Coronavirus in L.A.: Here is what you need to know about what’s open and closed
Los Angeles will be on a form of lockdown it’s never seen in modern times amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our decisions will determine the fate of our loved ones, the length of this crisis,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in announcing the restrictions Sunday. “We need to take these steps to protect our city right now. The work we do now will have an impact on the city’s history. We need to do everything now to stop the spread of this virus.”
The restrictions are to last through March 31.
Here is what you need to know:
- All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades
- All gyms and fitness centers
- All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food
- All private social clubs
- In addition, all restaurants and retail food facilities will be prohibited from serving food to dine-in customers.
- Restaurants, as well as bars and nightclubs that serve food, may continue to prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service or takeout.
- Houses of worship are urged to limit large gatherings on their premises and to explore and implement ways to practice their respective faiths while observing “social distancing” practices.
- Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes or similar facilities will be allowed to continue operations.
- Grocery stores, pharmacies and food banks will also be allowed to continue operations.
Source: City of Los Angeles
• All Los Angeles Unified School District campuses -- and many other around the region -- are closed.
• Los Angeles school officials were racing Sunday to organize the complex logistics of opening 20 meal pickup sites and 40 family resource centers to serve students who will be displaced from campuses beginning Monday in an unprecedented shutdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
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• The food distribution sites and resource centers are widely seen as vital in a school system where 80% of students are from low-income households and 18,000 are homeless. The centers, scheduled to open on Wednesday, are intended as a stopgap to offer food, child-care, counseling, health screening and educational activities in a system of nearly 900 campuses.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, some municipal services are closed, and other are running with restrictions.
Recreation and parks
This agency, among the hardest hit, has closed 147 recreation centers, 28 senior centers and dozens of swimming pools. Griffith Observatory, Travel Town in Griffith Park, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro and the Sherman Oaks Castle also have been shut down.
Golfers may continue playing at the city’s 12 municipal golf courses, where workers are installing six-foot barriers to minimize contact."Golfers are now allowed to ride alone in carts without a penalty,” said agency spokeswoman Ashley Rodriguez.
Park bathrooms are open during regular operating hours, which vary from park to park. Most parks are open from dawn to dusk, Rodriguez said.
Many senior centers will offer take-out meal service, but locations are still being finalized. The agency will work with the Department of Aging to distribute meals to older adults between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day this week. Older adults may pick up their meal or assign someone to pick it up on their behalf, Rodriguez said.
Water and power
The Department of Water and Power has suspended utility shut-offs for nonpayment, said DWP spokesman Joe Ramallo. “We also continue to offer generous repayment plans that can be setup online,” Ramallo said.
The Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles, which runs public housing and issues housing vouchers, has closed its public lobby but is continuing to accept documents through a drop box, its President and Chief Executive Doug Guthrie said.
Guthrie said the agency will continue to fulfill its responsibilities to people who “have vouchers issued and are trying to lease up a unit.”
The agency is also limiting its inspections to “emergency matters,” limiting its work orders at public housing sites to urgent issues, and closing the doors of its property management offices.
Firefighters, paramedics and 911 operators continue to respond to emergencies. Although the department’s City Hall offices are closed to the public, the agency is providing some over-the-counter services -- such as reviews of sprinkler systems for new buildings -- in its offices on Figueroa Street.
“We are using social distancing to reduce the number of individuals our inspectors come into contact with at inspection locations and at our public counter,” said LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders.
Inspections of high-risk buildings are continuing as scheduled. But routine nonessential inspections have been postponed a week. In addition, fire stations have been closed to the public, so no school tours, youth programs or meetings in the station’s community rooms.
The Housing and Community Investment Department has closed its public counters, but people can still call 866-557- RENT or 866-557-7368 or submit questions to hcidla.lacity.org/ask-hcidla.
The department has also suspended its Systematic Code Enforcement Program inspections at apartment buildings -- routine inspections that are not triggered by a complaint. It will continue to send out inspectors for safety violations.
Los Angeles public libraries will be closed through the end of March. Readers can still access digital services such as e-books and digital subscriptions at lapl.org. Librarians are also providing assistance by phone or through Ask A Librarian and Book A Librarian. No late fines are being charged and due dates are being automatically extended.
Sanitation crews equipped with face masks, gloves and protective suits are still doing cleanups of homeless encampments. (In rainy weather, however, such cleanings are more limited than usual.) The department is also working to distribute additional sanitation stations with sinks, showers and toilets across the city, according to spokeswoman Elena Stern.
The department has suspended a number of workshops and events, including composting and home gardening workshops and tours of its water reclamation plants.
StreetsLA is reviewing permits and applications for special events to decide if they should continue or be approved. People can still apply for permits, but the department is controlling the number of people at its public counters to maintain social distancing.
The Bureau of Street Lighting has closed its public counters and is issuing permits online. Street lights are still being repaired as usual.
Building and Safety
The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety is still operating and providing permits, checking plans and inspecting buildings, but it is limiting how many members of the public can be on each floor of its offices at a time. That will likely cause delays for customers, its spokesman Jeff Napier said. It has also canceled meetings of the Board of Building and Safety Commissioners.
Public counters for the Office of Finance are open in Van Nuys and West Los Angeles, but not at City Hall, according to city Treasurer Claire Bartels. People can also access online services or call by phone.
The Department of Cannabis Regulation has closed its public counter where people can walk in to ask questions, but employees are still available to answer questions by phone. The cannabis department has also postponed a planned workshop on public health inspections and canceled a Cannabis Regulation Commission meeting.
Older people and the frail
• Gov. Gavin Newsom called on the elderly to remain at home, and his request also extended to residents with underlying health issues, such as blood disorders, chronic kidney disease, asthma, chronic liver disease, compromised immune systems, pregnancies in the last two weeks, metabolic disorders, heart disease and other conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness from the coronavirus.
• He also urged family members to take care around the elderly and frail: “People should conduct themselves around their grandparents as if they have it.”
• Garcetti announced the city would put a moratorium on residential evictions, aiming to protect people whose wages will be diminished or lost by coronavirus-related work stoppages. He said he has asked City Atty. Mike Feuer to look into whether Los Angeles can “legally help prevent commercial evictions” as well.
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