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LA County Officials Target July 4 For Reopening (And Caution It's Not a Sure Thing)

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A couple meets last week for the first time since stay at home orders went into effect. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger says she wants to target the Fourth of July for a full or staged reopening of retail, restaurants, and malls in the county.

Barger gave that directive to the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force outlining a plan to get businesses open again under public health guidelines.

In a statement, she said the county's task force agreed prolonged businesses closures could cause permanent job and wage losses, and prevent many smaller businesses from reopening.

The county has had a "stay at home" order in place for nearly two months to slow the spread of coronavirus. The L.A. Economic Development Corporation says 75% of the jobs lost during that time are workers earning $50,000 a year or less — mostly in restaurants or retail.

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Barbara Ferrer, the county's director of public health, cautioned that while officials are aiming for July 4, it's not a sure thing:

"We have to do a lot of things right so that we can actually get to that date of July 4th. And I think that's certainly a goal we can reach, but we all are going to need to do our part, and we're still going to need to pay a lot of attention to what the data's telling us."

L.A. County has yet to meet a crucial state benchmark to move faster into the second stage of reopening. Counties recording an 8% positive rate for people taking COVID-19 tests for more than a week can move faster in the recovery process. Los Angeles County recently moved its positivity rate to 9%.

This afternoon, public health officials reported 76 new deaths, for a total more than 1,900. There were also another 1,183 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of cases in the county to nearly 40,000.

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