Los Angeles County and LA city officials on Thursday ordered all non-essential retail businesses to close and residents to stay at home as the coronavirus continues to spread through the nation’s most populous county.
The order will go into effect on March 19 at 11:59 pm — and will stay in effect until April 19. It is “subject to extension,” according to LA officials.
Individuals have until midnight on March 20 to access their workplaces to gather belongings or address other administrative needs, “so long as social distancing requirements are followed. Such workplaces shall remain closed to the public in accordance with the order.”
The order also states: “To the extent that business operations may be maintained by telecommuting or other remote means, while allowing all individuals to maintain shelter in their residences, this order shall not apply to limit such business activities.”
Businesses that provide food, social services, and shelter — including hotels — are exempt from the order. However, the order would appear to shut down the construction industry, which was still largely operating business as usual as of late as Wednesday.
Its effect on the residential real estate industry — which had already transitioned to virtual and private showings in the past week — is unclear, though some residential real estate deals continue to be consummated in San Francisco, which ordered a similar shutdown on Monday.
Businesses that are allowed to stay open include banks, grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores, laundrymats and dry cleaners, and restaurants that provide take-out or delivery service.
The City of Los Angeles is asking residents to remain in their homes — with “lawful exceptions.” Those include tasks for “securing food and health, safety and medical necessities, as well as caring for children, elder adults, family, friends and people with disabilities.”
Garcetti is calling on establishments not covered in previous orders, including clothing and some other retail stores, to “cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace.” Malls and shopping centers are also ordered to close.
Gatherings of more than 10 people — either publicly or privately — are also prohibited. Garcetti said people meeting in groups of less than 10 must provide hand sanitizers.
Previous restrictions placed on bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, entertainment venues, bowling alleys and arcades, gyms and fitness centers remain in effect.