Angelenos are seeing red—red tier that is, with Los Angeles County in the less restrictive zone, residents once again have a choice of where they spend their time. As restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses open to the public with some protocols in place, this Spring is looking different from last year. Public health officials are adamant that safety guidelines remain a top priority for everyone.
“Tomorrow, March 16, will mark the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19-related Health Officer Order here in L.A. County and for the first time since the state created the Blueprint for a Safer Economy last summer, L.A. County has moved from the most restrictive purple tier to the red tier,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “That we are here today is not a miracle; our recovery represents the deep commitment by hundreds of thousands of individuals and many thousands of businesses to adhering to safety measures and making sacrifices to keep each other safe. I thank you L.A. County.”
As of Monday, March 15, the following are now permitted to open with required safety protocols for masking, distancing and infection control:
*Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity
*Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities
*Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups
*Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services
*Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: eight feet distancing between tables; one household per indoor table with a limit of six people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased; public health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks, in addition to the required face shield; public health also strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from three different households
*Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining
*Institutes of Higher Education can re-open all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester
*Schools are permitted to re-open for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives
*Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to three separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing.
Public health officials are urging the public to continue following these core practices:
*Go outdoors. Outdoor activities are far safer than indoor ones
*Stay masked. Consistent and correct use of masks, especially double-masking, both indoors and outdoors, is very effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19
*Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others. Physical distancing from those who do not live with you also helps to keep the virus away
*Avoid crowds. The fewer people you encounter and the fewer interactions you have, the smaller the chance the virus will spread
*Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. All federally authorized vaccines work well and will help protect you, your family, and your friends against COVID-19
As of Monday, March 15, the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health confirmed 6 new deaths and 422 new cases of COVID-19. There were 893 people with COVID-19 hospitalized with of 28% these people in the ICU.
Public Health identified 1,210,663 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,475 deaths. Cases across the Southland: Los Angeles County shows 1,148,011 cases, Long Beach with 51,621 cases and Pasadena with 11,031. According to race and ethnicity, COVID-19 statistics show: American Indian/Alaska Native with 1,927; Asian with 52,451; Black with 41,886; Hispanic/Latino with 570,327; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander with 4,148; White with 118,694; those of other race and ethnicity with 105,847 and 252,731 under investigation.
“As we move forward, let’s remember that our re-openings are happening alongside holidays and spring break,” said Ferrer. “Holiday traveling, gatherings indoors and large parties have in the past wrecked our recovery journey.
“Let’s not repeat past mistakes and let’s pledge to keep everyone alive until it is their turn to get vaccinated.”
For more information and statistics on COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/
For more detailed information on COVID-19 vaccination plans in L.A. County and to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com