Faith services, in-store shopping and drive-in movies among activities now permitted

In a major COVID-19 recovery milestone, Los Angeles County is moving toward new standards for a swift and safe reopening in alignment with the State of California guidelines. Among the activities now permitted under the change are faith-based services, in-store shopping at low-risk retail stores, drive-in movies and other recreational pursuits.

In aligning its Health Officer orders with the state’s California Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, the County emphasized its commitment to keeping residents “safer at work and safer in our communities.”

The updated Health Officer Order, to be issued today by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, is part of a phased progression guiding the safe resumption of public life in Los Angeles County, including the recent reopening of beach bike paths and permission for car parades honoring graduates.

The change also sets the stage for the County to request a variance from the state to permit swifter reopening of some sectors.

Examples of activities now permitted under the changes enacted today:

  • Faith-based organizations may resume services, with the number of congregants limited to less than 25% of the building’s capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.
  • All retail, including those located in indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers may now open for business at 50% capacity.
  • Flea markets, swap meets and drive-in movie theaters may resume operations.
  • Pools, hot tubs and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association may now open.

The Health Officer Order also provides guidelines for public protests. In-person protests are permitted as long as attendance is limited to 25% of the area’s maximum occupancy, or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

The order emphasizes that physical distancing requirements, cloth face coverings and other safety protocols must be observed as the recovery progresses.

“Aligning Los Angeles County’s health orders with that of the State’s is going to provide immediate relief to our communities. This important step will enable our residents and businesses to have greater clarity and consistency as we continue to take positive steps towards reopening Los Angeles County,” said Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“With the greenlight from Governor Newsom, people can go back inside our houses of worship and retail shops, with common sense guidelines in place,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I am hopeful that we can continue to work with the Governor to restore life in Los Angeles County in safe, measured ways — getting people back to work and doing everything within our own power to prevent the spread of this virus.”

“This is another big milestone for LA County as, step by step, we begin safely reopening our communities and economy,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said. “But reopening does not mean going back to business as usual. As long as community members follow safety rules, we can continue to make more progress. Our houses of worship can once again welcome people inside. Shopping malls and communal flea markets can get back to business. I am so proud of all the progress we’ve made to protect our loved ones from COVID-19. Given our resilience and collective sacrifice, we are ready to take the next step to reopen our economy.”

“Los Angeles County’s newest openings are crucial to communities throughout Los Angeles County,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “As we push forward toward recovery, committing to an alignment with Governor Newsom’s plans, we also need to keep prioritizing the recovery of underserved and disadvantaged communities, including communities of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on inequity in our health and housing systems; we now have a golden opportunity and obligation to chip away at these inequities. We must strive to make Los Angeles County stronger than it was before.”

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, “If you decide to go in person for a religious gathering or you must go to a store, be sure to wear your face covering. That’s an important way you are showing up for your family, friends and community. Without people’s willingness to wear face covers, practice physical distancing, and diligently follow public health guidelines, we will not be able to meet our goal of reopening as fully as possible as quickly as possible. I am happy to see us expand activities that people can engage in, but there is no way to overstate the importance of public cooperation in making this reopening work.”

The updated order allows people to take part in all permitted activities while continuing to practice physical distancing and wearing a cloth face covering when in contact with others. Although these updates are being enacted today, Los Angeles County residents are still encouraged to remain in their residences as much as practical and limit close contact with others outside their household both indoor and outdoor.

Gatherings of people not from the same household are still prohibited, except for faith-based services and in-person protests.

Additionally, people 65 years old or older and all people of any age with underlying health conditions should remain in their residences as much as possible. People in these categories should only leave their residences to seek medical care, exercise or obtain food or other necessities. Telework should continue as much as possible.

The County Public Health Department will continue to monitor COVID-19 data indicators closely and may, after consultation with the Board of Supervisors, adjust orders to reflect specific County needs.