And, on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom banned all “non-essential” public gatherings of more than 250 people.
But Metro is still running. Most public schools are still in session. Major museums have not shut their doors.
While life in Los Angeles has not ground to a halt, the new coronavirus has dramatically curbed the way Angelenos get around, and the places they visit.
“We’re not at the point of closing down all activities for everybody,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told reporters today.
But she cautioned, daily routines—especially those conducted outside of the home—need to be modified. That includes limiting close physical contact to at least six feet, a practice known as “social distancing.”
“We’re going to ask everybody to tolerate some discomfort… but we have confidence that if we do this well and we do it together we may in fact be able to slow the transmission,” she said. “But we have to act now.”
The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County climbed today to 32, she said, noting that the number will surely rise. As that happens, the response will likely ramp up too. Here’s how things are going down in LA, including closures, public transportation provisions, and updates on gatherings.
California cancels large events: The state has ordered “non-essential” gatherings to be limited to no more than 250 people. Smaller events can proceed if organizers implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
What’s a gathering? The state defines it as any event or “convening” that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or large conference room.
Metro “strengthens” cleaning at transit hubs: The region’s transit authority says it’s stepping up its cleaning of major transit hubs and is cleaning buses and trains daily. To keep yourself and those around you safe, Ferrer urges riders to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after boarding. If you show signs of illness, however, you shouldn’t ride at all.
Hand-washing stations deployed at some homeless camps: More than125 hand-washing stations are being distributed today citywide. The city is also working with the county health department to determine ways to quarantine people living in shelters, if necessary.
Museums, libraries remain open: Some public programs have been canceled, but all branches of the Los Angeles Public Library, as well as LA’s major museums—The Broad, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Getty Center—are open.
City leaders weigh eviction moratorium: In San Francisco, Supervisor Dean Preston has pledged to prevent landlords from booting tenants based on loss of income due to COVID-19. Now Los Angeles may follow suit. Several Los Angeles City Councilmembers are working on legislation that will be introduced Tuesday to halt evictions and utility shut-offs.
Airports are open: Despite a ban on travel from Europe, flights are still operating in and out of Los Angeles International Airport and Burbank Airport. Contact your airline for updates on flights (and refunds). At LAX, where a medical screener has tested positive for COVID-19, officials say terminal restrooms and public areas are being cleaned hourly and “deep cleaning protocols” are now in place for “high touch” areas such as handrails, escalators, and elevator buttons.
Coachella postponed, Disneyland closed: Two of Southern California’s biggest attractions are trying to avoid crowding. Effective Saturday, Disneyland will close both of its Orange County parks through the end of the month. Meanwhile, the big desert festival, typically a springtime affair, has been rescheduled for October.
Working from home: A slew of local companies, including Vox Media, have asked employees to telecommute in lieu of going into an office. Here are some choice tips on how to work from home—without losing your mind.