Today, Los Angeles County enacts a new stay-at-home order–but it isn’t quite like what you might remember from back in the early days of pandemic. While this “targeted” order does tighten back up some restrictions that have loosened over recent months, the changes are, for the most part, fairly minor reductions in capacity caps and hours. The biggest change is a new ban on gatherings of non-household members, even outdoors–but even that rule has some exceptions. Here is what the new Los Angeles stay-at-home order will mean for shopping, dining, and more.
Gatherings: Groups of people from multiple households cannot get together, either in public or private, indoors or out. The only exceptions to this rule will be for outdoor religious services and political demonstrations. Previously, rules did allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people from up to three households, lasting up to two hours.
Gyms: This new stay-at-home order does not change anything for gyms. Those offering outdoor services that comply with existing protocols can continue.
Personal Care Services: Hairstylists, nail salons, tanning facilities, and other personal care providers can continue working indoors, as long as the salon is capped at 20 percent capacity. Services that require either the customer or provider to remove their mask for any reason (like shaving a beard) are prohibited, and no food or drink can be served to customers.
Essential Retail: Still open for indoor shopping, with capacity reduced to 35 percent. This category includes grocery stores, pharmacies, cannabis dispensaries, and the other key businesses which stayed open during the original stay-at-home.
Non-Essential Retail: Still open for indoor, in-person shopping, at a capacity cap of 20 percent. This includes indoor shopping malls. Curbside or contactless pick-up options are encouraged where available, but not mandatory.
Parks, Outdoor Activities, Swimming Pools, and Playgrounds: Public playgrounds that are not limited to use by a specific school or child care provider have to close. Pools can offer only “regulated lap swimming” for one swimmer per lane at a time (private, single-household pools are exempt). Otherwise, outdoor activities remain pretty much unchanged. Parks, tennis courts, hiking trails, golf courses, and other facilities that were open, stay open (although you can’t recreate with people outside of your household). Batting cages, go-kart tracks, and mini-golf remain capped at half capacity.
Zoos and Outdoor Museums: Outdoor areas at zoos, museums, and galleries will now be capped at 50 percent capacity. This is a clarification of the previous, more open-ended policy that had been based on each facility estimating how many people could come in while maintaining social distance.
Schools and Child Care: The new stay-at-home order makes only one significant change to the already-limited operation of these facilities. Now, if three or more COVID-19 cases are linked to a particular school or care center within 14 days, the facility must institute a complete closure for at least two weeks.
Health officials are largely counting on Angelenos to honor the intent of the rules–mostly staying home, limiting exposure, always wearing a mask when out–without particularly strict enforcement. If a large number of people continue staging gatherings or engaging in other high-risk behaviors, more severe orders and dire public health consequences could be on the horizon.
“The need for restrictions would be much less if everyone would just wear their mask and minimize social mingling,” Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services told a meeting of the Board of Supervisors last week.