Los Angeles County's top health director on Tuesday said that restrictions will likely be in place for at least another three months even as Gov. Gavin Newsom said that dine-in restaurants and some offices can reopen.
The timetable for COVID-19 public health precautions was not an agenda item at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, but came as supervisors were discussing another coronavirus related issue.
Barbara Ferrer, LA County's leading voice on anti-COVID measures, has warned repeatedly that precautions in some form will be necessary well into the future, absent a major breakthrough.
"While the Safer at Home orders will remain in place over the next few months, restrictions will be gradually relaxed under our 5-stage Roadmap to Recovery, while making sure we are keeping our communities as safe as possible during this pandemic," Ferrer said in a statement released Tuesday evening. "We are being guided by science and data that will safely move us forward along the road to recovery in a measured way—one that allows us to ensure that effective distancing and infection control measures are in place.
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"We're counting on the public's continued compliance with the orders to enable us to relax restrictions, and we are committed to making sure that LA County is in the best position to provide its 10 million residents with the highest level of wellness possible as we progressively get back to normal."
Supervisor Kathryn Barger also put out a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying that relaxing the restrictions in the 'Safer at Home' order is an important focus for the County.
"I am eager to reopen more of LA County as soon as it's safe to do so, in collaboration with our health experts, community leaders, businesses and residents, with best practices in place to ensure our overall health and well-being," she said. "These decisions will be guided by the latest science and data collected. I'm confident that the more our communities continue to comply, the sooner we can resume normalcy."
Like most of California, LA County adopted the state's guidelines and last Friday began allowing many retailers to begin operating with curbside pickup.
On Wednesday, LA County rejoins coastal neighbors in allowing beach access, though only for active recreation.
But Ferrer has indicated that with nearly half of all COVID cases in the state, and more than half the deaths, LA County may not be able to transition back as quickly as other areas.
"I do think recovery will be months long based on the tools that we have today," she said.
Newson, meanwhile, released guidelines for the next steps toward re-opening, including allowing the return of some office-workers who cannot work from home.
"The statewide order affords the opportunity for local government to choose," he said.
But before counties take additional steps, they must prove they have reached certain benchmarks in COVID control.
"We are now making public the guidelines for reopening dine in restaurants in these counties that have conditions that will afford them," Newsom said.