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California Lets Restaurants Sell Carryout Booze — But Most Can't Do It Anyway

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Red wine bottles on display at a liquor store in Stockholm, Sweden on December 19, 2013. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

The state agency that oversees liquor distribution in California has temporarily relaxed its rules to let restaurants sell alcohol for off-site consumption. That means you, the consumer, can now buy beer, wine or pre-mixed cocktails from a restaurant as long as you're buying the booze with food (which you are, of course, picking up or getting delivered) and it comes in a container with a secure lid or cap.

Note: There are a few additional restrictions but nothing onerous.

This is something that restaurants and bars can't normally do so salud, right? Not exactly.

It's a great idea in theory. Alcohol sales can account for up to a third of a restaurant's sales. Plus, alcohol is less perishable than food and generally has a higher profit margin. So allowing restaurants that are already hurting due to the coronavirus shutdown to sell takeaway liquor to customers is, in the words of one bar owner I spoke to, "a no-brainer." And we're following in well-trod footsteps. New York loosened its liquor laws when it shut down its bars and restaurants earlier this week.

Yes, here in California, we can buy booze in lots of places. Temporarily changing liquor laws like this isn't about ensuring consumer access to alcohol but about trying to do something, anything, to help restaurants during the pandemic. So what's the problem?

For many restaurants, selling carryout liquor isn't a state problem — it's a local one.

Liquor distribution is controlled by a patchwork of regulations. California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issues the many, many, many types of licenses you could potentially secure if you're selling alcohol. (A liquor store, for example, will have a very different kind of license than a wine bar.) In Los Angeles, restaurants already have licenses that allow them to sell alcohol to-go. So why aren't they doing it?

Because Los Angeles, both county and city, often add conditions to an establishment's permits limiting the hours they can stay open and forbidding the sales of alcohol for off-site consumption. These local restrictions don't fly out the window just because a state agency loosened its rules.

So. A handful of restaurants may benefit from ABC's temporary rule change but unless municipalities follow suit and loosen their regulations, it won't help most restaurants in Los Angeles.

UPDATE MONDAY, MARCH 23: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city was relaxing rules on delivery of alcoholic beverages and will now allow establishments that also serve food to do so

2020 California Elections: The COVID-19 Edition

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Just last month this didn't seem life-threatening (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Social distancing is coming to an election near you, Southern California.

Governor Newsom issued an executive order late tonight that extends the deadline for counties to certify election results by 21 days, to April 24. (The Secretary of State then has until May 1 to certify the entire statewide primary.)

Newsom also ordered counties to send mail-in ballots to every voter in three upcoming special elections:

  • A May 12 election to fill the vacant 25th Congressional District seat in North L.A. County left empty when Democrat Katie Hill resigned
  • A May 12 election to fill the 28th state senate district office vacant after Republican Jeff Stone stepped down
  • An April 7 special recall election in the City of Westminster.

In-person voting will also be available “in a manner consistent with public health and safety.

READ THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER

The order is in response to COVID-19 precautions — designed to make sure voters don't have to go in-person to cast a ballot.

Also, "[t]his will give county elections officials the time to complete their vote counting and required auditing while adhering to public health guidelines,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a statement.

Padilla also hinted at more changes ahead for the general election in November:

While the impacts felt by the current health pandemic are developing on a daily basis, the Secretary of State is reviewing options for the safe and healthy administration of the November General Election.


SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

Now We're Sure: Lacey And Gascon Head To A Runoff In LA's DA Race

Updated
Published
Photo credits, L-R: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Damian Dovarganes/AP; Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Almost all the votes have been counted, and we can now report that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and former San Francisco DA George Gascon will meet again in a November runoff.

The Registrar’s office estimates there are only about 20,000 votes left to be counted, and with more than 1.7 million votes already tallied, there’s no longer a mathematical possibility for Lacey to attain the 50%-plus-one she would need to win the race outright.

Lacey stands at just under 49%, while Gascon has 28%. Former public defender Rachel Rossi finished in third place, with 23%.

Here are the exact numbers as of Friday:

Candidate Votes %
Jackie Lacey
862,303 48.71
George Gascon 499,182 28.20
Rachel Rossi 408,689 23.09

“I am honored that hundreds of thousands of voters made their voices heard to fight for a compassionate criminal justice system that protects crime victims and prioritizes treatment over incarceration for those with mental illness,” Lacey said in a statement.

