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From movies to gyms to eateries, here’s what will reopen in L.A. County on Monday

People work out at a gym in "pods."
Peet Sapsin directs clients inside “pods” at his Inspire South Bay Fitness studio in Redondo Beach on June 17. Los Angeles County will again allow gyms to reopen for indoor fitness classes.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

In a major shift, Los Angeles County officials said they expect to allow a slate of business sectors to more widely reopen beginning Monday.

The changes come as newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to plummet, while the number of Angelenos vaccinated against the disease slowly increases.

L.A. County health officials — along with their counterparts in the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, which have independent public health departments — said red-level reopenings are effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Orange and San Bernardino counties, on the other hand, said they planned to move ahead Sunday.

L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said the decision to wait until Monday “is really to give businesses some time” to prepare and appropriately modify their operations, as necessary.

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“We want them to understand what the requirements are, have some time to put those things in place,” he said during a briefing Friday.

So what will change when the county releases its latest health order? What will the restrictions be? Here is a breakdown:

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says hundreds of thousands of additional people will become eligible for shots beginning next week.

Restaurants

  • Restaurants will be allowed to serve diners indoors at 25% capacity.
  • Patrons must sit at least eight feet apart from other tables, and indoors, only one household with a maximum of six people per table is allowed. Restaurants can allow up to six people per table from three households to dine together at tables outdoors.
  • Restaurants need a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system “in good working order” and, to the greatest extent possible, should increase ventilation.
  • It’s recommended that all workers interacting with customers indoors are given N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield.

Davis, the Los Angeles County health officer, cautioned that eating in a restaurant’s indoor dining room is still risky. If eating at a restaurant, dining outdoors remains safer, he said Friday.

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“People are susceptible to this virus. There are variants that are circulating in our county,” Davis said. “Many of those can be more easily transmitted, and some may be causing more severe disease.”

The risk of dining indoors at restaurants is one reason why L.A. County is requiring that those eating together live in the same household. It is permissible, however, for people from up to three households to dine at the same table outdoors.

Davis said it’s probably better for people who are at high risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 to avoid dining inside at a restaurant. It would be prudent to “take some caution as we continue to move forward,” he said.

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Gatherings

  • Private gatherings will be allowed with up to three separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated would be able to gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without masking and distancing requirements.

Other venues

  • Museum, zoos and aquariums could open indoors at 25% capacity.
  • Gyms, fitness centers, and yoga and dance studios could open indoors at 10% capacity with a masking requirement for all indoor activities.
  • Movie theaters could open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least six feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.

Shopping

  • Retail and personal care services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
  • Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.

The deal is good news for working parents of elementary school children, who can remain on campus all day. Union members will vote next week.

Schools

  • Institutes of higher education can reopen all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing, which remains under current restrictions for the spring semester.
  • Schools are permitted to reopen for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.

LAUSD

  • The Los Angeles school board on Thursday unanimously approved a deal with the teachers union that aims to reopen elementary schools in mid-April and middle and high schools in late April or early May.
  • Students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade can remain on campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week. The caveat is that at least half of the instruction will either remain online or be spent on work that does not involve live interaction with a teacher.
  • Elementary school students would have the option of returning to campus Monday through Friday for three hours of live, in-person interaction with their teacher and classmates. In-person classes will take place during the morning session, and an early-afternoon session would be for students who remain in full-time distance learning.
  • Children who attended in person in the morning could either go home or move to on-campus day care in the afternoon. All would have assignments to complete during the hours of the school day they are not with their teacher.

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