Life in Los Angeles has sputtered to a halt as COVID-19 curbs the way Angelenos get around—and the places they visit. There’s no curfew and the region has not entirely shut down, but residents across the county have been told to venture outside only when absolutely necessary.
“I know that life feels fundamentally changed,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said. “But the deeper we abide by the rules, the quicker this can be over... everyone has to keep making these temporary sacrifices for the common good.”
New closures are announced almost daily as the outbreak grows. Below, we’re tracking the latest updates.
What are the basics?
Stay at home as much as possible. Only go outside for limited recreation and trips for critical medicine and doctor’s appointments, or to help friends, family, and neighbors in-need. It’s okay to shop for groceries if it’s truly essential.
“We will see many more cases over the next few weeks. If you have enough supplies in your house, this would be the week to skip shopping all together,” Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer said today. “If you can arrange for medications and groceries to be delivered, this would be the week to put this in place.”
When outside of the home, practice social distancing, meaning keep six feet of separation between you and people not in your household. To protect people around you, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also now advising that people wear face coverings while practicing social distancing. In the city of Los Angeles, the mayor is requiring customers who shop at essential businesses—such as gas stations, banks, and grocery stores—to wear cloth face coverings.
I can still go outside?
Yes, officials have encouraged Angelenos to exercise and get fresh air. But too many people are venturing outside in groups, and away from their neighborhoods. That has prompted the closures of beaches and hiking trails.
“I understand that this is a huge sacrifice,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “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.”
So where should I go to fresh air?
Options are more limited now, but you can still stroll through your neighborhood and around local parks and reservoirs. Stay local and practice social distancing.
Social distancing dos and don’ts
- Do: Go for walks and bike rides on paths that have not closed in your neighborhood—but don’t go in groups and keep your distance from others.
- Do not: Visit friends and family, unless it’s urgent.
- Do: Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others when you go out.
- Do not: Gather in groups.
- Do: Work from home.
- Do: Wear a non-medical grade fabric face covering, such as a bandana or scarf, while in public spaces and shopping (you don’t need to wear one if you’re outside exercising alone).
How is this different from before?
There are more closures in place now than there were last week, as officials have toughened their “safer-at-home” orders, clamping down on gatherings outside of the home. Initially, the orders told residents to restrict gatherings to 10 people. Now, they’re saying: Do not gather at all.
Additionally, some of the orders to close nonessential businesses to the public only applied to retailers. Now, they apply to all nonessential businesses. Those businesses, however, are allowed to continue operating, as long as employees are working from home.
Where can I read the orders?
Los Angeles County and the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pasadena have enacted “safer-at-home” health orders.
How long will these closures be in place?
Initially set to expire on April 19, LA County’s health order is now set to lift on May 15. Others are in place until “further notice.”
- On Sunday, all parks in the city of Los Angeles will close to prevent Easter gatherings. The city had already closed trails in and venues in parks, including the Griffith Observatory, but on Sunday, the parks will be closed entirely, except for park restrooms that are being used for people experiencing homelessness. The closure will include lakes and botanical gardens.
- All beaches in LA County: All public beaches, piers, beach parking lots, beach bathrooms, beach bike paths that “traverse sanded portions of the beach, and beach access points within the county of Los Angeles Public Health Jurisdiction” are closed. That includes state beaches. The city of Long Beach, which has its own health jurisdiction, has also closed its beaches and beach bike paths.
- All public trails and trailheads in LA County: A revised order issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health encompasses every trail within its jurisdiction, which includes the vast majority of its 88 incorporated cities, excluding Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own public health departments. The order covers such popular hiking destinations as Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, and Bronson Canyon.
- Some farmers markets in the city of Los Angeles: They’re allowed to reopen, but only after submitting “safe operation” plans to the city’s street services bureau for approval. Those plans must detail how market operators will implement social distancing measures. A list of famers markets that have been allowed to reopen is here, and includes the Culver City Farmers Market, Venice Farmers Market , Hollywood Farmers Market, and Atwater Village Farmers Market.
- Silver Lake Meadow
- The Rose Bowl loop
- Entrada Stairs
- Palisades Park
- Parking lots at state-owned parks, including Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, El Matador State Beach, Leo Carrillo State Park State Park, Los Angeles State Historic Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Malibu Lagoon State Beach State Park, Point Dume State Park, RH Meyer State Park, Topanga State Park, and Will Roger’s State Historic Park.
- Tennis courts, skate parks, baseball fields, and basketball courts at city of Los Angeles-owned parks, which otherwise remain open for walking or running.
- Roads and trails in Angeles National Forest, including Mt. Wilson, Icehouse Canyon Trail, and Sam Merrill Trail.
- The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve
- All nonessential businesses: They can keep running, as long as employees are working from home.
- Museums: You can’t visit them in-person, but many local institutions, including some of country’s most renowned, are putting resources, educational materials, and exhibits online.
- Restaurant dining rooms: Take-out and deliveries, however, are allowed—and even encouraged. Eater LA has compiled a running list of restaurants, by neighborhood, of restaurants with expanded delivery service.)
- County of Los Angeles beach volleyball courts
- Entertainment venues
- Bars and nightclubs
- Movie theaters
- Playgrounds, except those located within childcare centers.
- Golf courses
- Metro: But it’s running on reduced schedule due to a big drop in ridership.
- Ride-hailing companies: It’s important to limit car trips right now—even in you personal car—but companies such as Uber and Lyft are still running. If you ride, be sure to wipe down commonly touched surfaces, such as seatbelts and door handles.
- Grocery stores
- Meal delivery companies, such as GrubHub and Postmates.
- Doctor’s offices
- Food banks
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
- Hardware stores
- Gas stations
- The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles
Are there punishments for disobeying the order?
Health orders are legally-binding, meaning violators can be cited for a misdemeanor.
But elected officials in the city of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles said they will take a “light touch” to enforcement. They are asking residents to self-comply for the health and safety of the entire community.
The public can report out-of-compliance businesses at coronavirus.lacity.org/reportbusinessviolation.
The city manager of Santa Monica has also said that his first priority is also to educate the public. But he added: “It’s important for people to know that our local orders include the ability to fine individuals and businesses that do not abide voluntarily.”