“In these uncertain times of global crisis, it’s all the more important that we have a real conversation about keeping our community safe, and I look forward to continuing that conversation in November,” she said.

For his part, Gascon said in a statement that “We can no longer afford -- either socially or economically — for our barometer of justice to simply revolve around punishment. This dated approach has come at untold costs to victims, taxpayers and rehabilitation, and it has not made us safer.”

He said his record as San Francisco DA “demonstrates that we can reduce crime, incarceration, and system costs simultaneously, and if elected in November we will do it again.”

GO DEEPER:

Some City Workers Uneasy With New Role On Front Lines of Coronavirus Crisis

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(Courtesy Los Angeles Metro)

Earlier this week, Mayor Garcetti announced the city would open 42 new homeless shelters at recreation centers around the city to slow the spread of coronavirus. Thirteen of them opened Friday.

To staff those centers, the mayor is invoking a rarely used provision of California law: the Disaster Service Worker (DSW) Program. The law has never been put in practice by Los Angeles leaders before, according to a city report.

Now, city workers who spoke to LAist say they’re uneasy about what they may be asked to do in response to the threat of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“It’s definitely the right thing to do,” said one city employee who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their job. “But it’s also really scary to think of what we’re gonna be exposed to.”

All public employees in the state sign an agreement when they’re hired to be “Disaster Service Workers” who can be called on to support relief efforts in the city after a fire, earthquake, or similar crisis. Anyone assigned under the law must be working within their scope of training and abilities -- so non-medical personnel would not be asked to provide medical treatment, for example.

The city worker said they remember agreeing to be reassigned in case of emergency when they were hired, but at the time, the possibility seemed far-off.

“It’s the fine print -- you think, ‘oh yeah, that’s never going to happen.’” they said.

Now the coronavirus crisis feels very close to home: “It’s hard. But it’s also the job that I agreed to take, and a job that provides me very good benefits.”

“I hope that people in the city can appreciate what this means to those of us that have to come to the front lines,” the worker said.

In an audit released last year, L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin criticized the city for not providing refresher trainings to public employees about their obligations under the DSW program. Galperin recommended regular drills to keep city employees prepared in case they were called in for duty.

More than 400 city staff will be needed to run the new rec center shelters -- many will be temporarily assigned from the Parks Department and receive special training.

LAist reached out to the city's Personnel Department for more information about re-deploying city workers under the DSW program. We did not hear back in time for publication.

LAUSD Actually Gave Out 183K Meals On 2nd Day And Then Upped That To 247K Today

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Parents drive up with their children to pick up meals at a Grab and Go food center in Boyle Heights. Chava Sanchez/Laist

The Los Angeles Unified School District — like many others around Southern California — has closed all of its campuses in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Recognizing that many students rely on schools for meals, the district opened 60 "grab-and-go" food centers on Wednesday, where volunteers and staff are handing out free breakfasts and lunches to kids from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

On the first day of the program, LAUSD staff and volunteers handed out 40,247 meals, the district says.

The second day, schools Supt. Austin Beutner tweeted that the number had more than doubled, to 92,493 meals distributed.

Then, today, the superintendent clarified in a tweet that the number of meals given out yesterday was actually far greater than he initially reported: more than 182,000.

And on the third day of distribution, that number jumped even higher, to 247,106 meals – breakfasts and lunches – given to students.

"The 92,000+ number we provided yesterday was actually the number of people served, not the number of meals," a district spokesperson explained in an email. "The updated figure of 182,000+ is the actual number of meals -- breakfast and lunch -- that were distributed. The meal count is the figure we'll be using going forward."

According to a district spokesperson, the 60 grab-and-go meal centers are staffed by more than 1,200 volunteers and district staff from the Red Cross, Beyond the Bell, LA's Best, food services, and other parts of the district.

HERE TO HELP:

LA Mayor: 'This Was The Week That Changed Everything'

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File: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shows a Memorandum with COVID-19 city department guidelines on Thursday, March 12. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti began his remarks tonight with a succinct description of how monumental recent days have been:

"Good evening, Los Angeles. It's been a long week, hasn't it been? This was the week that changed everything."

