Los Angeles

LA Not Ready to Ease Restrictions Just Yet, LA Mayor Says

Safer at Home orders have been in place in Los Angeles since March 19 and are set to expire May 15.

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Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he and Los Angeles County officials are discussing plans to relax some Safer at Home orders to allow certain businesses to reopen.

However, Garcetti said it will be some time before all businesses can resume and he did not provide a definite timeline on reopening.

"I want to be clear, this is going to be longer than just a couple weeks," Garcetti said during his daily coronavirus update.

"There (won't be) a giant reopening. This is a series of steps that we have to assess each time, and they will succeed more if we practice the prescriptions that are given to us."

Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier Monday the state's stay-at-home orders will be eased later this week, and counties will have some authority to develop guidelines in conjunction with the state that could allow additional types of businesses to reopen, with appropriate operating modifications.

"What I liked about what I heard was that it (Newsom's plan) allows folks in counties to do what makes sense in their region," Garcetti said. "My promise to each and every one of you is we will continue to be guided by, first, the medical advice we get from public health professionals."

Garcetti also said if the city and county reopen businesses too soon or incorrectly, it could undo all the social distancing and isolating Angelenos have been observing for at least the last eight weeks.

Businesses could be closed again after reopening if the coronavirus spreads and cases continue to increase.

"LA County has saved countless lives, and our death rate is lower than the national average, thanks to what you have done," Garcetti said. "But we nevertheless have suffered about half of the state's COVID-19-related deaths, and our timing on opening may vary from other parts of the state."

Garcetti said he hopes he can announce this week what businesses could reopen, when and in what ways, but said he would only make that announcement if health professionals are comfortable with him doing so and if the county and neighboring cities agree.

Safer at Home orders have been in place in Los Angeles since March 19 and are set to expire May 15.

Garcetti said he signed an emergency order Monday to require Los Angeles nursing facilities to provide notices to their employees, residents and contractors for when COVID-19 testing will be made available for them.

Garcetti signed an order April 24 requiring nursing facilities provide access to the virus testing.

"When we talk about stopping the spread, when we talk about saving lives, that challenge is greatest at these nursing facilities," Garcetti said.

Garcetti said 40% of California's COVID-19-related deaths have taken place at nursing homes.

Garcetti said Project Roomkey, the county initiative that partners with hotels and motels to provide rooms for homeless people to quarantine and self-isolate, increased its number of available rooms by more than 500 over the weekend, including a 460-room hotel near Skid Row, bringing the county's total to more than 3,000 rooms.

Garcetti said he would not disclose the exact location of the hotel.

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