Dozens Long Beach residents protested in the streets after the city issued new COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday in response to a recent surge in coronavirus cases.
The number of cases, which stood at 16,786 Tuesday, are rising rapidly, according to a news release put out by the city.
“Since Nov. 1, the average number of new cases has increased by 313%, a much steeper curve than the city saw during the summer surge,” a portion of the release stated.
Long Beach-area hospitalizations have grown by 413% since Nov. 1, according to the city.
The city is hoping new restrictions will help those numbers trend downward.
Wednesday’s new restrictions include the following:
- Non-essential retail and salon capacity is now limited to 25%
- Gyms, museums and gardens can only operate outdoors
- Playgrounds can remain open, but no more than two households can use the equipment at one time
- Masks and social distancing will be required at all times
Restaurants within the city have also been ordered stop all on-site dining, following an order issued by the county of Los Angeles.
A large group of people marched through the city streets Wednesday afternoon, most of them wearing masks.
They were calling on city officials to follow the example of Pasadena, which is allowing restaurants to continue to serve outdoors, and act independently of L.A. County to keep more businesses open.
Both Long Beach and Pasadena have their own health agencies, enabling them to make their own decisions regarding the county’s order.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who lost both parents to COVID-19, said the city’s priority “must be ensuring that if your mom or dad need a hospital bed, there’s going to be a hospital bed available.”
Ginger Vance, a local small-business owner, called the new rules “arbitrary and extreme.”
“Target can be open, all the big businesses can be open with nothing. And we have to shut down,” she told KTLA.
Possible new state regulations, which could be even more strict, would supersede either city’s plans.