His remarks came at the end of the first day of his "Safer at Home" order. Garcetti used his daily coronavirus update to praise Angelenos who've stepped up to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

He also urged everyone in the city — young and old — to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But he says you can still leave your home to do what has to be done.

"You can keep filling up your gas tank. You can keep picking up your medications. There is plenty of food — a great time to cook. There's no need to over buy for you or for your family because grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores will remain open. And you can still order food from restaurants for takeout, delivery or drive-through."

Garcetti also reminded those who are feeling sick to call their doctor first – and wait for medical advice before heading off to a doctor's office, an urgent care center or an ER. The mayor also announced the city plans to launch a new website to help people who've lost jobs during the coronavirus crisis to find new work.


SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

LA Metro Is Staying Open, But Cutting Some Service

Updated
Published
Chava Sanchez/LAist

L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is reducing some bus and rail service because of the dramatic coronavirus-related drop in ridership.

Metro has lost "50 to 60 percent" of its daily riders, CEO Phillip Washington said at an online media briefing. "People are doing exactly what they're supposed to do."

Riders should check Metro's service advisory webpage and rider alerts Twitter feed for possible changes.

MORE ON METRO'S PLANS:

LA Metro Ridership And Sales Tax Revenue Are Plummeting Because Of Coronavirus


SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19
We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.
We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

LA County Official Urges Schools To Close Through May 5. Long Beach Now Says May 4 Is Earliest Return

Updated
Published
A message from Corona Ave Elementary about the school closure is posted at doors around campus. Chava Sanchez/ LAist

Los Angeles County's top education official has asked all schools to cancel in-person classes through May 5 as part of an effort to contain the coronavirus.

In a statement today, L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo also said there was "potential" that schools might not re-open during this academic year at all.

Duardo said it would be up to each school district to decide whether to extend their current closures.

All 80 L.A. County school districts are currently closed. Around 30 of those districts — including the state's largest, L.A. Unified — have only outlined plans to close through next Friday, March 27.

But the county's second-largest district, Long Beach Unified, had already planned to close through April 17. A notice that went out to parents this afternoon, said LBUSD, which serves more than 70,000 students, will now be closed until at least May 4.

Want to see how long your school's currently closed for? Check out this long list from the county.

In LA's Chinatown Restaurants: 'Every Day Has Been Bad'

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The Far East Plaza in Chinatown is deserted on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Josie Huang/LAist

Coronavirus has thrown the Los Angeles restaurant industry into a tailspin. The city had already restricted establishments to take-out and delivery, when on Thursday Gov. Gavin Newsom made those rules statewide.

Many restaurateurs in L.A.'s Chinatown got a taste weeks ago of what was to come.

Joe Liu, co-owner of Golden Lake Eatery, said business started plummeting at the beginning of March as many of his Asian patrons began to self-isolate.

Community leaders also say xenophobia kept non-Asian customers away from Chinatown for fears of contracting COVID-19.

Whatever the reason, Liu went about 20 to 30 customers at his Cambodian Chinese restaurant pre-coronavirus to a handful of orders a day, if he's lucky.

Yesterday he'd been open five hours with only one order for delivery.

“Every day has been bad!” Liu said in Mandarin.

Liu’s story is now that of almost every restaurant in Los Angeles.

READ THE FULL STORY:

These Charts Break Down COVID-19 In California. 1K Cases And Climbing

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A student wears a face mask to protect against the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as he leaves the campus of the UCLA college in Westwood, California on March 6, 2020. - Three UCLA students are currently being tested for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) by the LA Depar

It’s not easy to keep perspective in a pandemic. To help provide context, we’ve rounded up data on the coronavirus in California.

The chart below shows confirmed cases of the virus in states with more than 4.5 million residents. You can see the early cases in Washington state, the sharp rise of cases in New York, and California’s more gradual — but still extremely, extremely concerning — growth in cases in recent days.

Don't be deceived by that gradual-seeming line: The number of California cases has risen dramatically in recent days, and is now over 1,000. That has prompted unprecedented action from Governor Gavin Newsom, who yesterday ordered all Californians to stay home.

