Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States, will implement a host of new restrictions — including a curfew — in an attempt to slow rampant spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Tuesday evening.
Beginning Friday, restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries must close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., while all businesses allowed to operate indoors must limit their occupancy to 25 percent capacity. Outdoor dining will be limited to 50 percent capacity and personal care establishments — like salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors — must operate on an appointment-only basis. Outdoor gatherings are the only get-togethers allowed, and they must be limited to 15 people and three households.
The county is reporting nearly 2,900 new cases per day, according to its five-day rolling average. If that number hits 4,500, or if hospitalizations increase from about 1,100 to more than 2,000, the county will enact another lockdown — keeping all but essential workers home for three weeks.
“Los Angeles County is at a critical moment to save lives and curb the spread of COVID-19,” county public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “I urge our residents, businesses and community leaders to heed this warning and follow these heightened safeguards so that additional restrictions do not need to be imposed.”
The county’s announcement came the day after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced California would be “pulling an emergency brake” and rolling back many of the state’s reopening steps as new infections spread there at record rates.
“The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes,” Newsom said in a statement.