L.A. County businesses and parks start to reopen as region remains epicenter of California’s COVID-19 outbreak

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Some non-essential businesses in Los Angeles County were allowed to reopen Friday as the region moved into the second stage of reopening its economy.

The businesses that may reopen are bookstores, clothing stores, florists, music stores, sporting good stores and toy stores, but only for curbside pickup for phone or online orders. Car dealership showrooms will also be open for sales.

All open businesses must adhere to distancing and infection control protocols, according to the county, and they are required to post a sign with a checklist of compliance. Businesses must provide cloth face coverings to all employees that are in contact with others and to ask everyone entering to wear a face covering.

Meanwhile, parks and trails will reopen on Saturday, with social distancing and facial coverings required and no group gatherings allowed. Golf courses will also be open, with no more than four players per tee time.

Angelenos must continue to wear a face covering when they leave their home, wash hands throughout the day and stay six feet apart from people outside their household, the county noted in their reopening guidelines.

Although parts of the the city, county and state are starting to reopen, it will still take months, and probably the rest of year, before life feels normal again, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his coronavirus briefing Thursday.

“We still cannot hold gatherings. We still cannot get together with people outside our households,” he said. “And we’ll be in this new reality as we move from reacting to this crisis to trying to build a safer and stronger L.A.”

The L.A. County Public Health Department reminded the public that reopening the county would only work if people are careful, continue to practice social distancing, wear face coverings when out and wash their hands frequently.

“As we begin this journey of recovery, some of us will be going back to work, and some of us will just be out and around more people,” the county’s public health director Barbara Ferrer at a briefing Thursday, adding that just because some businesses open up, doesn’t mean people should go out. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re now living in a post COVID-19 world.”

As the county begins to reopen, it remains the epicenter of California’s outbreak, accounting for nearly half of all reported coronavirus cases and fatalities. As of Thursday, 29,427 people in the county tested positive for the coronavirus, and 1,418 people had succumbed to the illness.

Officials warned of a possible spike in the number of coronavirus cases if safety protocols aren’t followed.

“It is a good idea to act as if anyone could be infected with #COVID19 and that you could also be infected,” the department said in a tweet.

Ferrer encouraged those who spot a business in L.A. County that is not complying with the protocols to call 888-700-9995.

Those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms can sign up to get tested at any of the county’s nearly 40 testing sites for free.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed the state’s stay-at-home order Thursday, allowing retailers and manufacturers to reopen Friday with new safety measures and setting strict criteria for counties to meet before opening up restaurant dining, malls and offices.

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