Keep in mind that these numbers, which come from the COVID Tracking Project, reflect confirmed cases, and that the shortage of tests means these numbers are certainly lower than the actual number of cases.

Federal officials have advised that the number of cases could grow dramatically in coming days.

The California Department of Public Health has also been publishing data breaking down the age groups of those infected. It shows that the majority of people infected in the state are adults between 18 and 64. Californians over 65 have been directed to home isolate by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The state’s department of health has also broken down how cases have been acquired. These numbers do not include the passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland, or positive tests from federal repatriation flights.

GO DEEPER:

SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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The Toll On LA's Street Vendors

Updated
Published
(Erick Galindo/Chava Sanchez for LAist)

All the street vendors that usually bring Boyle Heights sidewalks to life are gone.

It doesn't feel good. For a second, I can't breathe and I wonder if I got it. I woke up feeling what I assume or hope is a cold. Maybe allergies. Maybe it's just paranoia.

But for a moment, I'm drowning. My lungs stick together and I'm sure I have coronavirus. Then tears start coming out of me.

And I realize, it's not COVID-19. It's despair. It just hurts to see Los Angeles this way.

Read the latest Mis Ángeles column from Erick Galindo:

California Waives Co-Pays For COVID-19 Tests, Opens Special Enrollment Period

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Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee. (Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

If you don’t have health insurance, now would be a good time to get on board.

In an effort to get more Californians covered during the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials say they're extending the enrollment period for everyone to June 30. If they have to, they'll extend it even further. That applies not only to Covered California but also to the entire individual health insurance market.

Enrollment for Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid for those with lower incomes, is already open year-round.

CO-PAYS WAIVED

Health officials also say they're waiving all co-pays for COVID-19 testing, no matter which insurance plan you're on, including employer-provided plans. That waiver extends to residents in the country illegally, a limited number of whom may be able to find coverage under Medi-Cal, they said. Currently immigrants without legal status may apply for Medi-Cal if they are under 26 or age 65 and over.

The news came in a press call featuring Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee, director of the Department of Health Care Services Dr. Bradley P. Gilbert, and California's Medicaid Director Jacey Cooper.

Lee said all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 is free of charge via telehealth, doctor's visits, and in-network emergency room or urgent visits, whether through Medi-Cal or the commercial market. Both Covered California and Medi-Cal can also help cover the costs associated with COVID-19 treatment, including hospitalization, he said.

The state is spending millions on an ad campaign to get the message out and to remind people that California has an individual mandate. There is a tax penalty for those who don't have insurance, said Lee.

Here's Where To Go For Help With Food, Money And Other Necessities

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Breakfast packs with a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, cereal, fruit, and milk. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Many Angelenos are facing difficulties getting their basic needs met as a result of the rapid changes brought about by the coronavirus.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of places that are offering financial assistance, food for adults and kids, and more. We'll be updating it regularly.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is encouraging people whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak to apply for unemployment or disability. And the federal government recently passed a bill requiring employers to pay sick leave and family leave. Read our guide on that here.

    For additional information, check out these maps we put together of school sites and community centers offering free meals for kids for pick-up.

    You can also review this crowd-sourced list of resources in Los Angeles (note: this is an external list that we have not vetted).

    Please reach out if you have a question, or know of a resource that's not on our list.


    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19
    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.
    We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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    DON'T MISS ANY L.A. CORONAVIRUS NEWS

    Get our daily newsletter for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.


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    Support our free, independent journalism today. Donate now.

    Travel Suspended Between US And Mexico; School Standardized Testing Won't Be Enforced

    Updated
    Published

    Non-essential travel will be suspended between the U.S. and Mexico, President Donald Trump announced alongside members of the White House coronavirus task force Friday morning. The closures take effect at midnight.

    The restrictions join those announced earlier this week for travel between the U.S. and Canada. Trump said both the northern and southern borders are being treated equally.

    Trump said that he applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as New York's governor, for the steps they're putting in place to deal with coronavirus. Task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci also praised the governors.

    The Department of Education won't be enforcing standardized testing with students in kindergarten through 12th grade this year, Trump said.

