Coronavirus Updates: Bars, Gyms and Theaters Close Countywide

Tami Abdollah

Tami Abdollah was dot.LA's senior technology reporter. She was previously a national security and cybersecurity reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. She's been a reporter for the AP in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and for L.A.'s NPR affiliate KPCC. Abdollah spent nearly a year in Iraq as a U.S. government contractor. A native Angeleno, she's traveled the world on $5 a day, taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer. Follow her on Twitter.

Coronavirus Updates: Bars, Gyms and Theaters Close Countywide

Los Angeles woke up Monday morning to confront a new reality. Schools are closed. Movie theaters, bars and gyms in the city have been shuttered by order of the mayor. Restaurants are open only for take out and/or delivery. Most offices that are able go remote have done so.

On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state now has 335 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 82 of which have been confirmed as community transmission cases. Six people in the state have so far died from the disease.

The governor also announced a pilot testing partnership with Alphabet-owned biotech firm Verily, which will help the state screen and test potential coronavirus patients — at first — around the Bay Area.

Countywide, Bars, Gyms and Theaters Close, Restaurants Move to Takeout/Delivery Only

As the cases of novel coronavirus continue to rise, Los Angeles County officials announced the closure of all bars, gyms and movie theaters while ordering restaurants to move to takeout/delivery only. The directive applies to every city in the county and unincorporated areas. The move follows the same actions taken by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday, altering how millions live and work daily.

Meanwhile, 25 new cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in the county. Two of those individuals are hospitalized, said Barbara Ferrer, county public health director. That brings the total of cases to 94 — more than double Friday's total.

Residents should be prepared for three more weeks of coronavirus case increases since the virus has a two-week incubation period, she said.

"While we haven't asked entire communities to isolate and stay home, we have asked everyone who's 65 and older to please immediately take steps to stay home and avoid being in public spaces at all times," Ferrer said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom called for home isolation for those over 65 years old on Sunday.

Asked if residents should expect that L.A. will take shelter-at-home measures that several Bay Area counties have taken, Ferrer said, "at this point, we don't have the same trajectory as they have up north and we're doing everything we can, in hopes that we can slow the spread enough not to be issuing orders for whole communities to quarantine."

To prepare for the onslaught of cases expected, local hospitals are canceling elective surgeries, discharging patients who don't require acute care and restricting visitors.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his deputies have significantly curbed arrests and courts have told jurors not to come in. Meanwhile, county buildings have been closed to the public.

"One thing I just want to clarify is COVID-19 knows no boundaries, and no limits in terms of spread," Ferrer said.

The county is preparing to release a list of cases in each city and community later today.

"Just because you don't see a case in your community on the list today, doesn't mean number one, that you're not going to see a case there tomorrow. And more importantly, doesn't mean that there aren't people in your community who in fact, maybe, maybe infected with COVID-19 and just haven't been diagnosed."

Ferrer estimated so far about 600 people have been tested in the county, a sharp increase from Friday.

"We're in a new stage of the response and everybody needs to help us," she said. "Everyone must take precautions in everything you do."

- Reporting by Rachel Uranga. Follow her at @racheluranga

1:31 p.m.: Dow Drops Sharply, Bay Area Issues Shelter-at-Home

The Dow set another grim record Monday, dropping over 12% and surpassing Thursday's drop as the worst since the 1987 "Black Monday" stock market crash.

The President announced new social distancing guidelines, in place for 15 days, to address the crisis, that included asking the public to refrain from gatherings of 10 or more people, closing schools, and avoiding travel. He added the crisis could last until July or August.

Several Bay Area cities, including hard-hit San Jose, issued directives asking their citizens to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave.

In San Francisco, mayor London Breed ordered gyms, bars and dine-in restaurants to shut down, and asked residents to stay in their homes unless they need to be in public for "essential activities" such as grocery-shopping or going to the bank.

According to the mayor's statement, essential activities include:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food, and getting supplies necessary for staying at home;
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing;
  • Performing work providing essential services at an Essential Business or Essential Government function (defined below);
  • Caring for a family member in another household;
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.

12:34 p.m.: Santa Monica Closes Bars, Restaurants, Gyms and Arcades

Following L.A.'s announcement, the city of Santa Monica says it will close all restaurants, nightclubs and bars for two weeks to dine-in customers. Businesses will still be allowed to prepare food for take-out, delivery or drive through. According to the directive:

The following are exempt from this Order: (i) cafeterias, commissaries, and restaurants located within hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities; (ii) grocery stores; (iii) pharmacies; and (iv) food banks.

Movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and arcades will also be closed, the city announced.

Read the full statement here.

12:10 pm: Actor Idris Elba Says He Has Coronavirus

Actor Idris Elba announced on Twitter Monday morning that he's tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The Emmy-winning actor encouraged viewers to take the virus seriously and "don't freak out.

"This is real," he said.

Meanwhile, Variety has reported that an employee at Hulu's Santa Monica's office has come down with the virus as well.

The floors that those Hulu offices take up in that office building are now closed and undergoing a deep cleaning. Other Hulu offices in the area are not technically closed, but staffers will still be asked to work from home going forward. Most employees began working from home last week.

Variety has been keeping a running list of movie and television productions shut down or delayed by pandemic here.

11:54p.m.: Mayor Garcetti Calls on Angelenos to Avoid 'Panic Buying'

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti stood with the owners of several L.A. supermarket chains Monday morning and asked city residents to refrain from panic buying.

