In an effort to reduce the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus, the County of Los Angeles put into effect new safety measures on Monday. The order is the strictest in the state and affects 10 million residents. The State of California established a stay-home order from November 21 through December 21 –asking residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.– but the LA County measure goes beyond the state’s mandate.
LA County, which has seen an alarming rise in cases in recent weeks, accounts for more than 400,000 of California’s 1.23 million confirmed COVID-19 cases to date. Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said, “We are at the most difficult moment time in the pandemic. The alarming increases in cases that we continue to witness is not due to random events out of our control – many of these cases could have been prevented if individuals and businesses were following the straightforward public health measures of masking, distancing and infection control.”
LA County is vast. Most of its swimming pools are outdoors, and each facility has been dealing with the pandemic according to its own rules, following the guidelines of local health authorities. This means that some pools have closed and opened again; others never reopened after the first shutdown in March. The new order stipulates that outdoor pools that serve more than one household be limited to lap swimming with one person per lane until December 20.
There are no Southern California Swimming LSC-sanctioned meets for the month of December this year. Some LA County teams had taken the month off altogether; others were focused on training.
Orange County has not added restrictions to the state mandate and its teams have not seen a disruption to their schedules, as of yet.
LA County Safety Measures, November 30-December 20:
Effective today, Monday, November 30, additional safety measures go into effect that aim to reduce the risk of transmission in the following several ways:
- Requesting that individuals remain in their homes and with their immediate households as much as possible and reduce mingling with others not in your household.
- Requiring that everyone wear a face covering whenever they are engaging in activities outside their homes where they are or can be in contact with others not in their household; this includes at gyms, at parks, at beaches. Unless swimming, please keep your face covering on over your nose and mouth.
- And reducing capacity at sites where non-household members mingle to avoid crowding.
The additional safety modifications in the Order will remain in effect for three weeks until December 20 and include the following changes:
- Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
- Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
- Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
- Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
- Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
- Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
- Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
- Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
- Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
- Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
- Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
- Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
- Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
- All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
- Closed non-essential businesses/activities:
- Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)