COVID-19 Update: New Health Order
The Los Angeles County Health Department issued a new Public Health Order on May 29, 2020, allowing for the reopening of dine-in restaurants at 60% capacity, as well as barber shops and salons.
County Health officials recently established a 5-Phase Roadmap to Recovery detailing the gradual reopening plans for our region. The County issued the "Safer at Work & in the Community" Health Order, effective May 26, which allows for the resumption of faith-based services, in-store shopping at low-risk retail stores, drive-in movies, and other recreational activities. All indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers may now open for business at 50% capacity and individuals may participate in an in-person protest as long as attendance is limited to 25% of the establishment's maximum occupancy, or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. The new Order may be viewed in its entirety here, which details other provisions and activities.
Read the County's latest case summary noting there are 59,650 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Los Angeles County as of today, with 355 of those cases confirmed in the City of Whittier (does not include unincorporated areas).
Governor Newsom's Stay At Home Executive Order has remained in place until further notice, requiring individuals to remain home and avoid non-essential interaction with others including work, travel and gatherings. However, Newsom's four-phased plan to reopen the state of California is well underway. Low-risk businesses are now open again, with more to follow in the coming weeks, with the pace of reopening dependent data supporting case numbers and the ability for healthcare settings to manage a surge in patients, as well as businesses and individuals to continue following social distancing measures once other restrictions are lifted. Newsom's Pandemic Resilience Roadmap presentation may be viewed here. As of May 19th, the Governor extended Counties more flexibility with pursuing individual reopening timelines should they be able to meet various criteria set forth by the California Department of Public Health. The County of Los Angeles was granted a variance as of May 29, 2020, allowing the Public Health Department to reopen Los Angeles and its cities to get back to business at a faster pace, including the City of Whittier. Businesses will be required to follow strict social distancing and infection control protocols in order to ensure the safety of their employees and customers.
Businesses are still required to provide a cloth face covering for employees to wear while performing duties that involve contact with other employees and/or the public, and to post physical distancing plans. The public must also wear a face covering to enter businesses or while interacting with others who are not immediate members of their household. Face coverings are not a replacement for evidence-based strategies known to slow the spread of disease, like frequent hand washing and social distancing; they are just an additional tool that can protect others from possible exposure to respiratory droplets that may come from our mouth when we talk, sneeze, or cough. Learn how to make your own face mask from the CDC here. Additionally, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit remain prohibited, other than those identified in the recent Order.
Violations of the Safer at Home and Safer at Work/Community Orders by businesses or groups within Los Angeles County may be reported to the Health Department at 888-700-9995 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Health Orders published thus far mandate that all individuals who have been diagnosed with or are likely to have COVID-19 must isolate themselves for a specific amount of time post recovery (72 hours) and at least seven days from the start of symptoms, and require all household contacts, intimate partners, caregivers, and others who have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 while that person was symptomatic must quarantine themselves for at least 14 days from the time of their last contact with the sick person. Orders stress the importance of separating individuals who have been diagnosed with or were exposed to COVID-19 from others until it is determined that they are no longer at risk for spreading the disease. This protects everyone, including people who are high risk for serious illness, such as older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
In national news, the White House established "Guidelines for Opening Up America Again," which includes criteria and benchmarks necessary for states to achieve prior to taking a phased approach of re-opening their labor force and lifting drastic stay-at-home measures currently in place.
Governor Gavin Newson signed Executive Order N-40-20 on March 31, providing relief for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Small business resources have been expanded to include a new platform connecting displaced California workers with more than 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries. Beginning Sunday, April 12, California workers receiving unemployment benefits began seeing an additional $600 included in their weekly stipend as part of the Pandemic Additional Compensation (PAC) initiated by the CARES Act. This comes as record numbers of unemployment claims are being filed on a weekly basis in the state. Learn more about the Governor's increase in federal benefits here. The City of Whittier's Economic Development division has published a resource page for local businesses with information on disaster relief assistance and links to partner agencies.
Newsom had issued a statewide hold on evictions, effective March 27 through May 31, 2020, which has been extended again through July 28, 2020, by Executive Order N-66-20. It requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. The Whittier City Council met via phone on March 24 and enacted a on residential and commercial evictions in the city through May 31 as well. However, the State's Order supersedes the City's residential order, and evictions for both residents and businesses have now been halted through the end of July.
Residents are urged to visit www.cityofwhittier.org/COVID19 regularly for up-to-date facts on COVID-19 and additional resources. New information will continue to be provided and people are encouraged to follow @whittiercitygov on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for prevention tips and important notices regarding local actions and mandates. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has published guides to mitigating transmission for specific groups within our community, and residents should continue to take general health precautions that prevent the spread of viruses. Anyone experiencing even mild illness should stay home; seek medical care immediately if the illness is severe; and call 911 for medical emergencies.
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