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LA Boosts Frequency Of Red Lights, Launches Food Pickup Zones For Cars

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With Los Angeles and the nation in economic crisis and our streets eerily empty, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced new measures tonight:

  • To slow drivers tempted to speed, traffic signals will be set to a "late night schedule," meaning red lights will cycle through more frequently.
  • To help restaurants survive, special parking zones for temporary food pickup are being rolled out with new signage in Los Angeles.

These new measures were announced by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in his nightly address on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first measure is designed to help restaurants that may be struggling because they can no longer serve dine-in clients and now rely on people picking up orders for themselves or deliveries for others. Garcetti said he was aware a lack of parking was keeping some people away from certain restaurants.

The new food pickup zones come with signage that is being provided free of charge, and businesses can sign up to apply for that designation at ladot.lacity.org/pickupzone.

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The second measure is a response to reports of people taking advantage of fewer cars on the road to speed. Fortunately, collisions are actually down, according to the mayor. Garcetti said the area's seen a 59% decrease in vehicle crashes and that statewide data shows crashes been halved since stay-at-home orders were put into place.

But Garcetti also said he wanted to provide further protections for pedestrians and drivers, and that the more frequent red lights are intended to slow people down. He reminded drivers that speeding is still against the law and that you'll still be ticketed.

"KEEP YOUR RESPIRATORY DROPLETS TO YOURSELF"

Garcetti and L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer appeared together to deliver a now-unified message that the city and county are now both recommending people use homemade face coverings if they must go out.

Garcetti said you should "keep your respiratory droplets to yourself" and that making a facial covering can be simple:

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"They can be made from bandanas or scarfs, things like this that you have at home, folded, we're seeing all sorts of amazing innovative ways where people can take just a simple scarf and a couple rubber bands and make your own, or order them online."

But Garcetti and Ferrer stressed that covering your face does not mean you can now freely go out and visit closed parks and beaches.

For runners, Ferrer clarified that you don't necessarily need to cover your face if you go alone, but runners — and any other people who go out — still need to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing at all times.

YOU DON'T NEED AN N95 OR SURGICAL MASK

Garcetti made a point not to use the term "mask." In fact, Ferrer said "there isn't a single person in the general public that needs an N95 mask."

"These are fitted masks. They're really only needed for people who are performing certain procedures in a medical setting or in a first responder setting. So please, please, please — I beg you — don't go and look for an N95 mask. They're in short supply, and we have to make sure that our health care workers are able to access them and have them so that they can continue to protect all of us and provide us all with services when we or the people we love are sick and need health care."

Surgical masks are also in short supply. These are masks worn by essential workers at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, shelters, congregate feeding programs, home visiting for frail and medically ill people, Ferrer said.
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What's an N95 mask look like? This:

5e8698e3b18a9b000a3f60bc-eight.jpg
A member of the medical staff listens as Montefiore Medical Center nurses call for N95 masks and other critical PPE to handle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April 1, 2020 in New York. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

And here's a surgical mask:

5e8698e2b18a9b000a3f60bb-eight.jpg
Picture taken in San Salvador on April 1, 2020 of a surgical mask, which became one of the most demanded and scarce products in the market due to its relevance to cover nose and mouth for the containment of the pandemic caused by COVID-19. (Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images)

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