Los Angeles County officials delivered an update on the local response to COVID-19 at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger says she hopes the county can safely reopen by July 4, including malls, restaurants and retail businesses.
“The economic and sociological impacts created by the COVID-19 shutdown have hurt our vulnerable populations the most,” Barger said in a statement. She said she set the Independence Day goal after meeting with the county’s economic recovery task force.
The county remains the epicenter of California’s outbreak, with hundreds more cases reported each day. But reopening is underway, with active-use access restored to parks and beaches and some stores allowed to open for pickup and delivery orders.
On Tuesday, health officials reported a total of 39,573 cases and 1,913 deaths.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday eased some of the requirements for counties’ reopening, but the changes aren’t expected to hasten the process in L.A. County for the time being. In other areas, Newsom said higher-risk settings like churches and hair salons could reopen in weeks.
“Bottom line is: People can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials that understand their local communities and conditions,” Newsom said.
Given its dense population, and the sheer number of cases, county health director Barbara Ferrer has said L.A. will likely be among the last to reopen.
“It would be great if we could all reopen at the same time,” Ferrer said last Monday. “But literally half the cases and half the deaths (in California) are here in L.A. County right now.”
In L.A. County, some outdoor recreational areas like golf courses and trails reopened over Mother’s Day weekend, when the county first allowed retail stores to offer curbside service.
Face coverings are now required for anyone within 6 feet of someone from outside their own household. Officials stress that keeping up social distancing on crowded trails, beaches and in grocery stores will be essential in keeping the county on a trajectory toward reopening.
A new health order issued Wednesday, which outlines the latest restrictions, has no end date. Ferrer has said it will continue to be modified over time.
Check back for updates on this developing story.