As the number of new coronavirus cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County, health officials Friday issued a temporary and limited stay-at-home order that will take effect Monday.
The restrictions, which will last for three weeks, are not as severe as those imposed this spring.
“Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others,” the county public health department said.
The order prohibits all public and private gatherings with individuals not in the same household, except for religious services and protests.
It imposes new occupancy limits on businesses, such as personal care and retail, but does not close them. Beaches, trails and parks will remain open, but gatherings at those sites with non-household members are banned
The new rules come just two days after restaurants in much of L.A. County were ordered to suspend outdoor dining. The decision sparked a backlash from restaurant owners and some elected officials, who called the rules too punishing for the already struggling industry.
Officials had warned new restrictions were coming.
The five-day average of new cases hit 4,751 Friday, crossing the threshold the county had set for imposition of a modified-stay-at-home order.
Officials are concerned that hospitals could see a shortage of beds — especially in intensive care units — over the next two to four weeks if these trends continue. But hospitals are better equipped now than they were in the spring to handle a surge in cases, treatment for COVID-19 has significantly improved, and hospitals can cancel elective surgeries to make more room.
Countywide COVID-19 hospitalizations have already more than doubled in just three weeks, from about 800 on Halloween to nearly 1,900 Friday.
The order, which will remain in effect through Dec. 20, sets the following occupancy limits:
Essential retail stores are capped at 35% of maximum occupancy.
Non-essential retail, such as indoor malls, personal care services, and libraries, at 20%.
Outdoor fitness centers, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens, mini-golf, batting cages and outdoor go-kart racing, at 50%.
Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Swimming pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming.
Drive-in movie venues remain open but cardrooms are closed.
The order does not change re-opening protocols for schools and day camps.
Times staff writers Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.