"It's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything," the mayor said

By Claudia Harmata
December 03, 2020 10:22 AM
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is pleading with his residents to cancel all non-essential activities and travel as cases of the coronavirus surge in the California city.

On Wednesday, Garcetti issued a "Targeted Safer at Home Order," requiring all L.A. residents to stay at home, and prohibiting public or private gatherings of more than one household, with an exception for faith-based services and protests.

"Our City is now close to a devastating tipping point, beyond which the number of hospitalized patients would start to overwhelm our hospital system, in turn risking needless suffering and death," the order reads. "These unfortunate facts about the spread of COVID-19 in our City mean that we must resume some of the more restrictive measures we instituted in the Spring."

Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP/Shutterstock

The order requires businesses to stop all in-person operations, though lists a number of exemptions — including grocery stores, gas stations, banks and more. It also exempts essential workers, such as first responders, government employees, those who care for others and infrastructure workers.

Restaurants are no longer allowed to have in-person dining, and can only operate through pick-up or delivery.

"My message couldn't be simpler," Garcetti said during a press briefing on Wednesday. "It's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything. And if it isn't essential, don't do it."

"Don't meet up with others outside your household. Don't host a gathering. Don't attend a gathering," he said. "And following our targeted Safer at Home order, if you're able to stay home, stay home."

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Garcetti warned that anyone found violating the order would be facing a misdemeanor charge, subject to fines and imprisonment. The Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney's Office have been tasked with enforcing the order, while the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will be asked to shut off utility service for any violations.

"If cases continue on this pathway, if they continue to increase at the pace that we've seen, the county expects we will run out of hospital beds here in Los Angeles by Christmastime," Garcetti said.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Public Health Department reported 5,987 new cases of COVID-19 and at least 40 new deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the city has accounted for 414,185 of the nation's cases and 7,740 deaths.

"From November 13th to 26th, avg daily #COVID19 hospitalizations increased 93%, from 974 to 1,884 and today LA county hit a record high of hospitalizations - 2,316," the department tweeted  on Tuesday. 

"While we have adequate capacity at our hospitals, a continued surge in cases is not sustainable because as hospitalizations increase sharply healthcare for everyone is affected. Please do your part, stay home as much as possible," it added.

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