LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County officials have reported 1,047 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths, raising the county's totals to 46,018 cases and 2,116 deaths.
“On this Memorial Day, as we join with those mourning the loss of their loved ones to COVID-19, including the families of the 1100 veterans who recently passed away from COVID-19, we want to honor the memory of all the members of the armed forces who courageously gave of themselves to protect our country,'' Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County director of public health, said Monday.“We take to heart the lessons of courage and caring that mark this day of remembrance. As we prepare to re-open many places and spaces that are still closed, it will require an extraordinary effort by all of us to prevent outbreaks among workers and residents.
“Please take care of each other by wearing a face covering, keeping your distance when around others not in your household, avoiding crowds, washing your hands often, and isolating when you are positive for COVID-19 or a close contact of someone who is positive. Let us move forward with the awareness that our actions save lives.''
Ferrer said 93% of the county's fatalities had underlying health conditions.
The new numbers came Monday shortly after the California Department of Public Health announced the statewide reopening of in-store retail shopping, subject to approval from individual counties.
It was unclear when Los Angeles County might act to facilitate the resumption of in-person shopping. Stores inside enclosed shopping malls were allowed to reopen this weekend, but only for curbside pickup service.
“Thank you, Governor Newsom. As we continue to battle this virus, this policy will make all the difference to the small businesses in our communities that are struggling to survive this crisis,'' County Supervisor Janice Hahn tweeted Monday.
While several venues reopened this weekend, a popular county trail was closed. Eaton Canyon was closed for Memorial Day because too many hikers did not follow county health guidelines, officials said.
Some beach parking lots were reopened in Los Angeles County this weekend and retail businesses inside enclosed shopping malls were allowed to reopen with curbside pickup only.
The county on Thursday reopened its 22-mile bike path that stretches from Pacific Palisades to Torrance. The path had remained closed despite beaches reopening last week for active use, in hopes of preventing large gatherings of people on the often-congested trail.
On Friday, the county also announced the reopening of parking lots at Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach, but only at partial capacity. With beaches reopening for at least partial use, issues have arisen with people flocking to the coast but being forced to find street parking in coastal neighborhoods, leading to congestion issues.
Hours after the county announcement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city would reopen parking lots at Cabrillo and Venice beaches, as well as beach bike paths running through the city.
“Our beaches, have already been open ... to active recreation like swimming and surfing and running and walking,'' Garcetti said. “And now, biking is allowed once again, but we want to prevent crowds, so even during this holiday weekend, don't gather with others.''
Sports facilities at Venice Beach remain closed for the time being, the mayor said.
County officials warned anyone heading to the beach that face coverings are mandatory when not in the water. The active-use restriction also forbids sunbathing on the sand, meaning chairs, umbrellas, canopies and coolers are still barred. Piers, boardwalks and volleyball courts also remain off-limits.
Kathryn Barger, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, said “based on the week that we opened up the trails and golf courses, I was very proud of the L.A. County residents who really did recognize wearing a mask and the social distancing that was in place. So I'm confident moving into this holiday, people will also recognize that is the reason why we talk about Safer At Home moving to safer at work and safer in our communities. Because people are recognizing that is the only way we're going to stop or slow down the spread of this virus.
“So I'm encouraging people -- I know we are lifting restrictions in certain areas. Please be responsible. This is the only way we are going to move toward the next phase of opening. I know people are talking about opening up small businesses. ... The only way we're going to get there is if we continue to keep this flat. So I would encourage you all to just honor the request. It's not a big ask, given what we have in store for us.''
Also approved on Friday were car parades to allow for celebrations of graduations, birthdays or other occasions. The guidelines, however, require participants to be inside enclosed vehicles -- no convertibles -- and if windows are open, vehicle occupants must wear face coverings.
Large-scale parades must have a designated host and security to ensure compliance with health regulations.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner praised the change, which will allow students to celebrate their graduations.
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