In a major shift, Los Angeles County officials said they expect to allow a slate of business sectors to more widely reopen beginning as early as Monday.
The changes come as newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to plummet, while the number of Angelenos vaccinated against the disease slowly increases.
The reopening hinges on California’s reaching its goal of administering 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to residents in its most disadvantaged areas — which appears likely to happen Friday.
So what will change when the county releases its latest health order? What will the restrictions be? Here is a breakdown:
Restaurants will be allowed to serve diners indoors at 25% capacity. Patrons must sit at least eight feet apart from other tables, and indoors, only one household with a maximum of six people per table is allowed. Restaurants can allow up to six people per table from three households to dine together at tables outdoors.Restaurants need a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system “in good working order” and, to the greatest extent possible, should increase ventilation.It’s recommended that all workers interacting with customers indoors are given N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield.
Private gatherings will be allowed with up to three separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated would be able to gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without masking and distancing requirements.
Museum, zoos and aquariums could open indoors at 25% capacity.Gyms, fitness centers, and yoga and dance studios could open indoors at 10% capacity with a masking requirement for all indoor activities.Movie theaters could open indoors at 25% capacity with only reserved seating in which each group is seated with at least six feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
Retail and personal care services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.Indoor shopping malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
Institutes of higher education can reopen all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing, which remains under current restrictions for the spring semester.Schools are permitted to reopen for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
The Los Angeles school board on Thursday unanimously approved a deal with the teachers union that aims to reopen elementary schools in mid-April and middle and high schools in late April or early May.Students in transitional kindergarten through eighth grade can remain on campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week. The caveat is that at least half of the instruction will either remain online or be spent on work that does not involve live interaction with a teacher.Elementary school students would have the option of returning to campus Monday through Friday for three hours of live, in-person interaction with their teacher and classmates. In-person classes will take place during the morning session, and an early-afternoon session would be for students who remain in full-time distance learning.Children who attended in person in the morning could either go home or move to on-campus day care in the afternoon. All would have assignments to complete during the hours of the school day they are not with their teacher.