"There's no reason to make a run on the supermarkets," Garcetti said. "To a buy so much food for a month or for even for months has a consequence, not just for you, but for your loved ones, for grocery workers, and, of course, for those who are most vulnerable and who need food right now."

Garcetti said supply lines have not been effected by the pandemic and urged residents to buy only for a week or so in order to keep food available for those who need it, and to avoid long lines that could spread the novel coronavirus.

"Hoarding is hurting our most vulnerable Angelenos," he added.

10:05 a.m.: U.S. Has Entered Recession, UCLA Economists Say

The U.S. economy has entered into a recession that will last through the end of September, economists for the University of California, Los Angeles said on Monday in a news release.

The update of their earlier March 2020 forecast — revised at the last minute before its release last week — notes that the economic expansion that started July 2009 is now over. The repeated revisions are indicative of how quickly things are changing as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads through dozens of countries, upending world markets, and closing down cities. Read more >>

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Prediction: Cities Have Learned a Lot From COVID. In 2023, More Will Tailor Their Infrastructure Toward Micromobility

Horace Dediu
Horace Dediu is the co-founder of the media platform Micromobility Industries and the coiner of the term "micromobility."
micromobility graphic ​
Evan Xie

Over the last two years, the COVID crisis had an unexpected effect in urban centers all over the world: drivers lost space, in the form of car parking and lanes, while riders of bikes, scooters and other forms of micromobility vehicles gained space in the form of bike lanes. At the same time, cities began to realize electric cars are not the solution.

In 2023, policymakers will double down on what they’ve seen work: infrastructure that makes travel cheaper, safer and easier — and micromobility options that make better use of cities’ limited space.

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Prediction: Here’s How Brands Will Find Their Way Around the Social Media ‘Platform Tax’ in 2023
Image by Evan Xie

I spoke with a guy the other day who runs a $60-million-per-year ecommerce business. I asked what his number one problem is today.

His answer: “I’m paying Google and Meta 30% of every dollar in revenue. I know customers love my product, and I’d love to have a more direct connection with them.”

Truth is, I hear this all the time from marketers at business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) brands . And it’s not just those two players. TikTok, Snapchat, LinkedIn and others have built powerful platforms that keep users locked in, turning these sites into de facto gatekeepers for brands.

We call it the “platform tax.” You want to sell something digitally? You need to pay a platform for access first.

With the shaky economic outlook for 2023, many brands are cutting back their media dollars and seeking new avenues to reach potential customers.

We spent the first five years at Influicity helping brands work with influencers, including movie studios, consumer goods, automotive brands and so on. At its essence, these brands were tapping into communities that influencers had built using platforms that could provide massive scale.

Social marketing’s next evolution will see brands building their own communities. And these communities are directly tied to revenue. Here’s how they’ll do it:

Working Directly with Influencers

Content creators are a phenomenal community builder because they drive consumer attention while lending a halo to the brand. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes — from the micro, such as the neighborhood soccer mom to the mega, such as the reality show star.

We see more brands leaning towards long-term relationships with influencers to generate authentic and continuous demand. They’ll do this by partnering with individual influencers on longer term commitments (i.e. 6-12 months) with exclusive requirements (i.e. you can’t work with my competitors during this period).

A good example of this is apparel brand Hollister Co, who works with a group of about 30 influencers on live streams and custom collections.

We see brands doing this on the social platforms as well as other channels, like podcasts and email.

Turning to Podcasts

Massive communities have been built through podcasts: Joe Rogan, Lex Fridman and Alexandra Cooper, to name a few.

A brand example of this is RestoTalk, a podcast from restaurant-tech company TouchBistro. This podcast is hosted by Food Network star Justin Warner and has a loyal following of restaurant industry pros. (Disclosure: TouchBistro is a client of Influicity)

Another example is HubSpot, which acquired the podcast My First Million to reach the entrepreneurship community.

Podcasts avoid the platform tax because users can download or stream them directly from their favorite podcast app, like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Brands only need to cover server fees.

Some marketers get tripped up because they think their podcast should be about their brand. It shouldn't. Your podcast should be about what your ideal customer cares about. Running a food brand? Talk about recipes and meal prep. Have a construction company? Talk about architecture and building innovations.

There are lots of opportunities for brands that put in the time.

Building a Rapport By Email

It was old, then it was new, then it was old —now it’s new again. When done right, regular emailing can actually be a great community builder. They can become a part of the user’s daily ritual. And they can work with many different formats including text, photo and video.

Email can easily be the largest single revenue driver for consumer brands. It can also help B2B brands build a sales pipeline.

Consumer apparel brands like and (full disclosure: both are clients of mine) have daily emails that drive hefty ecommerce sales. On the B2B side, analytics company Ahrefs offers a weekly newsletter that is very popular with search marketing professionals.

Email is also one of the few non-interceptable communication vehicles. No news feed algorithm is going to filter out your message. You can’t be de-platformed, and you don’t need to pay for access to an inbox.

Organic Reach on Platforms

The same platforms that charge for access are also your best allies in creating communities: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest.

I know brand leaders will complain that their content is getting filtered out and only seen by 2% of their followers.

So here’s a secret from first-hand experience: I get 500K to 1 million impressions per month (free) on LinkedIn. And it’s not luck.

It's a deliberate exercise in figuring out what the platform wants to surface and playing into that theme. And you need to do this while staying true to your own brand.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, one or more of these channels could be a vital part of your brand’s communication strategy. As 2023 rolls around, take the time to experiment with the right mix. It’s not an easy balance, but it’s critical to building a community of your customers.