LA County issues new ‘safer-at-home’ order, putting limits on gatherings

LA County issues new ‘safer-at-home’ order, putting limits on gatherings
Gatherings in restaurants will be banned under a new "safer at home" order in Los Angeles County that goes into effect Monday. (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles issued a new “safer-at-home” order Friday that will put stiffer limits on gatherings and the number of people in businesses.

The order, coming as coronavirus cases continue to spiral out of control in the country’s most populous county, goes into effect on Monday and lasts through Dec. 20. The order also will close playgrounds and cardrooms, KABC reported.

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According to a news release from the County of Los Angeles Public Health, there were 4,544 new COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths in the county.

Nearly 2,000 people in the county are hospitalized.

“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in the news release. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”

Under the order:

All public and private gatherings with someone outside your own household are prohibited. Exceptions are made for church services and protests protected by the Constitution.

Occupancy limits at businesses will now stand at 35% for essential retail; 20% for non-essential retail like outdoor malls, as well as for personal care services and libraries; 50% for fitness centers operating outdoors, as well as museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums and other recreational businesses like batting cages.

Playgrounds, except those at childcare and schools, will be closed.

Cardrooms are closed. In early October they had been allowed to reopen with outdoor operations.

The order advises residents to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear a face-covering when they go out.