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A collage shows two hikers walking along a trail with a cut-and-pasted sky in the background.
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The 5 Most Important Things To Know About The Outside World
or: How I Learned To Start Worrying And Love The Couch
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Consider this list your pandemic Cliff's Notes.

Because it's all too much.

Here are the crucial five things to know if you're considering venturing off into the land beyond your door — or if you have to.

One

Don't go out there if you don't have to. Stay-at-home orders for L.A. County have no specific end date. Restrictions have been "gradually relaxed" along the way, but many have also been reinstated (by the state 😬).

Read the County Health Officer Order, which is regularly revised. It lays out expectations and boundaries. The July 18 update says the order's current intent is "to ensure that County residents remain in their residences as much as practicable."

Two

If you do have to go out there, remember that face coverings are mandatory. You're required to wear one anytime you're anywhere outside of your home and interacting with people you don't live with — in public, in private, outdoors.

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If no one is around, keep a mask in your pocket in case other humans appear.

Face coverings are more about keeping respiratory droplets from getting out, than in. They're worn to protect other people. And while officials can't enforce virtue, they can enforce violations.

Three

Social/physical distancing is in effect. This means maintaining space around yourself in all places outside of your home unless otherwise noted and addressed via protocols. Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don't live with. Stay at least 6 feet away from people you do live with if they are quarantining or isolating.

Four

You are not allowed to go out there (except for urgent medical attention or testing) if you have:

  • A confirmed case of COVID-19. You are required by L.A. County to stay home for at least 10 days and follow the steps in the Emergency Isolation Order. Also, expect a call from a contact tracer about where you've been and who you've seen. Be helpful. Your confidentiality is protected.
  • A fever with a cough or shortness of breath. You are presumed to have COVID-19 and you are required by L.A. County to stay home for at least 10 days and follow the steps in the Emergency Isolation Order.
  • An exposure to the coronavirus. You are required by L.A. County to stay home for a full two weeks and follow the steps in the Emergency Quarantine Order.
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Five

Understand the scope by looking at the latest COVID-19 data. Globally, confirmed cases are in the double digit millions with more than a half a million deaths. In L.A. County, there have been more than 178,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,400 deaths.