It’s been another busy day for city and county announcments regarding COVID-19 closures and services. Here’s the very latest from the firehose of information:
This morning, Los Angeles County announced the closure of all county beaches and beach facilities (going much further than previous closures of certain beach facilities):
“In an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Los Angeles County will immediately close all beaches to the public, says Supervisor Janice Hahn. An official announcement will be made this afternoon.
“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” said Supervisor Hahn. “In order to save lives, beaches in LA County will be temporarily closed. I understand that this is a huge sacrifice for everyone who enjoys going to our beaches. But we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus. This closure is temporary and we can always reopen these beaches when it is safe to do so.”
The public health order signed today by LA County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis, is effective immediately and applies to all LA County beaches, beach bathrooms, piers, promenades, and beach bike paths. In addition it incorporates previously announced closures of public trails.”
Note that, among others, this includes Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica’s beach bike path, Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach and more.
City of LA Resources for Seniors
The Los Angeles Department of Aging today released this updated list of resources for seniors:
All 85 congregate meal sites operated by the City of Los Angeles will remain closed until further notice. To ensure older adults continue to receive critically-needed meals, the City and its community partners began distributing packaged and frozen meals for older adults enrolled in its meal program at meal sites starting Monday, March 16. Adults 65 and older must send a family member, friend or caregiver who is under the age of 65 to pick-up meals at these sites.
If a senior is not aware of who their meal provider is, or if not enrolled in the Department of Aging meal program, call the department at 213-482-7252 to enroll. The phone line is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM.
The City is aware that many seniors may not have caregivers that can pick up meals for them. Therefore, we are working with our providers to ramp up home-delivered meal services for seniors and reduce the need for meal distribution at meal sites. Seniors who already receive regular home meal delivery will have their services continued without interruption. This map, which is being continuously updated, shows the status of each elder nutrition site and whether or not delivery has been implemented, site by site: https://bit.ly/2JbY04T.
In addition, many local grocery stores have early morning hours for seniors and other vulnerable populations to shop, including Ralphs, Walmart, Target and many more. The images above shows stores and special hours; a partial list is included at the end of this press release. 
The City of Los Angeles now has COVID-19 testing available for residents of Los Angeles with symptoms who are 65 and older. The City is working to expand testing as quickly as possible to all Angelenos who need it. If you are eligible, please make an appointment at Coronavirus.LaCity.org/Testing. If you do not have internet access, please call the Mayor’s Help Desk at 213-978-1028.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Aging is just a phone call away for anyone who needs more information or has questions about services for seniors, call (213) 482-7252, Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM. Social isolation is a bigger problem than ever in the face of this crisis. Seniors and caregivers should not hesitate to reach out to find out about social programs, mental health resources, food delivery and how seniors can safely interact with others via telephone or their computers.
Special store hours for seniors and other vulnerable populations at local supermarkets:
Albertsons. The supermarket chain — which includes Albertsons, Pavilions, Vons and Safeway, among other brands — is reserving every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for seniors, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and other at-risk populations.
Big Saver Foods is open from 7-8 AM for seniors and those with disabilities.
Costco has a designated window for seniors to shop from 8-9 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Gelson’s will have a shopping hour for seniors daily at 7-8 AM.
Northgate Market will be open exclusively for seniors and people with disabilities daily from 7-8 AM.
Ralphs is open for seniors only from 7-7:30 AM daily.
Smart & Final will open a half hour early daily from 7:30 – 8 AM for seniors and disabled only.
Stater Brothers will open at 7:45 AM for seniors only.
Super A Foods will be open for pregnant women, seniors and those with disabilities starting at 7 AM, one hour before stores open to the wider public.
Target – The first hour every Wednesday will be reserved for “vulnerable” shoppers, such as seniors and those with underlying health concerns.
Vallarta – Stores will be open from 7 to 8 a.m. for seniors, pregnant women and those with disabilities.
Walgreens – Tuesdays are now “Seniors Day” at the chain — with a designated shopping hour, from 8 to 9 a.m., and other special offers available for those who are at least 55 years old.
Walmart – From March 24 through April 28, stores will open one hour early every Tuesday for customers who are least 60 years old.
Whole Foods – Customers 60 and older to begin shopping an hour before stores open to the general public
LA County Quarantine and Isolation Orders
The Los Angeles County Department of Health has issued two new orders on Self-Quarantines and Self-Isolation:
- Self-quarantine of anyone exposed to an individual diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19
- Self-isolation of anyone diagnosed with or showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of being in close contact with a person who had or was believed to have COVID-19
These new Orders ensure that individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and those who are told by a clinician they are presumed to be positive for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for a period of at least 3 days without symptoms, including being fever free without taking medicine, and 7 days since symptoms started, whichever is longer. Additionally, those who have been in close contact with someone who is positive or presumed positive must quarantine themselves for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the ill person.
“It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “Individuals covered by these Orders should still contact their providers to get advice if they feel their symptoms are worsening.”
There are key differences between self-quarantine and self-isolation. Here’s what the new orders mean for you:
Self-Quarantine Order (Exposed)
- Required for anyone exposed to a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19.
- You must stay in quarantine for 14 days from the last time you had contact with the ill person.
- You cannot leave your place of quarantine for all 14 days.
- Only exception to leave quarantine is to receive medical care.
- If you develop even mild COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate at home and away from others.
Self-Isolation Order (Diagnosed)
- Required for anyone diagnosed with or showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of being in close contact with a person who had or was believed to have COVID-19.
