Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that different cities would need to take different steps to emerge from the pandemic-induced shutdown and that city and county officials were still trying to determine the safest course.
“Our timing on opening may vary from other parts of the state,” he said. “I will reopen our city with careful consideration, guided by public health professionals.”
Garcetti said he did not expect city businesses to be able to offer curbside delivery on Friday in step with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments. The city’s Safer at Home order is in effect until May 15, and Garcetti said he hoped steps restricting commerce could begin to be rolled back by then.
Newsom announced Monday that some retail stores across the state would be allowed to reopen with modifications as early as Friday, amid growing pressure to ease the stay-at-home order that has cratered the California economy.
The new changes are part of a four-stage plan the governor laid out last week to gradually transition back to normal in a state of nearly 40 million people whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are entering into the next phase this week,” Newsom said at his news conference to provide an update on the state’s response. “This is a very positive sign and it’s happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen.”
The governor’s plan also expands decision-making at the local level, allowing some communities to move further ahead into the second phase of the reopening process at their own pace and open more businesses — such as restaurant dining rooms — beyond those outlined in the statewide policy.
Under the new statewide COVID-19 guidelines, the governor said bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers and others can reopen for pickup, and manufacturing and logistics can resume in the retail supply chain. Newsom said more detailed guidelines on the businesses that can resume limited operations would be released later this week.
Since April 17, coronavirus infection rates have surged in L.A. County’s poorer neighborhoods, while cases have risen far more slowly in richer areas.
California’s new guidelines come as other states are pushing for mass testing in nursing homes.
From barber shops to shopping malls to restaurants, many businesses shuttered for months began to come back to life this week as government officials rapidly lifted stay-at-home orders that helped slow the spread of coronavirus.
The total number of individuals who have been confirmed to be infected by the virus in L.A. County is 26,217.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that officials will outline plans to modify restrictions in L.A. County later this week, but reminded the public that while social distancing practices have slowed the spread of the virus, it still remains easily transmissible.
“The virus has not changed,” she said. “More people die in L.A. County every day from COVID-19 than any other disease.”
Roughly 5,000 people who tested positive for the virus have been hospitalized at some point, Ferrer said. There are currently 1,819 individuals who are hospitalized, including 30% who are in intensive care.