News & Opinion | December 4, 2020 3:01 pm

Southern California Prepares for Another Strict Lockdown

The COVID-related restrictions are tied to ICU capacity

Closed restaurant Los Angeles
A restaurant announces its closure due to the the recent stay-at-home order in Los Angeles, California on December 1, 2020.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

As the number of COVID-19 cases across the country increases dramatically, there’s a growing sense of deja vu among some of the regions that were hardest hit when the coronavirus first appeared in the United States. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that his state’s “PAUSE” program could return. On the other side of the country, parts of California — including Los Angeles — are bracing for the state’s most significant lockdown since the spring.

At Eater, Farley Elliott reports on the new regulations set to go into effect in California. Governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference that the state would address the pandemic region by region. “The state is now grouped into several specific regions — with Los Angeles and nearby counties mostly in the Southern California region,” Elliott writes. “If any region falls below 15 percent of intensive care unit bed capacity, those counties within that region would automatically be triggered into a new stay at home mandate.”

What would the stay at home mandate mean? An end to any non-essential travel, restaurants restricted to takeout and delivery, essential retail being restricted to 20% capacity and schools with a waiver remaining open — among other measures.

The Eater article points out that Southern California is presently very close to the ICU capacity tipping point, and is likely to reach it in the next few days.

This comes on the heels of Los Angeles County issuing a temporary ban on outdoor dining, which is currently facing a legal challenge. Whether or not that clashes with the statewide lockdowns remains to be seen. Either way it’s a worrying time for Californians.

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