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L.A. County to require businesses to close by 10 p.m., limit occupancy amid surging COVID-19 cases |

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L.A. County to require businesses to close by 10 p.m., limit occupancy amid surging COVID-19 cases

Los Angeles County will tighten pandemic safeguards and restrictions, officials announced Tuesday, as COVID-19 cases doubled since the beginning of November.

As of Friday, restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the county announced.

Additionally, non-essential businesses that were permitted to operate indoors — including retail stores, offices, and personal care services — will be required to limit occupancy to 25%. And, capacity will be limited to 50% at outdoor restaurants, breweries, wineries, cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages.

Services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff who are also wearing face coverings, according to the county. Services that require either the customer or the staff member to remove their face covering, such as facials and shaves, will not be permitted.

Throughout L.A. County, COVID-19 cases have more than doubled since the beginning of November and hospitalizations have increased from an average of about 900 a day to more than 1,000 a day in same time period, officials said.

The new restrictions come after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that 30 counties in California were moving back to the most restrictive tier in the state’s reopening plan, after the number of new daily coronavirus cases doubled in the last 10 days. Los Angeles County, however, was already in the most restrictive, or purple, tier.

But although the county is in the purple tier, officials relaxed some rules to allow some businesses to operate indoors with precautions.

With Friday's new rules, gatherings must remain outdoors and can only include a maximum of 15 people who are members of no more than three households.

The county reported 2,884 COVID-19 cases as the five-day average with 1,126 hospitalized patients.

However, if the five-day average of cases in the becomes 4,000 or more, or if hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, both outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will be prohibited. Such businesses will only be able to offer pick-up and delivery.

And if the five-day average of cases in the county becomes 4,500 or more, or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a "Safer at Home Order" will be instituted for three weeks, which would only allow essential workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes. A 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew would also be mandated, with essential workers exempt.

"Los Angeles County is at a critical moment to save lives and curb the spread of COVID-19," said county Health Director Barbara Ferrer. "I urge our residents, businesses and community leaders to heed this warning and follow these heightened safeguards so that additional restrictions do not need to be imposed."