If you have a job that allows you to work from home (and you’re not an actress pretending everything is hunky-dory), chances are you’ve spent the past few days staying indoors unless you need to go out and flattening the coronavirus curve like your elderly neighbor’s life depends on it (because it could).
If that’s the case, life is about to get…not all that different. But the “Safer at Home” order issued by both Mayor Eric Garcetti locally and Governor Gavin Newsom at the state level on Thursday evening—which will stay in effect till at least April 19—is stricter than the voluntary social distancing you were already doing.
The legally enforceable order instructs people to stay home, to only go out for essential services, to stay six feet away from others, and not to gather in groups of more than ten people.
According to the city’s FAQ site, you should specifically not do the following:
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by the order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out, as possible
- Travel to or from a job outside the City of Los Angeles, unless to perform essential activities
- Travel to or from a vacation home outside the city
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility
The exemption for “essential activities” includes going to the grocery, hardware, or drug store; going to restaurants and drive-throughs to pick up food; walk pets and take them to the vet; and exercise outside as long as you stay six feet away from other people. You can still take public transit if you need to. And you can still use rideshare if you absolutely have to, but should exercise extreme caution.
The order includes a long list of essential businesses that will remain open:
- City/County government services (police stations; fire stations; jails; courts; garbage/sanitation; public transportation; water, power, and gas utilities; public works construction, including construction of housing; airport and port operations
- Gas service stations, auto supply, auto repair, bicycle repair shops and related facilities.
- Health care providers (gyms not included)
- Food providers (grocery stores and supermarkets; water retailers; certified farmers’ markets; farm and produce stands; supermarkets; convenience stores’ warehouse stores; food banks; take-out from restaurants, drive-thru restaurants, and delivery from restaurants; food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing)
- Hardware stores and nurseries
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential activities
- Banks, credit unions, financial institutions and insurance companies
- Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, (including gang prevention and intervention and domestic violence agencies).
- Laundromats/laundry service
- Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, podcasts and other media services
- Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
“We’ve already radically changed how we live in Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a press briefing announcing the order. “We need to be painfully honest tonight that we’re about to enter into a new way of living here.”
Earlier today, Governor Newsom announced that the state is projecting that as many as 25.5 million Californians could be contract the coronavirus in a matter of just eight weeks. His office later said that number could go down with restrictions on people’s activities in place.
The Safer at Home order goes into effect at midnight tonight and will remain in effect until at least April 19.