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The New LA Etiquette Of Social Distancing And Your Latest COVID-19 Updates

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With the global health crisis comes a new set of behavioral questions. Chief among them: What do you do if you see someone not practicing social distancing?

The question came up on our coronavirus Facebook group and on our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk with Larry Mantle. As it turns out, opinions are as varied as the circumstances in which one might need to ask the question. Some folks said to just let your neighbors be; others suggested a stern talking-to.

But what’s at issue isn’t just the potential awkwardness of the moment. In a pre-COVID-19 world, American society treasured its individualistic, everyone-for-themselves ethos. Now, we’re being asked to stay home, in part, to protect the most vulnerable among us. Does that mean that our expectations for holding others accountable have changed, too? Do we carry more responsibility for one another's actions than we did before?

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Let us know what you think in our Facebook group or on Twitter. Meanwhile, here’s today’s news:

Coming Up Today, April 15

Caroline Champlin interviews U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez, the co-chair of Congress’ Oversight Committee, about the Trump administration's request for census-related deadline extensions.

For decades, the Black Collegians Club at Santa Monica College has provided in-person support to African American students on campus. Now, reports Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, COVID-19 is threatening those gains.

Libby Denkmann reports that a hoped-for Democratic win in the race to replace Katie Hill in CA-25 is looking like less of a sure thing.

Medi-Cal expects a huge increase in the number of people signing up come May 1. Jackie Fortiér has the story of how one major Medi-Cal provider in L.A. is preparing for the onslaught. She also explores what public health and disease experts think of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan for opening up the economy.

Stephanie O’Neill provides more reporting on the ongoing legal fight by advocates for juvenile detainees in L.A. County to release more kids — "as many as possible, as fast as possible" — from detention and protect them from the spread of COVID-19.

The Past 24 Hours In LA

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L.A., California, The World: L.A. County now has 10,047 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including seven crew members aboard the USNS Mercy and one resident at a Santa Monica board and care home for people with mental illness. There are over 24,000 cases in California, and more than 2 million worldwide.

New Day, New Rules: Effective immediately, face coverings are required in any grocery store or pharmacy in L.A. County, and stores can turn non-compliant customers away. But what do you do if you see someone breaking the rules?

Angelenos’ Bank Accounts: The Walt Disney Co. has furloughed 30,000 employees. County officials approved measures to protect L.A. renters. Stimulus checks will start hitting bank accounts soon, and we asked Eva Rosenberg (aka the Tax Mama) who can expect their Coronabucks soon, and who might run into some hangups.

California Dreamin’: If California meets certain official requirements over the next two weeks, Newsom will provide a timeline for lifting the stay-at-home order in early May. To help high school seniors who are a few credits short of a diploma, LAUSD is partnering with local community colleges.

COVID In The Courtroom: Gun stores have tried to fight orders to close, but lost twice. Two juvenile law advocacy organizations filed a petition requesting more juvenile detainees be released. Three Southern California churches that want to keep holding in-person services have sued Newsom and other officials, and a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Southern California claims that conditions at a San Bernardino ICE facility make social distancing impossible.

L.A. Restaurants: There's no target date yet for when restaurants in Los Angeles might reopen, but whenever they do, dining out will be a very different experience.

Beyond Streaming: For many people, there's never been more free time than during the pandemic. So what exactly are we doing with our daily schedules now that they've gone the way of handshakes and hugs?

In Non-COVID-19 News

Naason Joaquin Garcia, facing prison for rape, lewd acts upon a child and more, isn't simply the leader of the religious group La Luz del Mundo. The organization's millions of followers believe Garcia to be God's only living apostle in what they call the one true Christian Church — just like his father and grandfather before him. We examine why observers say the charges he faces may actually be strengthening his church.

Your Moment Of Zen

A coronavirus-themed burger is pictured at the Pizza Home restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. LAist Food Editor Elina Shatkin got a moment of levity from the pic and shared it with the rest of the newsroom.

(Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.