Lockdown's Back: LA County Issues 10 pm Curfew

by Alyssa Erdley

Observer Staff

Reacting to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued new restrictions, including a 10 pm cutoff hour for non-essential businesses - with the promise of more rules to come if case load continues to rise.

The most recent restrictions affect restaurants, breweries, and wineries and personal care establishments. Also affected are outdoor recreational activities and private gatherings.

Effective Friday, November 20, non-essential businesses must close between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Even during allowed business hours, restaurants and similar establishments may only use 50 percent of their outdoor seating capacity.

Personal care businesses may only provide services by appointment. Masks must be able to be worn at all times, so shaves and facials may not be given.

Cardroom, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts, and batting cages may only operate at 50 percent maximum outdoor capacity.

In addition to the above restrictions, the county now prohibits gatherings of more than 15 people - after having eased these restrictions in October. Unchanged is the requirement that people do not gather with more than two households other than their own.

The so-called curfew only applies the hours businesses may operate. It does not restrict the free movement of the public after 10 pm if conducting otherwise allowed activities, such as walking or driving.

COVID-19 cases have risen from 1590 new cases on November 1 to 3,944 new cases on November 18. Should the average daily case number over five days rise above 4,000, the following restrictions kick in:

4,000 cases or more for five-day average: halt to all in-person restaurant and bar attendance, even outdoors. These business can only conduct pickup and delivery.

4,500 cases or more for 5-day average: Safer at Home order mandated for at least three weeks. Back to only essential businesses allowed to remain open. No retail allowed to operate otherwise.

County Health Department officials warn that if the case rate increases as it has so far, we will reach the 4,000 cases per day by December 6.

Even if hospitalizations and deaths remain low, the raw number of cases will spark the cascade of lockdown restrictions.

In March, the County imposed a rapid cascade of lockdowns, first closing bars, then restaurants, and then all retail. The uncertainty and hastily changing set of restrictions caused massive shortages in household essentials, like toilet paper and cleaning products and in many kinds of non-perishable foods.


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