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Morning Briefing: Reopening Churches, And The Question Of Community

A banner dedicated to the employees at Brier Oak on Sunset hangs over the entry way. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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I’m not a particularly religious person, so I don’t pretend to understand the decisions of those with more faith than myself. But I’m nevertheless left scratching my head upon reading that no fewer than 1,000 California pastors have announced that they’ll defy state orders if restrictions aren’t soon lifted on in-person services.

Maybe it doesn’t square with me because the community in which I grew up placed a lot of value on helping when someone got sick: bringing meals to the family, checking in, sending a thought or a prayer their way. Putting other folks at risk by flouting public health measures strikes me as a convoluted take on the purpose of fellowship.

In the before-times, I’d have said that it’s none of my business what other people do. But now, it is my business – it’s everyone’s business. Because we’re all in this together, until we’re not.

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Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 25

Robert Garrova has the story of the more than 1,000 mental health workers who have answered the call to volunteer services to frontline workers.

In Orange County, Asian American non-profits are trying to provide food-insecure Asian elders with culturally appropriate items such as rice and noodles, reports Josie Huang, as food banks give them refried beans and mac and cheese — items they would not normally eat.

As summer approaches, Sharon McNary asks, will public swimming pools be safe?

This week, California state prisons will once again start accepting new prisoners. Emily Elena Dugdale examines how the system plans to protect them and existing inmates from COVID-19.

With so many at home leaving their cars in the same place for longer stretches, car thefts are up in L.A. County, reports Frank Stoltze.

Forest Lawn has been commemorating Memorial Day since 1915. They weren't about to stop this year, reports Brianna Flores, even as the service moves online. We'll stream their celebration starting at 10 a.m.

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The Past 48 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now 45,017 coronavirus cases and 2,106 deaths in L.A. County, and at least 92,629 cases and 3,737 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are more than 5.3 million cases and over 344,000 deaths.

Splish Splash: At Venice Beach, there were about 70% fewer visitors than the holiday weekend would usually bring. Guidelines weren't universally followed, but no one in law enforcement seemed to mind. L.A. River's two recreational zones open today, with one major exception: No kayaking or other water activities.

Drinkin’ In The Streets: California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will allow dining establishments already licensed to sell alcohol to do it in outdoor areas adjacent to their business.

Reopening SoCal: Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties, as well as the town of Big Bear, are loosening stay-at-home restrictions. You won't be able to get free strawberry cake at the Garden Grove festival this year, but you can enjoy nature by pitching a tent in areas where camping is allowed. There's no such thing as a zero-risk outing, but here’s how you can weigh what to do as summer gets underway.

Let's Get Spiritual: A judge upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on in-person church services, but some pastors may move ahead with in-person prayer regardless. Saturday marked the end of Ramadan, but the celebratory dinners looked different this year.

Watch Your Speed: There may be fewer cars on the highway, but the CHP still upped enforcement over the Memorial Day weekend.

Social ‘Piss-tancing’: If the pandemic has made you even more wary of the public restroom, you're in good company. Even the head of the American Restroom Association says we're long overdue for an overhaul of our public facilities. "There's a new term out there," he said. "It's called 'social piss-tancing.'"

Your Moment Of Zen

AirTalk Senior Producer Fiona Ng's dog Sheriff admires the tortoises on the Caltech campus.

(Fiona Ng / LAist)

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