Help us rise to the challenge of covering the coronavirus crisis. Our journalism is free for all to access. But we rely on your support. Donate today to power our journalists.

Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):

LA's New Coronavirus 'Curfew,' Explained

Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in March. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Public health officials are warning residents that L.A. County is now facing "one of the most dangerous moments" in the pandemic so far, and could return to a version of the March stay-at-home order if numbers worsen.

Starting this Friday, November 20, nonessential businesses like restaurants, breweries, and retail stores must close at 10 p.m. and adhere to new occupancy limits. They will be permitted to reopen at 6 a.m.

Public health department officials don't want to label the new restriction a 'curfew' because businesses will still be allowed to operate take-out and pick-up operations after 10 p.m. -- just no in-person outdoor dining.

If the county averages more than 4,500 cases in a five-day period, a number Ferrer says will strain our the local healthcare system -- or if hospitalizations surge to more than 2,000 patients, authorities will impose a three-week return to the Safer-At-Home policy we experienced back in March. In that case, a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew would be mandated for everyone, except essential workers.

If the county averages more than 4,500 cases in a five-day period and hospitalizations reach 1,750 patients, all outdoor dining will temporarily shut down.

On Wednesday, the county reported nearly 4,000 (3,944 to be exact) new cases of COVID-19, the highest in a single day since July.

"We have taken action in the past, and we worked together, both early on in the pandemic and in the summer, and we've been successful in preventing transmission in our communities," L.A. County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said at Wednesday's news conference. "We just have to get back to doing that work again."

The county also confirmed 36 new deaths from COVID-19.

Ferrer said health officials are concerned that increased cases could overwhelm the healthcare system. The idea of immplementing a curfew now is to prevent that from happening, rather than implementing damage control when and if it's too late.

If you want a visual of current uptick in case numbers, the L.A. Times has a great web tracker, with easy to understand data visualizations.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Here's What LA County's New Restrictions Mean For Restaurants

A closed table at The Den Cafe in Santa Ana on Tuesday following reimposed restrictions on indoor dining in OC. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

As coronavirus cases surge, Los Angeles County officials have announced a set of stringent new restrictions that go into effect this Friday, Nov. 20.

The new rules impose a curfew on restaurants, wineries, breweries and bars and they limit the number of people these establishments can seat. The rules also limit the size of social gatherings.

When the new restrictions go into effect, here's what they'll look like:

  1. Restaurants, wineries, breweries and all other non-essential businesses must close by 10 p.m. They can open for service at 6 a.m.

  2. For restaurants with outdoor service, outdoor dining capacity is limited to 50%.
  3. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 15 people from no more than three households.


In 'Remarkable' Turnaround, California Schools Can Expect Huge One-Time Windfall Next Year

(Andrew Reed/EdSource)

An uneven recession savaging low-income Californians, but a surprisingly fast economic rebound advantaging higher-income Californians, will create a huge unexpected state budget surplus that will provide an unexpected $13.1 billion in one-time revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported on Wednesday.

While tempering its forecast because of the pandemic’s unpredictability — “despite being our best assessment, our main forecast will be wrong to some extent” — the LAO’s report documents what it calls a “remarkable” turnaround.

K-12 schools and community colleges are entitled to about 40% of General Fund revenue, which could exceed forecasts by $26 billion — or even a lot more — the LAO forecasts, according to the nonprofit education website EdSource.

The projected $13.1 billion increase for Proposition 98, the formula that determines revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges, would be 18.5% next year. It would far surpass the previous record of $6.3 billion and 10.3% in 2014-15, the LAO said.

Districts shouldn’t assume that will result in pockets bulging with cash, however. To avoid budget cuts this year, the state issued $11 billion in IOUs, called deferrals, in which it’s forcing districts to borrow or use reserves, with the promise that the state will repay them next year for money owed.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature could decide to end the deferrals and once again be on track with its payments next year.

Doing so could eat up part or nearly all the $13.1 billion. The LAO is endorsing that conservative budgeting approach.

The projected total state surplus is possible because the budget the Legislature passed in June assumed dire forecasts. While unemployment is still 16%, the highest since the Great Depression, the budget assumed 25%.

And while workers earning less than $20 per hour have borne the brunt of layoffs, high-wage Californians, particularly in the technology sector, have been relatively unaffected. With the stock market soaring, state revenue, primarily from personal income taxes and capital gains, is up 22% — $11 billion — after a little more than a third of the current fiscal year.

This story was originally published by EdSource.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Despite Favorable Ruling, Uncertainty Surrounds DACA For Next Several Weeks

Kathia Garcia is a DACA recipient; young immigrants like her and others wishing to apply faced new restrictions this summer. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Immigrants in the embattled DACA program got good news this past weekend when a federal judge ruled in their favor. But uncertainty still surrounds the Obama-era program which covers close to 200,000 young people in California.

The ruling invalidates the orders of acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who in July issued a memo whittling the renewal period for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from two years to one year.

That meant participants would have had to pay double what they used to pay in renewal fees, which are about $500 per application, in seeking protection from deportation and work authorization.

Under Wolf's direction, the agency also refused to accept new applicants. But a federal judge in New York said Wolf, who jumped over the order of succession to ascend to his position and was never confirmed by the Senate, could not lawfully add new restrictions to the program.

