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New Overnight Stay-At-Home Order Starts Saturday In LA County (And Most Of The Rest Of California)

File: The downtown Los Angeles skyline at night on March 26, 2016. (Giuseppe Milo/Flickr Creative Commons)

A new stay-at-home order has been issued for all counties in the purple tier of California's reopening plan (purple signified the most serious coronavirus risk level). That includes all of Southern California, as the state sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, with case rates increasing 50 percent in the first week of November.

The order, which requires Californians to stay home at night, starts at 10 p.m. this Saturday. It prevents personal gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., as well as requiring non-essential businesses to close during that time. The state compared it to March's safer-at-home order, but unlike that one — which lasted all day — this one is only for the overnight hours. The state is referring to it as a "limited stay-at-home order."

You can still go to the grocery store or the drug store after 10 if they're open, walk your dog, or get takeout from restaurants that are open. People are also allowed to go to and from work at essential businesses, including those operating overnight. The state doesn't plan any initial enforcement, though local jurisdictions are allowed to decide on a county level to enforce if necessary — Ghaly said that the order is "enforceable."

This stay-at-home order is more limited than the one issued in March, California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a press conference, because the state has learned a lot about how the virus spreads since then. These factors include:

  • Masks protect both you and those around you
  • Moving things outdoors significantly reduces the risk of exposure and transmission
  • Even those without symptoms, who look fine, are spreading the virus
  • Roughly 12% of today's cases will be hospitalized in two to three weeks

"We know from our stay at home order this spring, which flattened the curve in California, that reducing the movement and mixing of individuals dramatically decreases COVID-19 spread, hospitalizations, and deaths,” Ghaly said in a statement.

But there's no promise this order couldn't tighten — according to Ghaly, the state may need to take "more stringent actions" if the curve isn't flattened quickly.

Why we need to flatten the curve. (California Department of Public Health)

The state sees activities conducted overnight as more likely to be non-essential, and also more likely related to social activities and gatherings that could lead to more COVID-19 spread. That's thanks to reduced inhibitions and reduced likelihood for wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance after hours, according to the state.

The order is set to remain in effect for one month, from Saturday, Nov. 21 until 5 a.m. on Dec. 21. Unlike the March stay-at-home order from the beginning of the pandemic, it only applies overnight and in purple-tier counties.

This is on top of an order that was already set to take effect this Friday in L.A. County, issued by our local health department, which will shut down non-essential businesses after 10 p.m.


There were 11,478 new cases in the state's latest COVID-19 daily reporting period, the highest seen in the current surge. That puts the state's seven-day average at 9,665. It's expected that 12% of all those current positive cases are expected to end up in hospital beds beds in 2-3 weeks.

The state's 7-day positivity rate is 5.6%, at 5% over the past 14 days. That latter number has gone up from 3.3% to 5% in the past two weeks — a 52% increase.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 63.6% over the past 2 weeks, while COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations are up 40.5% in that time period. There are 4,523 current COVID-19 hospitalizations. There are 1,155 current ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations.

L.A. County's new cases are up significantly, which Ghaly noted contributes greatly to the state's numbers. Our numbers were 1,513 new cases on Nov. 1, with 5,031 new cases reported today.

Officials are unsure when the current virus will peak, and what it will peak at.


There's no single culprit, according to Dr. Ghaly. But it's a combination of factors, including:

  • colder weather
  • more mixing
  • more opening
  • greater travel

Levels are higher across the state. Ghaly noted that this means that even your every-day activities are now riskier than they were a month ago, even if you're doing the same things.

He suggested a formula for figuring out your chance of being infected:

Figuring out your chances at being infected with COVID-19. (California Department of Public Health)

Ghaly reiterated a list of high-risk activities:

  • Activities where it's hard to mask the whole time, like eating and drinking
  • Activities where you see people you haven't seen recently — people outside your own household — including close family members and friends who you may know well on a personal level
  • Activities where it's hard to keep your distance, like playing board games or employees gathering in a break room and staff take their guard down
  • Activities that last a long time
  • Activities that don't allow lots of fresh air to circulate

"The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm," Gov. Newsom said in a statement. "It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again."

California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly spoke more about the new order:

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Can A Biden Administration Influence The Census? Maybe

A car caravan rolls through Oceanside to drum up support for the 2020 Census. (Caroline Champlin/LAist)

The U.S. Census Bureau is now double-checking the tens of millions of responses received from households across the country and filling in missing information. The Trump Administration wants the agency to finish that work by the end of the year -- before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.

But several lawsuits over the census are still developing, and with data processing problems cropping up within the Census Bureau, the first glimpse of 2020 data could be delayed into the next administration.

Here’s where these scenarios stand now, and what to watch for during the fraught transition between outgoing President Trump and President-elect Biden.



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Palmdale Doesn't Make The Cut In The US Space Command Competition

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

The new U.S. Space Command will not be based in Palmdale.

The city is not on the list of six finalists released today by the Air Force.

Palmdale was one of dozens of communities across the country to make a pitch to be Space Command's home.

The city felt it had a strong case, given its rich history with air and spacecraft — the space shuttle was built there.

The Air Force announced six finalists: Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The Air Force said it plans on picking the winner early next year.

It’s estimated Space Command will bring some 1,400 jobs and at least $1-$2 billion to the community that becomes its headquarters.


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LA County Hits Record High Of 5,031 Cases Of Coronavirus In Single Day

A waitress delivers orders to diners seated outside under tents at an Alhambra restaurant on November 17, 2020. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

L.A. County is reporting extremely high numbers of coronavirus cases, with 5,031 confirmed today.

