LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday evening that commencing Monday, all individuals, traveling, working, or conducting business at Los Angeles International Airport must wear a mask or face covering.
The mayor added that in addition to the restrictive measures at LAX, also starting next week, people boarding the city’s DASH, Commuter Express and Cityride buses will also need to wear masks.
Garcetti emphasized that this step is being taken to protect not only nurses and caregivers, but also transit authority bus drivers. He added he supports Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s proposal to institute a similar requirement for the county’s Metro public transit system.
The new city-led requirement came hours after Los Angeles County officials laid out the first steps toward implementation of easing stay-at-home orders, that will allow certain restaurants and portions of the retail sector to open with curbside pick-up of items only.
“We do know as we reopen, more people will be out and about, and we’ll see more cases,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said. “Nothing has really changed about the virus since March. The virus didn’t get less deadly. The virus didn’t get less infectious. The virus is still out there.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) confirmed 55 new deaths and 851 new cases of COVID-19. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach and one death by the City of Pasadena. To date, Public Health has identified 28,644 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 1,367 deaths.
In a media statement that was sent out Wednesday, LACDPH issued a five-stage road map to recovery that describes a phased approach to relaxing select directives of the Safer at Home Order and a reopening process for certain business sectors.
LA County is currently in stage one of the Safer at Home recovery stage. However, the County anticipates beginning stage two as soon as Friday, May 8 by allowing florists and some retailers to offer curbside pickup. Car dealerships, golf courses and trails can also open with appropriate safeguards in place.
County officials also said that some limited trails and parks along with golf courses will be allowed to open as long as physical distancing and infection control protocols are adhered to.
Physical distancing and infection control protocols must be adhered to and cloth facing coverings must be worn. Later next week additional restrictions will be lifted to include many retailers, manufacturers, and other recreational facilities. The next three stages include the potential opening in phases of higher-risk businesses like movie theaters, schools, colleges and universities, followed by conventions and spectator events, to finally normal operations. Each sector will have safe reopening protocols that must be adhered to.
Until final stage five is reached, Health Officer Orders and directives will still continue to ensure that residents and officials help slow the spread of COVID-19 to prevent an overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases at healthcare facilities.
According to the LACDPH media statement, “Physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, frequent hand washing, self-isolation and self-quarantine will continue to be very important throughout the foreseeable future. People who have underlying health conditions will still be at much greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, so it will continue to be very important for the County’s vulnerable residents to stay at home as much as possible, to have groceries and medicine delivered, and to know to call their providers immediately if they have even mild symptoms.”
In Sacramento Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced during his daily noon press conference that as California prepares to enter Stage 2 of the gradual reopening of the state this Friday, he had signed an executive order that creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order. This means that workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
“We are removing a burden for workers on the front lines, who risk their own health and safety to deliver critical services to our fellow Californians so that they can access benefits, and be able to focus on their recovery,” said Newsom. “Workers’ compensation is a critical piece to reopening the state and it will help workers get the care they need to get healthy, and in turn, protect public health.”
The governor also told reporters that he had signed another executive order that waives penalties for property taxes paid after April 10 for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 6, 2021. This will apply to residential properties and small businesses. Additionally, the executive order will extend the deadline for certain businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements from tomorrow to May 31, 2020, to avoid penalties.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihoods of many, and as we look toward opening our local communities and economies, we want to make sure that those that have been most impacted have the ability to get back on their feet,” he said.
Speaking in regard to the daily data and case numbers, Newsom noted that the state has 58,815 confirmed cases of COVID19, a 4.6% increase from Tuesday. “3,334 of those are in hospitals which reflects a 1.0% decrease. 1,140 of those are in the ICU which is also a modest decrease of1.5%. We are flattening the curve, but we must continue to take this seriously. Your actions can save lives,” he said.