LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Public health officials in Southern California are taking extra precautions this Fourth of July weekend as Los Angeles experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is ordering the county’s beaches be closed Friday morning through Monday morning. Officials hope this prevents dangerous overcrowding that could result in the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For that same reason, the department is also prohibiting fireworks displays in the county during the holiday weekend.
Beach parking lots, piers, bike paths and access points will be closed, as well.
The health department says key metrics show steep increases in community spread. On Monday, officials announced more than 2,900 new cases of COVID-19, which is the single largest one-day case count since the pandemic began.
Projections by the Department of Health Services show a clear increase in area hospitalizations in the coming weeks, which could cause a surge in the health care system.
“Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus. The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part. Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities.”
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that gatherings with people other than those you live with remain prohibited in the city.
“Getting together with family, friends, coworkers, is how the virus spreads,” said Garcetti. “When we get exhausted, it gets strong. When we get lazy, it thrives. It only takes one infected person to spread COVID-19 through your network.”
The mayor also said that his office has enacted a “hard pause” in the reopening of more businesses in the city, including theaters, bowling alleys, and amusement parks.