That's according to Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis, who told reporters in a private media briefing that officials are "deeply concerned" about the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"New positive cases are both real and concerning," Davis said. "It's the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases we've reported without there being a backlog."

Davis said increased testing is not the reason we are seeing these high numbers.

Yesterday, health officials explained that if L.A. county reaches a five-day average of over 4,500 cases, we could go back to a Safer At Home order. As of today, we've hit a two-day average that meets this threshold.

"We still have a few more days to go. But if the numbers remain high, then potentially you know by Sunday we could have the five day average being higher than then what we would want to see, and would need to implement a safer at home order," Davis said.

A new 'curfew' for outdoor dining will take effect tomorrow (Friday). Davis said he's not yet sure how this curfew would be enforced and whether or not law enforcement will be involved.

Davis explained that the surge we're seeing now is greater than the one we experienced in late June/early July, when average daily cases increased by 43%. Between October 28 and November 10, the average daily cases increased by a whopping 68%.

"We're now seeing a much more rapid surge in cases than we saw in the summer with yesterday's and today's case counts," Davis told reporters. "Recently we've been receiving and investigating over 20 new outbreaks per day."

The county is also reporting 29 deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in L.A. County to 7,363.

"At this point, no one should be still underestimating the spread of this virus, nor should anyone be questioning the actions we still need to slow the spread," Davis said.

He recommended shopping early for groceries before the Thanksgiving holidays to avoid crowds, as well as avoiding family dinners with people from different households. He also advised against any holiday travel.

Davis didn't cite al fresco dining as a cause of the virus' surge, but he did advise against eating out in person. "While restaurants remain open for outdoor dining at limited capacity it is far safer to order from your favorite restaurant for pickup or delivery," he said.

Officals are hopeful that numbers will improve, but with the holidays approaching, there's a lot of uncertainty.

"In all honesty, we never expected or hoped that we would be in this situation at this time of the year," Davis said. "You know, we were really hoping that we would be in stage two by this time of the year in November -- getting our schools back open. But unfortunately we're not seeing that."

At 3 p.m., California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will hold a live video briefing to provide more updates.


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Governor: Don't Travel! Lawmakers: Hawaii's OK, Right?

A promotional shot for the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui Resort. (Screengrab from the hotel's website)

COVID numbers are booming in California and the Governor has issued a travel advisory asking people to avoid non-essential trips.

But at least eight state lawmakers, including two Los Angeles-area Assembly members, ignored the official advice, jetting off to Hawaii this week for a conference studded with lobbyists.

State Assembly members Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) are defending their decision to attend the annual Independent Voter Project “Business and Leadership Conference” at the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui.

Note: Carrillo is a member of the Assembly Health Committee.


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750,000 Californians Projected To Lose Unemployment Benefits Next Month

Graffitti covers a closed restaurant along Hollywood Boulevard on October 15, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to new research, nearly 750,000 Californians will lose their unemployment benefits next month unless Congress acts soon.

The sudden expiration of two federal pandemic assistance programs on Dec. 26 could put severe financial strain on thousands of households and potentially undermine California’s economic recovery.

“These benefits will be needed to pay for rent and necessities,” said UCLA economist Till von Wachter, co-author of a new report released Thursday by the California Policy Lab estimating the impact of the so-called “unemployment cliff.”

“We are looking at a large number of people who might be really hurting, and that is likely to hurt the overall economy as well,” he said.

Most of those losing benefits next month will be freelance and contract workers relying on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program that provides benefits to non-payroll employees who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance.

Others will be cut off by another expiring program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). That program extends unemployment insurance benefits for those who’ve exhausted their original claims.

Without further action from Congress, hundreds of thousands of Californians relying on both programs could be left to fend for themselves at a time when job prospects are low and COVID-19 cases are surging.


Three-Quarters Of A Million Californians Are At Risk Of Losing Unemployment Benefits Next Month

Morning Briefing: Restaurants Take Another Hit

Chairs up on tables at Grand Central Market, a scene that has quickly become a familiar sight. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Good morning, L.A.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in L.A., officials have clarified what the latest round of restrictions will mean for restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries.

Starting Friday, those businesses can open at 6 a.m. and must close by 10 p.m., and they will only be able to serve outdoors, where capacity must be limited to 50%.

The situation is similar to that facing some Southern California schools, which must rethink their reopening plans after many counties were bumped to a lower tier of permissible activities this week.

For smaller restaurants, mom-and-pop joints or newcomers, the pandemic has already been a brutal blow to business — now, it seems there’s no end in sight.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, November 19

Temporary unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act could end in late December for 750,000 Californians. David Wagner looks at the impact.

Check out a drive-through holiday experience, burn off quarantine calories at the Great Los Angeles Walk, watch Hollywood's home movies, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Money Matters: A surprisingly fast economic rebound benefitting higher-income residents could create billions in one-time revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021.

The Dreamers: Immigrants in the embattled DACA program got good news when a federal judge recently ruled in their favor, but uncertainty still abounds.

Palmdale, Space Odyssey?: Given its long history with aerospace, Palmdale officials believe their city has a strong case to be chosen as the headquarters for U.S. Space Command.

Bad Behavior: A number of California legislators flew to Hawaii for a conference with lobbyists, ignoring the state’s spiking COVID-19 numbers and Governor Newsom’s travel advisory.

Photo of the Day

Young immigrants such as DACA recipient Kathia Garcia, and others wishing to apply, faced new restrictions this summer.

(Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

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