    All interest on federally owned student loans has also been waived, according to Trump. Payments have also been suspended with no penalties. Trump promised more good news for those with student loans to be announced at a later date.

    President Trump said he is invoking the Defense Production Act to help get N95 masks and ventilators to the states.

    Vice President Mike Pence spoke about efforts to make more ventilators available, as well as announcing a federal purchase of additional N95 masks.

    Responding to concerns about senators who sold stocks following briefings about coronavirus by saying that he thought all of the senators involved were honorable people, but that he doesn't know about it. He also specifically named California Sen. Dianne Feinstein as someone whose name he had heard being involved.

    The president said that talks related to the coronavirus with the Senate are ongoing.

    As announced earlier, federal tax day is moving to July 15, Trump noted.

    White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx noted that the fatality rate in Italy for coronavirus was twice that for men as for women.


    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

    We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

    Community Health Clinics Move To Telehealth During Coronavirus Outbreak

    Updated
    Published
    More clinics are moving to telehealth to avoid transmission of the coronavirus. Alyssa Jeong Perry/LAist

    Public health officials are urging doctors to take visits over the phone or videoconference, known as telehealth, in an effort to slow the transmission of the novel coronavirus.

    But for federally qualified health centers (FQHC) who serve a lot of low-income patients, it’s traditionally been difficult to get reimbursed by Medi-Cal for telehealth. Now that may be changing.

    THEN CAME CORONAVIRUS

    Some clinics in Los Angeles, like St. John’s Wellness Center in South L.A., have scrambled to start telehealth — even if they don't get reimbursed.

    St. John’s started a week and a half ago implementing telehealth, mostly reaching their patients through the messaging service WhatsApp. Since then, St. John’s CEO Jim Mangia said they have done about 4,000 visits through telehealth.

    “We are able to screen patients, we are able to triage them based on their risk," Mangia said. "We can assess whether they need to come in for a visit.”

    But it’s not cheap to do visits this way. Mangia estimates they've spent $80,000 in just the week and a half.

    REIMBURSEMENT ON THE WAY?

    This week, Governor Gavin Newsom and health officials asked the federal government to lift the tough restrictions on billing for telehealth for federally qualified health centers.

    Now, California is waiting for approval from the federal government.


    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

    LAist is known for our events listings but now hopefully we'll be known for our non-event listings and tips for parents to try to keep you sane. And we're looking for your nominations for everyday heroes in this time of crisis. We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

    You Now Have Until July 15 To File Your California And Federal Tax Returns

    Updated
    Published
    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Here's one less thing to worry about as we all hunker down at home working together to try to stem the spread of COVID-19 we have more time to file your federal tax return, so tax season is now fully extended into the summer for California residents.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Twitter that President Trump directed him to move the federal income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15.

    "All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties," he said.

    California's Franchise Tax Board had announced Wednesday that it was postponing its deadline to July 15.

    Mnuchin urged anyone who might have a refund coming their way to file now to get their money sooner.


    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more. We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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    DON'T MISS ANY L.A. CORONAVIRUS NEWS

    Get our daily newsletter for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.


    Terms of Use and Privacy Policy


    Support our free, independent journalism today. Donate now.

    Here's What You Can And Can’t Do Under The Stay At Home Order

    Updated
    Published
    Hikers in Malibu last March. This is still OK, but please adhere to social distancing protocols. (Mario Tama/Getty Image)s

    Our friends at the Long Beach Post have put together this helpful list (which we organized into categories and made some additions to).


    You can still go on walks. You can still go to the grocery store. You can still pick up food from restaurants (to-go orders only). Take your pet to the veterinarian. Visit your doctor or pharmacy. Help someone else get supplies.

    Los Angeles County and state officials on Thursday, March 19, issued a stay at home order to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Under this new “safer at home” order — and the governor’s order given minutes later—gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.

    For gatherings that aren’t prohibited, people must be separated by at least 6 feet, have a hand washing station or hand sanitizer available and post a sign notifying people not to come if they have a fever or cough.

    Malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses are ordered closed. Gyms, movie theaters, bars and wineries were ordered closed on Sunday. People can still exercise outside and go on walks or hikes.