- Self-isolation period must last at least 3 days without symptoms, including being fever free without taking medicine, and 7 days since symptoms started, whichever is longer.
- Notify anyone you’ve had close contact with while symptomatic to self-quarantine themselves.
- Only exception to leave self-isolation is to receive medical care.
- Further information on steps to take to self-quarantine can be found here in English and here in Spanish, as well as further information on steps to take to self-isolate can be found here in English and here in Spanish.
Los Angeles County is relying on its residents to respect and follow these health orders without enforcement by peace officers out of caution for their own health and safety and that of the greater community. Residents’ cooperation with the health orders is critical as we work to flatten the curve and move beyond the pandemic. We’re in this together.”
LA County Mental Health Information
From the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health yesterday:
“Taking care of mental health needs and maintaining a sense of connectedness with others is extremely important during the COVID-19 health crisis. The County of Los Angeles continues to provide resources and help to support residents as they follow the Safer at Home health order.
“With the uncertainties surrounding coronavirus and the challenges of managing such significant changes to our daily lives in such a short period of time, it is normal to feel a loss of control, fear for safety, and heightened anxiety,” said Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH). “The County is here to help, and we remain available 24/7 with information, resources, and services to address mental health concerns and enhance wellbeing.”
The public should be aware of and use the following tips and guidance, provided by DMH and the Department of Public Health (DPH):
Know the Signs
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can be demonstrated as:
- Fear and worry about personal health and the health of loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
There are some people who may experience stress more acutely during this time. For example:
- Older people and individuals with underlying health conditions who are at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19;
- Health care providers, first responders and other individuals who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response;
- People with mental health conditions and substance use disorders; and
- Children and teenagers.
Practice Healthy Habits
Individuals feeling confined and claustrophobic under the Safer at Home order should begin and follow healthy routines in order to manage anxiety and stress. The following is a list of helpful tips:
- Connect with loved ones by reaching out virtually: call, text or video chat family and friends;
- Set a limit on media consumption and stay informed by referring to credible sources for updates on the local situation;
- Take care of your body by getting proper sleep, eating well and exercising regularly at home. Try an exercise app;
- Make time to relax. Deep breathing exercises and meditation or yoga can greatly help. Try a mediation app, start a new hobby, or finish projects that have been put off.
- Do not use drugs or alcohol to numb anxieties.
- Stay focused on your personal strengths and maintain your purpose.
- Join and participate in virtual communities based on your interests and hobbies.
The County offers a broad range of services to support you and your loved ones. If you are feeling overwhelmed, there is support available 24/7.
- Call the Department of Mental Health at 1-800-854-7771.
- Visit the Department of Mental Health website for Coronavirus/COVID19 Mental Health Resources
- People struggling with substance abuse can reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).
- The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Mental Evaluation Teams (MET) provide compassionate field intervention in situations involving Sheriff’s deputy contacts. MET teams (a deputy with a clinician) service all of Los Angeles County. If you need MET assistance for a mental health crisis, call your local Sheriff’s station or law enforcement agency, who will contact the MET Triage Desk.
- Another supportive service is the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233) and 800-787-3224 (TDD).”
LA County Resources for Worker and Business Disaster Assistance
And, finally, from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs:
“Today, with support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Departments of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) and Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) are proud to announce the launch of the new L.A. County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center, a new centralized call center and website providing free, one-on-one counseling and support for business owners and workers who have been adversely affected by the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency.
Whether you are a business owner struggling to keep your doors open or a worker who’s uncertain about their next paycheck, L.A. County now has a single location where you can get immediate help, tailored to your situation. You can get assistance from the L.A. County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center in the manner that’s most convenient to you:
“Small businesses are facing serious financial distress and disruption during this time, and we want them to know they can rely on the County to be an effective leader and service provider as we help our business owners and workers navigate this crisis. The Help Center will not only help them to connect to resources but position our communities for recovery,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The Help Center will assist businesses in determining the applicability of public health orders and accessing state and federal resources, including recent relief packages from the state and federal governments. For individuals, the Help Center will assist with filing unemployment insurance claims, finding employment opportunities, and discovering available County resources. “They can now turn to one dedicated place for assistance,” said Joseph M. Nicchitta, Director of DCBA.
“WDACS and our partners have been working around the clock to ensure businesses and workers have clear, one-on-one access to essential services. This free one-stop shop from L.A. County, easily accessible in different languages by phone, email, and online, will support all affected businesses and workers,” said Otto Solorzano, Acting Director of the L.A. County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. “Through this Help Center, workers will have easy access to a number of financial benefits, including state unemployment insurance, as well as job search and career services provided by America’s Job Centers of California. Businesses will be helped with emergency loans, workshare programs, and individualized assistance. During this difficult time, L.A. County is moving quickly to address the growing need for support and guidance for our businesses and workers.”
The Business and Worker Disaster Help Center, operated jointly by DCBA and WDACS, is open to answer calls Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. With the support of our County partners, the Help Center is staffed with dedicated, helpful, and multilingual support. Participating County departments and State agencies include:
- L.A. County Chief Executive Office
- L.A. County Office of Emergency Management
- L.A. County Child Support Services
- L.A. County Counsel
- L.A. County Internal Services Department
- L.A. County Department of Public Social ServicesL.A. County Treasurer and Tax Collector
- L.A. County Library
- L.A. County Department of Public Health
- L.A. County Department of Regional Planning
- California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)