Amid restaurant shutdown, Lucques lays off staff and closes for good after 21 years
There will be no fond farewell for one of L.A.’s most venerable restaurants.
Amid a statewide restaurant shutdown with no clear end in sight, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne have decided to permanently close Lucques, their 21-year-old Californian-Mediterranean restaurant, more than a month and a half early.
Goin said in an Instagram post Sunday that the duo had laid off their staff, spent the last few days packing up the Melrose Avenue space and were now closed for good.
“Definitely not how @carolinestyne and i had envisioned it,” she wrote. “When we announced a week ago wednesday we had a job planned for every lucques employee—72 hours later we were in the unimaginable position of laying off our staffs at all the restaurants—people we love like family, people who can not sustain this shutdown...our hearts are broken.”
Japan to require 14-day-quarantine for visitors from U.S.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that Japan will require a 14-day quarantine to all visitors from the United States, including the Japanese and Americans, effective Thursday and until the end of April.
Abe made the announcement at a government task force on the coronavirus, citing the escalating COVID-19 infections around the world, especially in the U.S. and Europe in recent weeks.
Japan on Sunday raised a travel advisory for the U.S., urging the Japanese citizens not to make nonessential trips to the U.S.
He said the U.S. recently took similar measures and urged Americans not to make nonessential trips to Japan, requiring a 14-day quarantine for entrants.
Abe said Monday’s quarantine requirement is in line with measures taken by other countries, including the U.S., and shows Japan’s commitment to join international effort to stop the further spread of the coronavirus.
He said Japan will continue to launch “flexible border control measures without hesitation” and urged his ministers to keep their caution levels up high.
Troubled cruise ship with 2,000 passengers docks in Honolulu
A cruise ship that had to cut short its trip because of the coronavirus and mechanical problems docked Sunday in Honolulu’s harbor.
The Norwegian Jewel, which carried about 2,000 passengers, docked in the late afternoon, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The ship has problems with its propulsion, which will be repaired at Honolulu’s harbor, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said. The repairs to the ship must be made without passengers aboard, the department added.
“A detailed plan is being developed with Norwegian Cruise Line that keeps passengers isolated to avoid any potential strain on Hawaii’s resources, while also addressing the well-being of the cruise line passengers who have been at sea for a very long time,” said Jade Butay, director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
The ship had to cut short its 23-day cruise of Australia and French Polynesia because many ports were closed due to the coronavirus, the ship’s owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, said in a statement. The passengers last disembarked in Fiji on March 11, the transportation department said.
Charter flights have been arranged for ship passengers on Monday and Tuesday to Los Angeles, Sydney, London and other cities, the company said.
Column: Pull up a chair and hear Vin Scully give a message of hope and optimism
We are surrounded by a cacophony of chaos, our lives filled with words of warning and dread and doom.
I need a sound of spring. This being the formerly opening week of the postponed baseball season, I crave the melodious tones of the ballpark, the bunting, the hope.
So, what the heck, I call Vin Scully.
And, wouldn’t you know, he answers on the first ring.
Canada won’t send athletes to Tokyo Olympics unless Games are postponed
The Canadian Olympic Committee says it won’t send athletes to the Tokyo Games unless they’re postponed for a year, becoming the first country to threaten such a move in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
The committee sent out a statement Sunday evening saying it was willing to help the International Olympic Committee search for alternatives, but that it was not safe for athletes, “their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training for these Games.”
“In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
Mitt Romney to self-quarantine after having contact with Rand Paul
Fauci: U.S. is ‘not necessarily’ on Italy’s trajectory
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-diseases specialist, said Sunday that although the United States was “not necessarily” on the same trajectory as that of Italy — which has the world’s highest coronavirus death toll — “we’re going to get hit. There’s no doubt about it.”
Italy’s death toll stands at more than 4,800, including 793 on Saturday alone, Italian officials said.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that some aspects of Italy’s crushing death toll were not yet fully understood by scientists.
“If you look at the dynamics of the outbreak in Italy, we don’t know why they are suffering so terribly,” he said, adding that “many of us believe that early on they did not shut out as well the input of infections that originated in China and came to different parts of the world.”
