If you’ve had trouble keeping track of the slew of city, county and state governments over the past week in an effort to push back against the coronavirus pandemic, we don’t blame you. So we’ll skip the recap of the evolution of large gathering and dine-in bans and get straight to what you need to know now.
On Thursday, L.A. County issued what it’s calling a “Safer at Home” order. Effective midnight tonight, non-essential businesses in the county will be required to close, including museums (most of which are already closed), indoor malls and retail stores. This is in addition to already-in-place orders that have closed bars, gyms, theaters and entertainment venues across the county. Angelenos are also being asked to refrain from gathering in an enclosed space with more than 10 people. The order is slated to stay in effect until April 19, with the possibility for an extension.
UPDATE: Following the county announcement, Governor Newsom announced a similar measure for the entire state of California.
To be clear, this is not a nightmarish shutdown of the things you need to live, but more of a social distancing-strengthening act that urges Angelenos to limit trips outside of the house to essential activities. You can continue to pick up a takeout meal or order delivery. You can still go to the supermarket. And, yes, you can still head outside and go for a walk (the press conference for the order started with the clarification that “safer at home” does not mean isolation).
Essential government, healthcare and food industry services will continue to operate (this includes spots like supermarkets, farmers’ markets, pharmacies, gas stations, transportation services, banks, hardware stores and even businesses considered essential at outdoor malls). But even these places must institute social distancing policies—gatherings under 10 people must have clear access to hand washing, and people with signs of respiratory illness must not be allowed to enter the space.