Los Angeles County Looks to Open by July 4th | COVID-19 Update

The City of South Pasadena has canceled its parade and fireworks show on Independence Day due to the coronavirus, but there might be plenty to celebrate if businesses throughout the county can reopen by that date

SouthPasadenan.com News | Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, during a May 18 virtual broadcast

A major milestone could be reached as Los Angeles County officials are hopeful of reopening businesses more broadly by the Fourth of July, despite announcing 76 additional deaths and 1,183 new cases related to the coronavirus on Tuesday.

While the traditional parade and fireworks show has been canceled in South Pasadena on Independence Day as a result of the pandemic, there still could be plenty to celebrate as the county is cautiously optimistic merchants of every means could open their doors by that date.

However, it’s just a goal and nothing is set in stone, but Kathryn Barger, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, believes it can be accomplished. “I understand the urgency to reopen and know many of the experts the county has assembled for the task force have been working hard to develop safe and efficient plans to revitalize their sectors a early as next month,” she said in a statement. “I remain focused on working with industry leaders and health officials to safely make way for Los Angeles County to reopen by the Fourth of July.”

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Barger expressed her goal during a meeting with the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force, a group of business leaders and elected officials recommending proper steps in bringing the county’s economy back to full strength. 

Pet groomers are among businesses reopening in the county, but it comes with restrictions as pet owners will need to drop off their dogs and cats and pick them up outside following the session.

Car washes are also open as special protocols are in place. 

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 76 new deaths and 1,183 new cases of coronavirus. To date, there are 39,573 cases and 1,913 have died.

For the second straight day, no deaths were reported in Orange County but 75 new cases were reported, pushing its total of cases past 4,500, as 88 have passed away from the disease.

SouthPasadenan.com News | Barbara Ferrer, director of L.A. County Public Health, during a May 18 virtual broadcast

Riverside County reported nine new deaths, 270 total, and 101 new cases, for a total of 6,053 cases.

San Bernardino County reported 114 new cases, two new deaths, bringing the total to157 among its 3,707 cases.

It marked the second highest increase in fatalities from COVID-19 since the start of outbreak 10 weeks ago

Retailers in Los Angeles County remain closed to public entry and beaches are open only for active recreation.

The county stressed July 4th is merely a target day for fully reopening businesses, officials explaining the public needs to do its part to stop the spread of the virus insisting the best protection against COVID-19 is to wash hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing (especially by staying at home) and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.

According to county public health officials, retail businesses, manufacturing and logistic businesses are required to prepare, implement and post their plan for adhering to directives including distancing and infection control practices that protect both employees and customers.

Individuals who can work from home are encouraged to maintain that effort, say experts, and those in a group at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, including adults with underlying health conditions, should be assigned work that can be done from home

“All employees need to be given a written copy of the protocol for keeping them safe while working,” reads a statement from the county. “Everyone must follow distancing and infection control protocols, stay at least six feet apart and wear a clean cloth face covering that securely covers both your nose and mouth when in contact with other people not in your household.”

“As we continue to reopen more places and spaces in the weeks ahead, we will need to use the tools of physical distancing and wearing cloth face coverings to continue to slow the spread. We don’t yet have a vaccine but we do have each other. Each of us has the power to protect another person,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of L.A. County Public Health. “It’s going to take all of us working together to be able to do this quicker.”

County Board of Supervisor Hilda Solis joined Ferrer at the county’s daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday both saying the July 4 date for reopening is only a goal. “But we have to get there, and we have to do it by measurement, we have to do it by scientific evidence and data and making sure everybody is adhering to the public health order,” said Solis. “And I can tell you as one supervisor, I have a great deal of concern that some people are not listening to that message.”

Solis recognizes that county residents are anxious to end the stay-at-home order, but noted if they are unable to stick with the restrictions it will take much longer to reopen all county businesses.