Hikers can return to trails in Griffith Park and elsewhere around Los Angeles County this weekend, as long as they maintain a safe distance, wear facing coverings and follow other guidelines in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Runyon Canyon remains closed, and health experts issued a plea Thursday that common sense health safety measures be followed when trails reopen Saturday. The trails and surrounding parks were closed in March due to stay-home orders, which are being relaxed for some activities and business -- with limitations -- in Southern California and California.
"As we reopen, it's likely, because more people are about, that there could be more spread of the infection," said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. "If we don't do this well, if we can't really adhere to the guidance, if it's too hard to keep our distance when we're out and about, if it's too hard to keep on the cloth face coverings that can offer some protection to each other, we will see that spike that we don't want to see and we'll need to revert to more restrictions.”
If just 1 million county residents -- 10% of the population -- who have been largely staying at home suddenly start circulating, as many as 50,000 of them likely are or will become infected, based on antibody testing that showed roughly 5% of the population is impacted by the virus, Ferrer said. If just 5% of those people who get infected become seriously ill, that means 2,500 people will need to be hospitalized, in a county hospital system that on average has only about 2,000 available beds daily.
"These numbers demonstrate that there is a lot at stake as we relax Safer at Home, and that reopening our county, even slowly, only works if we're all really committed to being careful," she said.
With that in mind, here’s what to know about the reopening of hiking trails in LA County. Click here to see an updated list of open trails and guidelines.
What to Know
- Large groups are prohibited. Limit groups to members of your household only.
- If you feel sick, don’t hike.
- Hikers are required to wear face coverings and maintain six feet of space from each other.
- Face coverings should be worn in parking lots and at trailheads, and on any trails where there are other people.
- Let someone know if you’re coming up behind them, giving each other wide berth.
- Bring water, hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes and use them frequently.
- Adhere to the leave-no-trace principle. Take your trash with you or dispose of it in a trash bin.
- Note to Griffith Park visitors: The Observatory remains closed.