Although Los Angeles County remains rooted in the most restrictive tier of California’s coronavirus reopening road map, officials this week announced plans to relax some requirements on businesses to bring the county’s standards in line with wider state guidelines.
The changes — expected this week — will allow family entertainment centers to open outdoors; eliminate a requirement that customers at wineries and breweries make reservations; and remove the food requirement for wineries.
“I hope this provides much-needed relief and respite for residents who are looking for some activities outside of their homes,” Kathryn Barger, chairwoman of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, said during a briefing Wednesday.
“These updates will also bring more employees back to work,” she said — a pivotal development in a region where the unemployment rate has been estimated at 16%.
Barger also said county schools are in line to welcome back more students for in-person instruction.
According to the supervisor, schools have been allowed to bring up to 10% of students back on campus at a time if the students have special needs, such as those with disabilities or who are learning English.
“We will now increase to 25% capacity for high-needs students so more children and youth can have access to their teachers and the on-site support systems that are so critical for their growth and for their education,” Barger said.
It is unclear when that change will go into effect. But as L.A. County remains in Tier 1 of the state’s four-tier reopening plan — also called the purple tier, which indicates widespread risk of community coronavirus transmission — campuses cannot reopen for all students.
The county’s spot in the state’s most stringent tier also prevents wider economic reopenings. Under the purple category, many businesses and public facilities either cannot operate indoors or can do so only at a strictly limited capacity.
Counties land in the purple tier if they have more than seven new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people per day or a test positivity rate of more than 8%.
As of Wednesday, L.A. County’s case rate remained above the threshold required to move down into the red tier.
“I think many of us are discouraged that we haven’t yet reduced our case rate enough to move to Tier 2,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday. “I do want to note that we do have the tools in hand to drive transmission rates down in our communities. Not only do we want to eventually progress into less restrictive tiers, but we want to be able to continue to keep businesses and institutions open.”
Ferrer announced 33 new COVID-19 deaths in the county, raising the total toll to 6,944, as well as 510 new cases for a total of 290,486.
But she cautioned that “some significant
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Victoria state has reported just one new case of COVID-19 and no deaths as the city of Melbourne moves closer towards the easing of some lifestyle restrictions.
The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 816 and the Australian total is 904.… Read More