In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a 10pm business curfew in Los Angeles County, then a similar one issued by the state, followed by an outdoor dining ban in L.A. and then a new Targeted Safer at Home Order. And now there’s yet another new public health order to keep track of—one that doesn’t change much in L.A., but does dramatically impact our neighbors.
On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new series of regionally-based stay-at-home orders. California has been broken up into five regions, and once ICU capacity within an area falls below 15%, all counties within it will be subject to the new restrictions, which ban gatherings with those outside of your own household and close or reduce capacities at a couple of industries. In addition, all non-essential travel is now restricted statewide. Once triggered, the new rules are set to remain in place for a minimum of three weeks.
Newsom, who referred to the order as “pulling that emergency brake,” projects that Southern California will hit that threshold within the next day or two. For the purposes of the order, Southern California includes Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Inyo and Mono Counties.
Here in L.A., very few things will change as a result of the state’s order: Hair and nail salons and other personal care services will need to shut down. Hotels should be reserved for essential workers and travelers only. Newsom also said that wineries will have to close, but it’s unclear yet if that will bar takeout at tasting rooms, which is currently allowed in L.A. Otherwise, all of the other closures and changes are already covered by L.A.’s local orders.
But for neighboring counties—and Pasadena, which runs its own health department and has kept outdoor dining open—the state’s announcement introduces some significant changes: Retail businesses (including non-essential ones) can remain open but will be limited to 20% capacity, while restaurants will be forced to close dine-in service and must revert to takeout only. But unlike this spring’s stricter orders, this new state one will keep schools and outdoor spaces like beaches and trails open.
In fact, Newsom specifically focused on the importance of still allowing Californians to get outdoors. As a result, parks, beaches, hikes, bike rides, fishing, walks, outdoor fitness, running and skiing are unaffected (unless a stricter local order says otherwise).
By mid-December, it’s likely that all of California will have hit the threshold for this new regional stay-at-home order. It’ll remain in effect for at least three weeks; afterwards, regions will be reassessed weekly and can shed the order once ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. At that point, counties will then be reassigned a color-coded tier from the state’s existing reopening framework (purple, red, etc.).
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