County issues stay-at-home order
by Steven Felschundneff | firstname.lastname@example.org
In an effort to curb the sudden rise in new COVID-19 infections the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that a new stay-at-home order would begin on Monday.
Earlier in the month, health officials warned that if the five-day average of new COVID-19 cases reached 4,500 per 100,000 residents, they would amend the health order and further tighten the restrictions on businesses as well as individuals. On Thursday that average reached 4,751 new cases. The stay-at-home order remains in effect until December 20.
The order falls short of completely closing any sectors of the economy, relying instead on severely limiting the number of customers inside each business. Essential retail, such as grocery stores would be limited to 35 percent of capacity while non-essential must stop letting people in when the store reaches 20 percent. Also hitting the 20 percent maximum will be personal cares services and libraries. Fitness centers can operate at 50 percent but all activities must be outdoors. Museums, galleries and botanic gardens also have a 50 percent limit, in addition to a number of other types of business that don’t apply to the city of Claremont because none operate here.
Beaches, trails and parks remain open with masks and physical distancing required. Claremont’s most popular parks, Thompson Creek Trail and the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, already have a mask mandate so visitors will see little change there. The new order reinforces the restriction on recreating with people outside of one’s immediate household. Playgrounds at Claremont’s parks will have to close again.
Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries were closed for in-person dining and drinking by the health department on Wednesday, a move that was widely criticized, and narrowly passed a vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
In response, some Claremont restaurants banded together in a coalition called Claim Back Claremont to ignore the outdoor dining prohibition. On Saturday several of Claremont’s best know eateries were open for business.
Former Claremont resident and owner of Chase’s restaurant in La Verne, Chris Gendreau, contacted the COURIER on Saturday with his concerns about the order prohibiting in-person dining.
Mr. Gendreau’s chief concerns were the lack of evidence showing that eating at restaurants was a significant driver of the virus’ spread. He also questioned why health officials did not wait to see if the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that started earlier in the month would have been effective in reducing infections.
“This is a shocking move of authoritarianism,” he said.
The California Restaurant Association has a case scheduled before a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday seeking an injunction that will allow restaurants in the county to continue to operate, according to Mr. Gendreau.
“Today we made it to a point we hoped we would never reach: we now have over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the first district,” Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the district, said in a statement.
Overall, the county now has recorded 387,793 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and a total of 7,604 deaths. On Friday the county reported 4,544 new cases and 24 deaths, as well as 1,893 hospitalizations.
“When the case rate reaches a certain point, it takes drastic measures to slow down the spread of this tremendously deadly virus. I will not sugarcoat what we are asking people: we are asking you to stop seeing your loved ones, to modify your business operations, to make sacrifices, and to trust that we must work together to once again be healthy together,” Ms. Solis said.
Claremont now has 678 cumulative cases an increase of 30 cases since Monday. Fortunately, the county has revised Claremont’s total number of deaths back down to 10 after reporting on Tuesday that an addition person had died in the city.
“It is very important that if you are even mildly sick or think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 that you stay home and away from other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, and consider being tested for COVID-19,” health officials wrote in the announcement of the modified health order.