DACA has been in limbo since the Trump administration tried to end it in 2017. In June, the Supreme Court ruled that DACA may continue, but the administration kept pushing restrictions.

This latest ruling doesn’t yet mean that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees DACA, will accept new applicants, said Jean Lantz Reisz, who co-directs the USC Immigration Clinic.

"There's no guarantee that USCIS would even process these applications in the next nine weeks for new people," Reisz told KPCC's Take Two. "But then we have a change in administration."

President-elect Joe Biden has said he will reinstate DACA in his first 100 days.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

LA Area Lawmakers Fly To Maui To Mingle With Lobbyists During The Pandemic

File: A general view of the Fairmont Kea Lani during the 2010 Maui Film Festival in 2010 in Wailea, Hawaii. (Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Maui Film Festival)

A number of California legislators — including at least two from Southern California have reportedly decided to wave off the state’s spiking COVID-19 numbers, and Governor Newsom’s travel advisory, to attend a conference in Hawaii with lobbyists.

Assembly members Wendy Carrillo (D-Boyle Heights) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) are among those apparently attending the annual Independent Voter Project event, which is typically attended by lawmakers and lobbyists.

Politico was first to track down the evidence: Carrillo posted a tweet on Sunday with a geolocation tag indicating it was sent from Kihei, Hawaii. In a recent campaign finance filing, Rubio reported spending more than $1,600 on Hawaiian Airlines tickets.

The 2020 version of the yearly shindig is being held at a luxury hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui. (It looks nice! You can get a room with bed and breakfast for $639 per night.) Several major lobbying interests, including the Western States Petroleum Association, skipped the event because of non-essential travel restrictions.

Hawaii currently requires travelers to be temperature-screened at the airport and show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their flight to the islands. The incubation period for the virus is several days, and medical experts, including the CDC, recommend a 14-day quarantine if you come into contact with someone who’s been infected.

Independent Voter Project’s executive director, Dan Howle told the San Francisco Chronicle that about 120 people are attending the event this year, including fewer than 20 lawmakers from Washington, Texas and California. The Independent Voter Project paid for their airfare and a five-night resort stay.

Howle told the Los Angeles Times that Rubio was the only California legislator in attendance to give him permission to confirm her presence at the conference.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

Palmdale Says It's The Best Home For U.S. Space Command

Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs is U.S. Space Command's temporary HQ. (Duncan Wood/U.S. Air Force)

Palmdale is urging the Pentagon to select it as the headquarters of the new U.S. Space Command.

The city is competing against communities in 26 states; the winner stands to gain some 1,400 jobs and $1-2 billion in federal money just to construct the agency's headquarters.

Palmdale officials point out that some call the Antelope Valley "Aerospace Valley" because of its long history with aeronautics and spacecraft.

Palmdale saw the first flight of the SR-71 Blackbird back in 1964. The space shuttle was built there. There are street signs that read Columbia and Challenger.

"[I]f Space Com comes here, this seriously could be the center of the aerospace universe," said Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Morning Briefing: Racial Profiling At USC

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning, L.A.

USC joins the never-ending list of institutions facing allegations of failing their Black and Brown communities. In a new report, LAist contributor Sofia James details instances in which non-white students are repeatedly stopped and searched by officers from the school’s Department of Public Safety, asked for IDs when their white friends are not, policed while socializing, and more.

"DPS definitely creates a hostile environment on campus," said USC sophomore Jonathan D'Aguilar. "They watch us closely, more closely than they watch any other students on campus."

The story, which was reported by the university’s Beacon Project, echoes those posted on @black_at_usc, an Instagram account started over the summer for students and alumni to share their experiences.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, November 18

Josie Huang will unpack what happens next with DACA, following the weekend court ruling that invalidated President Trump’s restrictions from this summer.

The official headquarters of the new U.S. Space Force is the Pentagon. But a large share of the department’s work will be done at the U.S. Space Command, for which the government is now trying to find a location. Recently, Robert Garrova visited Palmdale – one of the communities vying to be named the nation's next "Space City."

Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.

The Past 24 Hours In LA

California Kids: In Orange and Ventura Counties, this week’s move to the coronavirus’ purple tier means more complications for already complicated school reopening plans. The general public can weigh in this Friday on California’s new plan for early childhood education.

Climate Change: The L.A. City Council energy and environment committee took a step toward shutting down a natural gas-burning power plant in Sun Valley.

Money Matters: In L.A., where unemployment is at 15%, 50,000 households that were current on their LADWP bills in March have now fallen behind by three months or more. Cerritos cafe Bakers and Baristas fuses Filipino cuisine, fine dining and Fruity Pebbles (plus, heroic resourcefulness) to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Election 2020: Two weeks after the close of polls on Nov. 3, the race for California’s 25th congressional district remains too close to call.

The Industry: Movie theater owners used to enjoy tremendous clout, but the pandemic has turned the tables. The newly-published This Was Hollywood looks at "forgotten stars and stories" from Hollywood's golden age.

Photo of the Day

A student at Lee Elementary School in Los Alamitos enters school on the first day of hybrid classes.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy