While many of us have settled into our new “safer at home” routines, there are still enough people gathering in big enough groups that some new city rules have been enacted this week to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The newest was an order by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday that all Los Angeles parks will be closed on Easter, to keep people from gathering in unsafe numbers.
“We’re closing City parks from the evening of Saturday, April 11 to the morning of Monday, April 13,” said Garcetti. “I know this is a time of the year when many of our families and friends celebrate Easter by getting together outdoors –– but we just can’t take any chances right now. We need to protect our families and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.”
Also on Tuesday, Garcetti announced that beginning on Friday, April 10, both employees and customers of “essential businesses” that remain open during the COVID-19 crisis will be required to wear cloth face coverings, to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Similarly, just a day earlier, Kroger, the company that operates Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores, announced that it would join other retailers such as Target and Walmart, in limiting the number of people it its stores to 50% of the official capacity, to increase social distancing and better protect both employees and customers. The new standard will allow just one person per 120 square feet of store space, instead of one person per 60 square feet, as previously allowed. The same announcement also encourages all employees to wear facial coverings, and sets reduced hours for the Easter holiday.
And finally, also on Monday, Garcetti provided a bit of good news, announcing that COVID-19 testing has been expanded in Los Angeles, to anyone currently showing symptoms of the disease. According to the announcement:
“The online portal used to schedule appointments will now enable any L.A. County resident with symptoms to schedule a test, with priority still given to symptomatic people with underlying health conditions and residents age 65 and over. Health care professionals and first responders also receive priority, and should inquire at their affiliated hospital, medical center or department for information about how to register for testing.
“Getting more people tested will help us get Angelenos the care they need and flatten the curve more quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We are working closely with these extraordinary partners to expand access and grow capacity — and we’re grateful to everyone who has stepped up to strengthen this work.””