Los Angeles city and county officials on Friday night sent emergency text alerts urging residents to avoid nonessential public activities this weekend as part of an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“Stay home this weekend, and weekends until April 19. Only travel to seek medical care, do essential business and run necessary errands,” L.A. County said in its alert.
Across Southern California, communities closed beaches, trails, recreation areas and other public spaces.
All L.A. County beaches, as well as public trails and trailheads, are closed to the public effective immediately, officials announced Friday.
“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “In order to save lives, beaches in L.A. County will be temporarily closed.”
The county’s public health officer, Dr. Muntu Davis, signed a public health order shutting down the beaches on Friday. The order also applies to beach bike paths, bathrooms, piers and promenades.
Los Angeles on Friday announced more closures as well, including to trails and trailheads.
Officials say that social distancing is one of the few tools currently available to fight the spread of the virus.
Authorities said they will be out in force this weekend but have said they will be mainly enforcing the rules and not planning to cite people if they obey with officers’ orders.
First responders are also struggling with coronavirus in their ranks.
Los Angeles Police Department has 22 employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
In addition, the Los Angeles Fire Department has five members who have tested positive for the coronavirus.