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LA Has A New 'Safer At Home' Order And It Starts Today

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A nurse at a Nov. 23 vigil outside UCLA Medical Center for health care workers who died from COVID-19. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
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As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge, L.A. County officials on Friday afternoon issued a new safer-at-home order that bans public and private gatherings with people not in your household, except for church services and protests.

The order goes into effect Monday, Nov. 30, and lasts three weeks, until Dec. 20.

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It allows most businesses that were open to remain open, but it reduces their maximum occupancy. Playgrounds and cardrooms must close.

Schools and day camps can remain open as long as they stick to reopening protocols, but if they have a COVID-19 outbreak (three or more cases over 14 days), they must close for 14 days.

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Patty Sanchez wears a mask to protect against coronavirus as she exercises in a San Fernando park on on Nov. 24. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The new order urges everyone to stay home as much as possible, and to cover their mouth and nose when in public. Here are the other details:

  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least six feet of distance:
    • Essential retail (such as grocery stores) - 35% maximum occupancy (currently it's 50%)
    • Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) and libraries - 20% maximum occupancy (currently it's 25%)
    • Personal care services - 20% maximum occupancy
    • Fitness centers operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
    • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
    • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities, all of which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
    • Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
    • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
    • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.

Earlier this week, county officials halted in-person service at dining and drinking establishments, requiring restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries to return to only takeout, delivery and drive-through.

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On Friday, L.A. County's Department of Public Health confirmed 4,544 new cases of COVID-19, 24 new deaths from the virus and 1,893 current hospitalizations. That put the five-day average of new cases at 4,751, above the 4,500-threshold officials had said would trigger a new safer-at-home order.

The infection rate has risen dramatically over the past month; officials now estimate that one out of every 145 L.A. County residents are infected with COVID-19.

The spike in cases has health officials worried that hospitals -- and their staff -- will be overwhelmed by sick patients.

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