Los Angeles County health officials on Thursday released the timeline for reopening nail salons, indoor malls and outdoor cardrooms and for when elementary schools can apply for waivers to open their doors.
Nail salons can reopen for indoor services first, on Thursday, but at 25% capacity and with officials urging owners to keep outdoor services an option as long as possible.
Next, on Oct. 5, cardrooms can reopen for outdoor gaming only and without serving food and beverages.
That same day, school waiver applications for in-person learning for students in grades TK-2 will be available online. The health department will review applications for only 30 schools each week and will prioritize issuing the waivers to schools with the most students qualifying for free or reduced meals.
On Oct. 7, indoor shopping malls can reopen at 25% capacity, but all food courts and common areas have to stay closed.
Outdoor playgrounds can reopen whenever the cities they’re in or the L.A. County Parks and Recreation Department allow, county officials said.
There’s still no date for when breweries and wineries serving meals can reopen outdoor operations. “We anticipate this process will be completed in a week,” the health department said Thursday.
The county is releasing comprehensive protocols for all sectors that reopen, officials said.
L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the goal is to have a staggered approach to reopenings.
“As more sectors reopen and more students attend in-person classes in L.A. County, we must be sure that every business or sector that is re-opening complies with 100% of the safety directives,” Ferrer said in a statement. If the new re-openings result in increased community transmission, our recovery journey may need to slow down.”
Businesses that choose to reopen would have to implement infection control and distancing protocols prior to welcoming customers back to avoid citations, fines and possible closure, health officials said.
L.A. County recorded a total of 271,371 coronavirus cases with 6,610 COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday.
The county announced the reopenings in a Wednesday news conference, with Ferrer saying the county has avoided a major Labor Day coronavirus surge and continues to see a decline in COVID-19 hospitalization rates.
But even as more spaces open in the county, Ferrer warns that there is heightened risk for coronavirus transmission with every reopening.
L.A. County still lingers in the purple tier — the most restrictive phase of the state’s four-tier, color-coded system for reopenings.
Once the county advances to the red tier, the state will allow L.A. County to reopen schools and other sectors.
The county would have to bring its coronavirus case rate back down to 7 cases or fewer per 100,000 residents, and stay at that rate for two weeks. L.A. County’s case rate stood at 7.3 Wednesday, officials said.
While Ferrer on Wednesday said L.A. County expects to remain in the purple tier for “at least another three weeks,” the state later added a COVID-19 equity requirement that could affect when L.A. County would move to the less restrictive tier.