We’ll give you the good news first, Angelenos: We’re doing it, we’re helping to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases. But the bad news: Well, we’re going to have to keep at our social distancing for at least a little while longer.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health announced on Friday that its safer at home order will be extended through at least May 15.
“We’re extending the health officer orders… not because everything everyone has been doing hasn’t been working… it’s because it is working,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “But we still have a ways to go in order to both protect the lives of people who live in our county and to make sure that our healthcare system remains fully able to service all those who need its care.”
The order’s extension means the continuation of some restrictions that most of us are already used to: All indoor and outdoor public events and gatherings are banned, and beaches, trails, trailheads and playgrounds are closed, as are non-essential businesses.
A few new amendments have also been added to the order, including once that says essential businesses must provide all employees who work around other employees or the public with a cloth face covering, and to visibly post how they’re sticking to a physical distancing and cleaning plan. This is similar to a recent City of Los Angeles order, which also required to both customers and employees at non-medical essential businesses to wear cloth masks.
To be clear, you can still go outside for some fresh air—either along or with members of your household—as well as to get or provide essential services.
“I’m as sad as you are to note that this is not the time to lift [the order],” said Ferrer. “But I also am really hopeful… because people are heeding the directives, we have in fact seen what now we can confirm is the flattening of the curve in a way that’s actually saving lives and allowing us to have a chance at making sure that our healthcare system remains able to serve all who need care. But because there are so many people that are infected in L.A. County, and because there’s still so much spread, we have to continue keeping ourselves physically apart from each other for the next few years.”
The county detailed that if we were to stop staying at home or social distancing right now, we’d push the data of peak infections back, but we wouldn’t actually lower the number of cases. In fact, by August 1, virtually all residents in the county would have been exposes or infected with the virus. But with stay-at-home measures still in place, we’ll push that infection rate down to about 30%, and with even stronger measures as low as 10%.
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