U.S. prospects might have been improved by bans on travel from China and Europe.
“We have from the beginning been able to put a bit of a clamper” on outside cases, he said.
U.S. cases are concentrated on the West and East coasts, and New York City is home to about one-third of cases. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, appearing on NBC’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, said, “New Yorkers and all Americans deserve the blunt truth: It is only getting worse.“ And in fact, April and May are going to be a lot worse,” he said.
Fauci said federal resources were being “clearly directed toward hot spots that need it most.”
Students hit hard as L.A. community colleges try to work around an epidemic
On Wednesday morning, Los Angeles Trade Technical College student Milagro Jones logged onto his laptop from a one-bedroom apartment in South Los Angeles to attend an online class on human evolution. His 5-year-old daughter, Lydia, at home from preschool, played nearby.
This was supposed to be the first day of online courses after the Los Angeles Community College District announced it would suspend most in-person classes due to the novel coronavirus.
To Jones’ surprise, nobody else — not even the teacher — was online.
“I didn’t know why,” he said.
At the nation’s largest community college district, communication about the coronavirus has been confusing. Less than half of the faculty had been trained in “distance education” before the pandemic hit. Employees lacked access to systems to enable working from home. There were not enough laptops for students and teachers to access online instruction.
Prison lockdowns and influenza symptoms spread, along with call for early releases
Early release from prison is on the table as a state task force begins discussions on how to navigate California’s incarcerated population through the coming storm of the novel coronavirus.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller on Friday ordered the task force during a telephone status hearing. The hearing was for updates on prison mental health but instead dwelt almost entirely on COVID-19. The task force’s first meeting was Saturday, involving lawyers for the governor’s office, corrections department, Department of State Hospitals and those representing prisoners in long-running litigation over prison conditions.
At Mueller’s direction, said plaintiff’s attorney Michael Bien, “population is on the table.”
The corrections department has steadfastly declined to answer questions about how many inmates are under watch with influenza-like illness, how many have been tested for COVID-19 and how many are under quarantine.
Eerie calm before the storm gives ER doctors time to prepare, worry about what’s to come
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues its steep climb in California, many local emergency rooms remain eerily quiet, doctors say, giving them time to prepare but also time to agonize about what could be coming their way.
The L.A. County-USC Medical Center, the flagship hospital of the second-largest municipal health system in the country, can often feel like a war zone, said a physician who works there and spoke on the condition of anonymity. But in recent days, it has been strangely quiet.
Poor people who often use the emergency room as a combination urgent care and doctor’s office have stayed away, he said. “They have stepped up and the nonemergency [patients] that used to overwhelm our waiting room really have stayed home. The ER waiting room has never been this empty.”
Another physician, at Kaiser in Los Angeles, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the joke among the staff is that the only people showing up in their emergency room, “have coronavirus or are having a heart attack.”
An emergency room physician working at hospitals in San Bernardino County told The Times on Saturday morning, “patients are actually listening and the ER is just being used for emergencies.”
A disaster foretold: Shortages of ventilators and other medical supplies have long been warned about
WASHINGTON — Fear was growing in hospitals across the country in 2009 as a frightening epidemic that came to be called the H1N1 swine flu swept across the globe.
From Galveston, Texas, where a hospital ran out of test kits, to Loma Linda University Medical Center in San Bernardino, which had to set up tents to handle a crush of patients, to New York, where hospitals scrambled to bring on extra emergency staff, it appeared the nation’s healthcare system would be overwhelmed.
The worst did not materialize. The lesson, though, was clear: The nation needed larger caches of standby medical supplies and hospitals that were better prepared to handle a surge of infected patients.
A decade later, the coronavirus crisis is exposing many of the same gaps. Inadequate supplies of protective masks, ventilators, intensive care beds and other medical resources are forcing mass closures of schools and businesses and restrictions on everyday activities as public officials rush to slow the virus so America’s medical system isn’t overwhelmed.
“So much that was predicted has come to pass,” said Marcia Crosse, former head of the healthcare section of the Government Accountability Office. Since the early 2000s, the GAO, the federal government’s leading internal watchdog, has issued a steady stream of reports about poor pandemic planning.
