Coronavirus Updates: Bars, Gyms and Theaters Close Countywide
Tami Abdollah is 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.
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
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.
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.
This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I'm doing 👊🏾👊🏾 No panic. pic.twitter.com/Lg7HVMZglZ
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 16, 2020
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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