Despite being home to just a quarter of the state’s population, Los Angeles County as of Sunday has reported about 50% of known COVID-19 cases in California. So as the state begins the next phase of its four-stage reopening plan, the county is also following its own roadmap specific to the region.
L.A. County has passed the initial phase of its five-step plan. It involved the start of the safer-at-home order, which is set to expire on May 15, and planning for recovery.
The second phase began on May 8 with curbside service at some retailers and the reopening of florists, auto dealerships and many recreational areas.
Here are the places that have reopened this week, and what’s next in L.A. County’s recovery process.
While grocery stores and other businesses deemed essential have remained open since the county implemented its safer-at-home order in March, other places had to shut down for weeks. Starting May 8, Friday, the following businesses were allowed to reopen for curbside service as long as they follow social distancing and infection control protocols:
- Clothing stores
- Music stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Toy stores
- Car dealerships: Showrooms are open for sales.
While botanical gardens are closed for Mother’s Day on Sunday, other local, community and regional parks are staying open for active use such as walking and jogging.
Social distancing rules remain in place, and group gatherings are still prohibited, according to L.A. County Parks and Recreation. Spokeswoman Dora Nunez says the department is deploying park monitors in popular areas to remind visitors of the rules, which also apply to the following recreational spots that reopened May 9, Saturday:
- Trails: Runyon Canyon is still closed indefinitely, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said on May 6. The Canyon Trail at Placerita Canyon and the San Dimas Canyon Trail also remain inaccessible, according to the county. Click here for more information on hiking rules.
- Golf courses: Renting clubs, group play and tournaments are still prohibited. Click here for more information on golfing rules.
Stage two includes other areas that don’t have a set timeline yet:
- Outdoor recreation: Beachgoers are still waiting to visit L.A. County’s shores, but the Department of Beach and Harbors said beaches will likely reopen as early as May 13, Wednesday, for activities such as swimming, kayaking and walking. Lounging won’t be allowed, a department representative said.
- Other low-risk businesses: Other retailers, manufacturing and offices
- Libraries, museums, galleries and other cultural centers
The county also lists “essential health care” as one of the areas that will resume “soon,” but did not specify which services it refers to. The safer-at-home order says it doesn’t prohibit health care operations at hospitals and clinics.
Officials have yet to decide on the timeframe for the next steps in the county’s five-stage plan:
- Higher-risk businesses: body art studios, massage parlors, bars and nightclubs
- Movie theaters
- Bowling alleys
- K-12 schools: The L.A. Unified School District has announced that it will start the next school year on Aug. 18, but it’s unclear if classrooms will reopen by then. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has brought up the idea of dividing classes.
- Colleges and universities: How local colleges will operate next semester remains unclear, but Cal State Fullerton in Orange County has announced going remote for the fall semester. Meanwhile, the University of California system is considering reopening just 1/3 of its dorm rooms.
• Entertainment venues
• Large conventions
• Sporting and spectator events
The last stage entails “fully normal operations,” but officials have warned that a new normal will still involve precautionary health measures.
A second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak appears to be inevitable, experts have said. How bad it will be will depend on the public’s adherence to social distancing rules and authorities’ ability to track cases, according to L.A. County’s top health official, Dr. Barbara Ferrer.