foxnews– Los Angeles County health officials issued a new safer-at-home order Friday that includes stricter limits on going out and gatherings, as daily coronavirus cases surge.
The order goes into effect Monday and will run through Dec. 20 as cases of COVID-19 swell to disturbing levels. Officials warned that additional measures would be imposed if the county’s five-day threshold of new cases exceeds 4,500 or if hospitalizations reached more than 2,000.
Currently, 1,893 people remain hospitalized and 387,793 cases have been reported in the county.
On Friday, the county health department reported 4,554 new cases and 24 deaths. The current five-day average is 4,751 cases.
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Under the new order, residents are being asked to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear a face covering outside.
Public and private gatherings with anyone outside one’s household are prohibited. Religious services and protests are exempted. Occupancy limits for retail businesses will be capped at 35%, malls at 20% and 50% for fitness centers.
Health officials raised concerns about a spike in transmissions before the Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming holidays next month.
“With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our health care system,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county health director.
Face coverings must be worn for all outdoor recreation activities as well, except swimming. Beaches, parks and trails will remain open.
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Golf courses, tennis courts, skate parks and bike parks are open for individuals or groups from the same household. Playgrounds, except those located in child care facilities and schools, will close.
Earlier this month, the county ordered all restaurants to suspend indoor and outdoor dining for three weeks, prompting backlash and the California Restaurant Association (CRA) to seek a court order to halt the mandate.