LOS ANGELES, CA — The numbers aren’t cooperating, but the officials and shutdown-weary residents of Los Angeles are gingerly testing the reopening of beaches and businesses.
Epidemiologists warn that California, specifically Los Angeles, is among the few regions nationwide still facing a growing outbreak, forcing health officials to revise upwards the number of deaths expected from COVID-19 in the coming months. On Monday, Los Angeles County health officials reported another 39 deaths and 591 new cases even as they announced plans to open county beaches this week.
As the death toll continues to climb, hundreds of Los Angele businesses opened their doors over the weekend. However, some businesses were promptly ordered to shut down again for being in violation of health orders that generally required curbside pickup of goods only, cloth face coverings for employees and customers, and physical distancing.
Overall, 162 businesses were found to be in violation of the health orders. In many ways, the challenges in reopening reflect the competing tensions between restarting the economy and containing the outbreak.
“Our inspectors had to require some businesses to close since they were not able to come into compliance,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health.
“I do want to remind all of us, both residents and businesses, that we have to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “And it’s extraordinarily important to follow the health officer orders and directives. Businesses should not open until they can adhere to all the protocols, and they must post a completed checklist in a public place before they open so that their customers and their employees can be sure that this is a place that is able to provide the required protections.”