LA County to follow Long Beach and Orange County in easing COVID restrictions on Monday

Los Angeles County will ease its coronavirus restrictions at one minute after midnight tonight (Monday morning), joining Long Beach and Orange County in enacting looser regulations now that both are in the orange tier of the state’s monitoring system.

That means movie theaters, restaurants, churches, museums, zoos and aquariums can go from 25% to 50% of capacity, while gyms will be increased from 10% to 25%. Card rooms and family entertainment centers can resume indoor operations at 25% of capacity. The county will still enforce certain rules that are more strict than what the state allows.  Most notably, bars that don’t serve food—which are being permitted to reopen outdoors only—will only be able to operate from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a required 8-foot distance between outdoor tables.

And although state guidelines allow a lifting of all capacity restrictions on retail establishments in the orange tier, Los Angeles County will impose a 75% limit for grocery stores and other retail operations, while“strongly” recommending they remain at 50% of capacity until April 15 to allow time for more workers to get vaccinated.

The county’s metrics continued to trend in the right direction Sunday, as 535 new cases of COVID-19 and just three additional deaths were reported, although health officials said the lower number of deaths may reflect reporting delays over the weekend.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals ticked up from 590 on Saturday to 591, according to state figures. The number of those patients in intensive care dropped from 158 to 151.

Sunday’s numbers brought the county’s totals to 1,222,114 cases and 23,275 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

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