Los Angeles County has imposed new – and familiar – divisive restrictions on businesses as national and state coronavirus cases continue to spike.
The restrictions, scheduled to begin on Friday, include a business curfew, with restaurants, breweries and other “non-essential” businesses forced to close at 10 p.m. PST.
In Orange County, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide restrictions drew criticism.
Michelle Steel, a Republican who unseated the Democratic incumbent in Orange County’s 48th Congressional District after he conceded the election a few days ago, released a statement Tuesday on Newsom’s decision to move Orange County back to Purple Tier:
“Today’s unilateral move by Governor Newsom is troubling and harmful to Orange County families who need to put food on the table, to small businesses struggling to stay open, and to the mental health of our community. These actions continue to erode trust in government. … Instead of combatting COVID-19 in a thoughtful manner, this one-size-fits-all approach threatens the livelihoods of our residents.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday called the situation in Los Angeles “very dangerous” and implored Angelenos to buckle down.
“The risk of this disease has never been higher and the accelerating rate of infections has never been swifter,” the mayor said.
The city is also taking steps to expand testing, including 24-hour rapid testing sites at Los Angeles International Airport for those who do travel, the mayor said.
“We want to get to the vaccine without shutting down the economy even more,” he added.
Tuesday’s COVID-19 death count in the U.S. was its highest since May.
The past four weeks have seen a 42% increase in the number of fatalities, from a weekly average of 821 per day in early October to 1,167 per day last week, according to an NBC News analysis of the available data.