Reopening L.A. County could easily backfire into 2nd COVID-19 wave without masks and distancing, officials warn

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Daniela Prieto, an employee at Deportes Prieto in Boyle Heights, disinfects inside the store, which is currently allowing customers to preorder merchandise. The business reopened Monday for curbside pickup only.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Daniela Prieto, an employee at Deportes Prieto in Boyle Heights, disinfects inside the store, which is currently allowing customers to preorder merchandise. The business reopened Monday for curbside pickup only.(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County, which has been hit harder than any other part of California by the COVID-19 pandemic, is rapidly beginning to reopen its economy.

Just this week, officials said churches and many more retail businesses could reopen with strict social distancing rules. And there is hope L.A. County could soon join surrounding areas in allowing limited in-person dining at restaurants.

But health officials have stressed that with the easing of stay-at-home orders comes potential dangers. Preventing new outbreaks depends on people wearing masks, avoiding crowded spaces and keeping at least six feet apart.

“There is a lot at stake as we reopen,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday. “More people being around one another can result in more transmission of COVID-19 — just more cases and likely more hospitalizations and deaths. This is why it couldn’t be more important for us to take care of each other when we’re out of our homes.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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