifts.
Churches may continue to hold services, but will be restricted to outdoor services only.
Professional sports can continue playing, but without a live audience.
Meanwhile, schools which have received waivers from the state are allowed to remain open.
This lockdown is scheduled to last for three weeks, ending on Dec. 28, but could be extended if COVID numbers don’t come down.
The county broke records again on Sunday, as it has all week long. The LA County Department of Public Heath reported 10,528 new cases on Sunday and 2,855 people hospitalized with COVID-19, both all-time highs for LA County. Of those hospitalized, 23% are in intensive care.
The 11-county Southern California region’s availability of ICU beds now stands at 10.3%, down from 12.5% on Saturday and 13.1% on Friday.
According to guidelines established by Gov. Gavin Newsom, once the number of available ICU beds in a region falls below 15%, that triggers a lockdown. The governor’s plan divides the state into five different regions for the purposes of these ICU bed counts.
“The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said Thursday. “If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see a death rate climb, more lives lost.”
The Southern California region as defined by the state’s five region system for ICU bed counts includes 11 counties. Those counties are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.