    [UPDATE: Sunday, March 22: Over the first weekend under the new orders, many parks, beaches and hiking trails remained crowded, prompting a clamp down by a number of authorities. On Sunday:

    The order went into effect at midnight Thursday and is punishable by fines or imprisonment. Here's how the City of L.A. puts it in an FAQ on the orders:

    Q: Is this order mandatory? What happens if I don’t comply?

    A: Yes. This is a legally enforceable order. It is against the law to violate this Order, and you may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.

    That said, asked at yesterday's news conference if you should call the police if you see someone violating the orders, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti stressed that the countywide goal was to have a "light touch," not to to march people into jail:

    There are never going to be enough county or cities workers to be able to quote unquote enforce this. This is on 10 million people to self enforce, and for us to look where there are those holes and make sure that those are closed quickly.

    Residents can expect everything but “essential businesses” to be closed and for workers whose jobs don't fall into that category to stop reporting to work. Let's take a closer look at what that means.

    ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES INCLUDE:

    Places that sell or produce food:

    • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, pet supply stores, farm and produce stands. This includes stores that sell groceries and sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety and sanitation of homes.
    • Restaurants and beverage facilities that prepare and serve food or beverages, but only for delivery, drive-through or carry out.
    • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock and fishing.

    Places with medical purpose:

    • Home-based care for seniors, adults, people with a disability, or children.
    • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, people with a disability, and children.
    • Cannabis dispensaries with a medicinal cannabis license.

    Media outlets:

    • Newspapers, television, radio, magazine, podcast and other media services.

    Core life services:

    • Gas stations, and auto-supply, auto-repair and car dealerships.
    • Banks and credit unions.
    • Hardware stores, garden nurseries, building supplies.
    • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
    • Personal grooming services. [Note: Initially, the L.A. City order and L.A. County order were different on this point. They were not considered "essential" by the City of L.A.; the L.A. County order was broader and included them. Of course, that raised questions about what kind of service could be provided while maintaining 6 feet of distance. By Saturday March 21, county officials clarified that grooming service, including hair and nail salons, are not considered essential.]
    • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential businesses.
    • Businesses that supply office or computer products needed by people who work from home.
    • Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.
    • Businesses that ship, truck, provide logistical support or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences, essential businesses, healthcare operations, essential infrastructure.
    • Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living.
    • Businesses that provide parts and service for essential infrastructure.
    • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.

    Childcare for essential workers:

    • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted to work. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions: (1) Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) Children shall not change from one group to another; (3) If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other; (4) Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

    Places that provide shelter:

    • Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities.
    • Homeless shelters and social services for economically disadvantaged people.

    Places that educate:

    • Educational institutions (including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities) for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of 6-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.

    Military/defense contractors/FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Centers).

    • Essential personnel may leave their residence to provide any service or perform any work deemed essential for national security including, but not limited to defense, intelligence and aerospace development and manufacturing for the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and NASA and other federal government, and or United States Government departments and agencies. Essential personnel include prime, sub-primes, and supplier contractor employees, at both the prime contract level and any supplier levels at any tier, working on federal United States Government contracts such as contracts rated under the Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS) and contracts for national intelligence and national security requirements.

    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

    LAist is known for our events listings but now hopefully we'll be known for our non-event listings and tips for parents to try to keep you sane. And we're looking for your nominations for everyday heroes in this time of crisis. We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

    Map: Confirmed U.S. COVID-19 Cases Continue To Climb, LA County Jumps To 292

    Updated
    Published
    
    

    Note: You can see Saturday, March 21's post on the latest numbers here.

    Los Angeles County health officials announced today that the number of confirmed local cases had jumped to 292, in part a reflection of increased testing.

    That meant there were 101 new cases in the last 48 hours. That includes 12 cases reported by Long Beach and two others in Pasadena, both cities with their own health departments.

    Authorities stressed that the median age of those infected is currently 47.

    "I'm going to start trying to present this data so that everyone can understand that the risk is spread across everybody who lives here in L.A. County," said Barbara Ferrer, the county health director. She stressed that younger people may have a better chance of recovery but are "one of the largest groups of people" testing positive for COVID-19.

    The local uptick comes as cases continue to grow in the U.S. and a number of other countries experiencing large-scale outbreaks. The map above shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries and is updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.

