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Everyone In LA Must Stay Home — Unless You Need To Golf, Go Christmas Shopping Or Shoot A Music Video

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A woman wearing a mask shops in Beverly Hills on November 23, 2020. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
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Editor's note: An updated version of the city's new stay-at-home order was published on Thursday. We've embedded that newer document, which seems to be an attempt to clear up the confusion and consternation of the earlier order.

In a video briefing Wednesday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new "targeted" safer-at-home order for the city. It comes a couple days after health officials enacted a countywide order amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases.

"My message couldn't be simpler: it's time to hunker down," Garcetti said. "It's time to cancel everything, and if it isn't essential, don't do it."

This new order supersedes an earlier revised order, issued in June, and directs all Angelenos to remain in their homes and avoid all public and private gatherings with anyone outside their household although there are many exceptions. (More on that in a moment.)

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Garcetti called on the city attorney and police department to "vigorously enforce" the order. Failing to comply could constitute fines and jail time, according to the mayor.

In the initial order, travel "on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit was prohibited." That was a source of confusion all over L.A., summed up perfectly in this TikTok video:

The updated order states that "passive outdoor activity and recreation," including walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and "other personal mobility devices" are exempt from the order.

The now-14-page order includes nine pages of exceptions for a variety of business, recreation and religious activities.

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Here are some highlights that we've pieced together so far:

  • Essential Services — Health care services, supermarkets, retailers, gas stations, auto repair, banks, hardware supply stores, handyman services and laundromats are just a few of the exempt sectors.
  • Most businesses can't operate between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., in line with the curfew that was enacted last month.
  • City parks and trails remain open although playgrounds are closed.
  • Piers are closed, but beaches are open for active recreation, like swimming and surfing (no sunbathing).
  • Most city "sports facilities" have also been ordered to close. This includes basketball courts, baseball fields and volleyball courts.
  • Youth sports leagues can continue their events.
  • Golf courses, tennis courts and pickleball courts can remain open if they adhere to county health guidelines.
  • Music, film and television production is allowed to continue.
  • Hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors can continue operating indoors at 20% capacity.
  • Gyms and other fitness facilities can operate outdoors only at 50% capacity. Indoor facilities remain closed.
  • We shouldn't have to say it but we will: Face coverings and social distancing rules still apply.
Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist and professor of medicine at UCLA’s school of public health, agreed that the recent orders have been confusing but said we should remember that shelter-in-place orders do work:
"When you actually stay home and you limit your movements around, COVID cases do actually come down and hospitalizations come down."

At the same time, Brewer told our public affairs show AirTalk that many of the rules related to specific types of businesses are not strictly based on data, but rather are attempts to extrapolate from what we do know.
"So what we do know is that transmission is much more likely to occur indoors rather than outdoors. We know that transmission is much more likely to occur if people are close together than if they're farther apart. If they are not wearing facial coverings ... and if they go out when they're sick, transmission is more likely to occur."

Brewer said there's no data, say, comparing the specific risks of going to a nail salon versus dining outside. He said public health officials are trying to strike a difficult balance between limiting transmission and allowing people to maintain their livelihoods, especially when so many are facing economic hardship.

"I think right now we're kind of at the very-high-concern level and maybe pushing the restrictions farther than we have data to support them," Brewer said.

Either way, in addition to staying home as much as possible, Brewer stressed the importance of what you can do to limit coronavirus transmission, like wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance whenever you do have to go out.

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Pasadena's public health director, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, echoed Brewer's appeal to observe the precautions we already know work.

"I know people are battling with pandemic fatigue, pandemic resentment. But what we have to point out is that this is a time when we have to try to address that within ourselves and really take responsibility and change our actions. Because we can go on two paths: we can keep going up, risk our health care resources being limited — and for all of us, for any healthcare needs that we might have, not just COVID — or we can turn this around. And we've done it before, so I know we can do it."

Also speaking on AirTalk, Goh said she was as disappointed as everyone else when she had to cancel her Thanksgiving plans. She said she had planned to visit her sister's family along with her own children, but as the situation changed they decided against going.
"We just wanted to lower our risk, even though strictly speaking, the rules we had in place at that time would have allowed that kind of a limited visit. So I'm hoping that as we go forward that people will be able to make those common sense choices."

You can read the full updated order for yourself here:

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