Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged people to refrain from traveling and stay home ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, announcing a new fine for travelers who fail to acknowledge the state’s travel advisory.
“Please, let us not make this Thanksgiving the deadliest day of this pandemic,” the mayor begged. “We often think of love as being with someone who we love. We know this year, love is not being with someone that you love.”
Although he urged people not to travel, the mayor announced that those travelling into Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport, or Union Station, will have to sign a mandatory “Traveler Form” prior to arrival. The form acknowledges that travelers have read and understood California’s travel advisory. Failure to submit the form may result in a fine up to $500.
Garcetti also said that the city’s coronavirus testing sites will be closed on Thursday and Friday due to the holiday.
And he reminded Angelenos that “a test is not an excuse to go to somebody else’s house for Thanksgiving.”
The mayor’s briefing comes after Los Angeles County health officials announced over the weekend that outdoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars would be halted for at least three weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
County officials had previously warned that if the five-day average number of coronavirus cases reached 4,000 or more, or if hospitalizations surpassed 1,750 per day, all outdoor and indoor dining would be prohibited. The five-day case average reached 4,097 Sunday.
And if infections reach 4,500 or more, the county said it would institute another stay-at-home order. Monday, health officials reported 6,124 new coronavirus cases — the most the county has seen in a single day.
But Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday that if a new stay-at-home order is announced, it will not be as strict as the one at the start of the pandemic in March.
“Unfortunately, with such huge increases in the number of cases, we’re not confident that these numbers will decrease this week,” she said.
Later Monday, Garcetti said the city would provide assistance to struggling industries.
“Whether you own a restaurant or work in one, or you’ve been supporting the industry by dining out or ordering in more safely, I know there are a lot of worries out there,” he said. “When we have to stop outdoor dining, or limit the hours of other businesses, we will take the funds that we have in business assistance and surge them into those industries to get us through this period.”
The county has made it clear that flattening the curve now is the only way to get to reopening businesses and restoring the economy, Garcetti said.
Last week, Garcetti said the city of L.A. would ramp up enforcement of its public health rules, and would issue citations and revoke permits for businesses that violate requirements.