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L.A. County Modifies Health Officer Order and School Protocols

Wineries that do not serve food may open for outdoor service with modifications. | Courtesy photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

As cases continue to decline, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health made changes to the health officer order last Friday that went into effect on Saturday.

Breweries, wineries and craft distilleries that do not provide a meal may open for outdoor service, but all guests must have reservations and are limited to a 90-minute time limit for their visit. Patrons must be seated at tables before they place their order and are not permitted to stand or congregate with others. Hours of operation are also limited with service for on-site consumption closing by 8 p.m.

Breweries, wineries, and craft distilleries that serve a bona fide meal can be open for indoor dining operations at 25% of indoor capacity and must follow the same modifications required of restaurants.

Businesses that serve the public but are not typical retail establishments, such as non-school learning centers, bank and credit union branches, check cashing services, tax preparation, auto repair, auto dealerships, and dry cleaners are now permitted for indoor operations with modifications at 50% capacity.

For mental health, support groups, and spiritual counseling, the number of in-person participants increases from 10 to 12. L.A. Public Health still encourages services to be provided remotely when at all possible.

For office-based worksites, businesses that must open indoors for essential operations that cannot be done remotely must also limit indoor capacity to 50% of maximum occupancy.

For youth and adult recreational sports, the county allows indoor sports to train, condition, practice and compete if they adhere to state guidelines. Indoor sports activities are limited to 10% of indoor occupancy; observers are not permitted for any youth or adult indoor sports activities, including competitions. Players, coaches, and staff must be tested regularly. Development and implementation of safety plans must be filed with Public Health 14-days prior to indoor activity.

Schools in the county will also be permitted to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health which call for 3 feet minimum distance between student seating. “It is important that schools implement critical mitigation layers including required masking, stable groups, and maintaining 6 feet of distance as much as possible during activities where students are not wearing masks, such as eating and drinking,” the department said in a statement. There continues to be a requirement of a minimum of 6 feet of distance between teachers and other desks from students and other staff.

“Spring officially began this past weekend. Like so many of you, I am eagerly awaiting warmer weather and clearer skies. We have a beautiful county, and I encourage you all to enjoy everything it has to offer while remaining masked and physically distanced. For recreational travelers and residents coming to L.A. County, please note, you are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after you return from out of state or out of country travel to protect our community from inadvertent transmission of the virus from travelers,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. “We strongly recommend that those who traveled and during their travels were in crowds, exposed to unmasked individuals in close proximity, or attended gatherings, get tested on their return. This is particularly important for those who traveled to places with high rates of community transmission, like Miami, which reported a 9% test positivity rate; this is six times higher than the test positivity rate in L.A. County.”

March 23, 2021

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