Los Angeles County Issues “Safer at Home” Order; Cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Pasadena Follow Suit
In an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Chief Health Officer of Los Angeles County has issued an Order closing certain businesses, banning public and private gatherings of a certain size and implementing social distancing requirements for Essential Businesses, starting at 11:59 p.m. on March 19, 2020 and ending on April 19, unless rescinded or extended. The Order is more extensive than an earlier Order issued March 16. Violation of the Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and/or jail time.
First responders, emergency personnel and law enforcement personnel, among others, are exempt from the Order.
Of particular note:
- All indoor public and private gatherings and all outdoor public and private events within a confined space, where at least 10 people are expected to be in attendance at the same time, are prohibited.
- The Order requires all indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and non-Essential Businesses to close.
- Indoor malls are defined as buildings with seven (7) or more “sales or retail establishments” or a series of buildings on a common site, either under common ownership or common control or developed together, with seven (7) or more “sales or retail establishments.”
- Outdoor malls are exempted, but must ensure social distancing is observed.
- The Order contains a lengthy recitation of Essential Businesses that are also exempt from the Order, which include (but are not limited to) grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, financial institutions, transportation services, and businesses that provide supplies and services to other Essential Businesses and Essential Infrastructure, among several others. Read the full list here.
- For all gatherings that are not prohibited and for all Essential Businesses, persons attending an event or gathering and the venues holding the event or gathering must observe infection control precautions:
- Practice social distancing by requiring attendees to be separated by six (6) feet, to the extent feasible;
- Provide access to hand washing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol;
- Post a sign in a conspicuous place at the public entry to the venue instructing members of the public to not attend if they are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever or cough; and
- Adhere to communicable disease control recommendations provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
- The Order exempts “essential infrastructure or operations,” which includes healthcare operations and essential infrastructure operations, which include (but are not limited to) public works construction, utilities, public transportation and waste collection.
- The Order permits employees and business owners 24 hours to access their workplaces to gather belongings, so long as social distancing requirements are followed.
The Order applies to all cities in Los Angeles County except the cities of Pasadena and Long Beach, which issued their own orders.
The Pasadena Order is similar to the LA County Order, but with less specificity regarding the definitions of essential and non-essential businesses.
The Long Beach Order is substantively identical to the LA County Order, but includes limited exceptions for Minimum Basic Operations of Non-Essential Businesses. This permits (1) minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions and (2) minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.