Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti once again sounded the alarm about the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic across the city in a Friday afternoon address.
“So often in this crisis it can be so confusing,” said Garcetti after widespread confusion over his Wednesday night safer-at-home order.
“We have never banned walking,” he clarified.
“Just be smart and stay apart,” Garcetti said, explaining that outdoor exercise is still encouraged, including walking and bike riding. The Wednesday night directive from his office that had said “travelling by foot, car, bus and airplane” is not allowed had confused many residents, although the orders were the same as the L.A. County regulations announced earlier.
“I assure you there are better days ahead,” Garcetti said. “Today the numbers were stark again, and record-setting in a bad way.” He explained that the city is on the verge of seeing 10,000 new cases per day, and that “We are perilously close to running out” of ICU beds. There were 8,860 cases in L.A. county on Friday. He predicted the city could total half a million cases by the end of the year.
He went on to explain the new California measures put into place this week by Governor Gavin Newsom that will effect the entire Southern California area. When 85% of ICU beds are filled, hair salons and “family entertainment” venues will close. Hotel rooms and campgrounds will be closed to tourism. Businesses will reduce capacity from 35% to 20% capacity.
He also announced a new digital contact tracing program and explained that the city was making free COVID-19 at-home testing kits available to people who are experiencing symptoms, have come in contact with infected people or who have health issues.