Dozens of demonstrators converged outside the Echo Park home of Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Sunday afternoon to express their displeasure with a new round of COVID-19 restrictions that will take effect Monday.
Carrying signs and waving flags, the protesters called on Ferrer to “Open L.A.” and chanted, “No science. No data. No shutdown.”
Few of the 50 or so demonstrators were wearing face masks.
The county’s latest Safer at Home order was announced Tuesday amid an alarming increase in coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths. Its slew of restrictions includes a ban on most gatherings, stricter limits on retail businesses, and closures of playgrounds that aren’t part of a school or childcare center.
The order will be in effect for three weeks, until Dec. 20.
Those restrictions came on the heels of a previously announced rule that suspended outdoor dining at restaurants throughout most of the county. Pasadena, which has its own health department, opted to allow outdoor dining to continue.
In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced a statewide curfew that forbids nonessential gatherings with members of other households between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The recent restrictions have drawn the ire of business owners, exhausted parents and others who are simply losing patience with the pandemic way of life.
One of the protesters outside Ferrer’s home carried a sign that read, “Newsom and Ferrer are non-essential.” Another shouted, “How dare you take away our guns and lock us in?”
Some of the demonstrators raised other grievances, including the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Several people brought Trump flags, and one held a sign that declared “Trump won.”
Several people got into heated exchanges with Ferrer’s neighbors, including one resident who called the protesters “fascists” and Nazis.”
Though noisy at times, the protest remained peaceful until the demonstrators dispersed around 5 p.m.
A Los Angeles Police Department vehicle was parked in Ferrer’s shared driveway to monitor the protest. LAPD officials could not be reached for comment Sunday night.
For the most part, L.A. County residents have taken heed of the public health orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community. But patience is wearing thin, and some people have become more vocal in opposing them.
The county is now averaging nearly 4,200 new coronavirus cases each day, a tally that exceeds the number of daily cases reported during the summer. Hospitalizations have been on the rise for the past two weeks and are now just shy of 2,200, nearly meeting the previous high from the summer.
Over the last week, L.A. County has averaged nearly 28 COVID-19 deaths each day.
Times staff writers David Zahniser and Laura Nelson contributed to this report.