As the current crisis has widened, President Trump has attempted to deflect responsibility for his administration’s poor planning, suggesting the coronavirus outbreak was inconceivable.
“Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion,” the president said Thursday.
The opposite is true. The GAO, public health experts and others issued a steady drumbeat of warnings that America would sooner or later face a widespread infectious disease outbreak or a major bioterrorism attack and was woefully unprepared.
FAA halts flights to New York City airports
The Federal Aviation Administration is temporarily halting flights to New York City-area airports because of coronavirus-related staffing issues at a regional air-traffic control center.
In an alert posted online, the agency advised air traffic controllers to “stop all departures” to Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and other airports in the region.
The directive also affects Philadelphia International Airport.
California’s order to stay at home doesn’t replace stricter local rules
SACRAMENTO — After a day of confusion about the reach of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s historic executive order telling residents to remain at home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state announced that more stringent sets of mandatory restrictions implemented by some California counties and cities will remain in place.
“This is a statewide order. Depending on the conditions in their area, local officials may enforce stricter public health orders. But they may not loosen the state’s order,” state health officials said in a statement released late Friday night.
The governor’s stay-at-home order will remain in effect until “further notice” and could be changed as conditions warrant, the statement said. Issued under broad powers granted to the governor in the state’s Emergency Services Act, Newsom’s executive order is enforceable by law.
Anyone who violates the order could be charged with a misdemeanor, but Newsom said that he did not believe that would be necessary.
The Newsom administration also released a 14-page report explaining which businesses and workers are considered essential and exempt from the stay-at-home order, as well as more detail about personal activities that are allowed and prohibited.
See 8 hauntingly beautiful shots of Hollywood under ‘stay home’ order
On Thursday evening, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay at home” order. Newsom’s executive order also marks the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus. The order also prohibits gatherings in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people.
Los Angeles Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin and videographer Mark Potts document the first night of the order in Hollywood.
L.A. County tells doctors to skip testing of some patients
Los Angeles County health officials advised doctors to give up on testing patients in the hope of containing the coronavirus outbreak, instructing them to test patients only if a positive result could change how they would be treated.
The guidance, sent by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to doctors on Thursday, was prompted by a crush of patients and shortage of tests, and could make it difficult to ever know precisely how many people in L.A. County contracted the virus.
The department “is shifting from a strategy of case containment to slowing disease transmission and averting excess morbidity and mortality,” according to the letter. Doctors should test symptomatic patients only when “a diagnostic result will change clinical management or inform public health response.”
The guidance sets in writing what has been a reality all along. The shortage of tests nationwide has meant that many patients suspected of having COVID-19 have not had the diagnosis confirmed by a laboratory.
In addition to the lack of tests, public health agencies across the country lack the staff to trace the source of new cases, drastically reducing the chances of isolating people who have been exposed and thereby containing the outbreak.
Two more patients have died in Santa Clara County
MLS extends moratorium on organized team practices through March 27
Major League Soccer on Friday extended its moratorium on organized team practices through March 27 in response to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus.
MLS placed a four-day ban on training sessions last week, then extended that into the weekend before adding another week to the moratorium Friday. Under the ban, team training facilities can be accessed for physical therapy purposes only and players cannot work out together because that would violate social-distancing practices.
Standardized testing: Important changes to AP, SAT; K-12 tests canceled
The Trump administration announced Friday that states will be allowed to cancel federally mandated standardized tests in K-12 schools for the current year, as part of an ongoing disruption of familiar student performance measures caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Also, high school students will be able to take Advanced Placement tests at home and the SAT college admissions test is canceled through May, among other schedule changes.
“It’s a stake in the back”: ‘Nonessential’ businesses close after stay-home orders
For more than 100 years, California Floral Co. has stood sentinel in downtown Los Angeles.
The florist predates the founding of Warner Bros, UCLA and the first concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. It made it through World War II and closed for only a day or two during the 1992 L.A. riots. But the novel coronavirus could bring California Floral to its knees.