    As of late today, here are the total confirmed cases for the 10 countries currently facing the worst outbreaks:

    1. 81,229 China
    2. 47,021 Italy
    3. 21,571 Spain
    4. 19,848 Germany
    5. 19,644 Iran
    6. 19,624 United States
    7. 12,623 France
    8. 8,652 South Korea
    9. 5,544 Switzerland
    10. 4,014 United Kingdom

    These numbers are changing rapidly and experts have warned that confirmed cases are far under the actual total of infected individuals. For more detail check the full tracker, which includes death tolls and projections of cases on the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering site. Engineers there are collecting data from:

    Our friends on the L.A. Times data desk are tracking cases in California by surveying "numbers released by the dozens of local health agencies across the state." As of late morning, the newspaper is reporting California has:

    • 1,241 confirmed cases
    • 24 deaths

    [Note: If you hit a paywall on the full tracker an embed on the L.A. Times homepage provides topline numbers.]

    Yesterday state and county officials ordered the vast majority of Californians to stay home and practice social distancing — limiting interactions with other people, washing hands frequently, and staying six feet away from others.

    Remember, the goal of social distancing is to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.

    Source: CDC, Drew Harris (Connie Hanzhang Jin/NPR)

    The more we can slow the rate of infection, the less overwhelmed the hospital system will be.

    Here's a look at nine scenarios over six, nine, and 12 months from our friends at ProPublica:

    (Courtesy of ProPublica)

    And here's the impact on California hospitals:

    (Courtesy of ProPublica)

    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

    We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.


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    Morning Briefing: California Stays At Home – Chapter 1

    Updated
    Published
    A family enjoys El Segundo beach in Los Angeles, California on March 19, 2020. - The US government is now preparing for 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, including multiple waves of illnesses. The ominous announcement comes after cases in the US spik

    In an historic move, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to stay at home just one hour after L.A County officials, joined by the mayors of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Pasadena, gave the same mandate here. L.A. officials also reported the second death from coronavirus in the county, and Newsom requested more help from the feds, estimating that as many as 56% of Californians will get COVID-19 in the next eight weeks.

    In other words, s**t just got really, really real. And we’re right there with you; since last week, our newsroom has been working remotely, and our reporters, producers, social media mavens, editors and staff are scrambling to keep their kids fed/entertained, their relationships intact, their pets walked, and to keep from going completely stir crazy.

    With that said, we’re committed to continuing to bring you the most updated information as it happens, and to examine what this new lay of the land means in the lives of Angelenos. In that spirit...

    Look for these stories later today:

    • Josie Huang examines how Chinatown businesses and restaurants are faring in light of the coronavirus.
    • Adolfo Guzman-Lopez explains what college students need to know about their financial aid during the coronavirus-related shutdowns.
    • Are community clinics transitioning to telemedicine? Alyssa Jeong Perry explores.
    • Governor Gavin Newsom has mentioned help for nursing homes in confronting coronavirus. Jackie Fortiér asks, what is that help, exactly?
    • David Wagner talks to several businesses that are hiring during the coronavirus.
    • Even with the suspension of visitation, there’s a serious threat of illness spreading in jails and prisons. Emily Elena Dugdale talks to a man who spent 30 years in state prison and county jail and tested positive for norovirus during that time.
    • Edison has said people won't be cut off if they don't pay their power bills, however the utility company is still going ahead with planned outages. Sharon McNary reports.
    • Why are beans difficult to find in many supermarkets? Jacob Margolis looks at the bean supply chain in an effort to explain how our food gets to us.

    Here’s what happened in the past 24 hours:

    And finally, some light reading. While you’re home, why not brush up on your L.A. history?

    Your moment of Zen:

    A family enjoys El Segundo beach (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

    Help us cover your community:

    • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything >>
    • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know >>

    The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.


    SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

    We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

    LAist is known for our events listings but now hopefully we'll be known for our non-event listings and tips for parents to try to keep you sane. And we're looking for your nominations for everyday heroes in this time of crisis. We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.



    icon
    DON'T MISS ANY L.A. CORONAVIRUS NEWS

    Get our daily newsletter for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.


    Terms of Use and Privacy Policy


    Support our free, independent journalism today. Donate now.