Getty to close indefinitely as Los Angeles responds to coronavirus
Disneyland and the Getty Center will close on Saturday. The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to close schools for at least two weeks starting March 16. Dodgers opening day is postponed, and most major museums are closed.
“Virtually every Hollywood studio,” including industry giant Viacom, is encouraging employees to work from home. And, on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom banned all “non-essential” public gatherings of more than 250 people.
Metro is still running, but life in Los Angeles is slowing down as the new coronavirus curbs the way Angelenos get around and the places they visit.
“We’re not at the point of closing down all activities for everybody,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told reporters Thursday.
But she cautioned, daily routines—especially those conducted outside of the home—need to be modified. That includes limiting close physical contact to at least six feet, a practice known as “social distancing.”
“We’re going to ask everybody to tolerate some discomfort… but we have confidence that if we do this well and we do it together we may in fact be able to slow the transmission,” she said. “But we have to act now.”
The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County had climbed 32 on Thursday, she said, predicting that the number would surely rise. As that happens, the response will likely ramp up too. Here’s how things are going down in LA, including closures, public transportation provisions, and updates on gatherings.
California cancels large events: The state has ordered “non-essential” gatherings to be limited to no more than 250 people. Smaller events can proceed if organizers implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
What’s a gathering? The state defines it as any event or “convening” that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or large conference room. Large events which were to have been held in LA that have been canceled or postponed include the American Institute of Architects convention in May and E3 in June.
Metro “strengthens” cleaning at transit hubs: The region’s transit authority says it’s stepping up its cleaning of major transit hubs and is cleaning buses and trains daily. To keep yourself and those around you safe, Ferrer urges riders to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after boarding. If you show signs of illness, however, you shouldn’t ride at all.
Hand-washing stations deployed at some homeless camps: More than 125 hand-washing stations are being distributed citywide. The city is also working with the county health department to determine ways to quarantine people living in shelters, if necessary.
Some museums remain open, but libraries are closed: All branches of the Los Angeles Public Library are closed through March 31. A growing number of LA’s major museums are closing their doors too. The Getty announced Thursday it would close indefinitely starting Saturday. The Broad is closed as of Friday “until at least March 31,” and all branches of MOCA are closed too. The Natural History Museum campuses, including the La Brea Tar Pits, are closed until further notice.
LA’s city parks remain open, but some of the buildings within them—including the Griffith Observatory—are closed until April 4.
City leaders weigh eviction moratorium: In San Francisco, Supervisor Dean Preston has pledged to prevent landlords from booting tenants based on loss of income due to COVID-19. Now Los Angeles may follow suit. Several Los Angeles City Councilmembers are working on legislation that will be introduced Tuesday to halt evictions and utility shut-offs.
Airports are open: Despite a ban on travel from Europe, flights are still operating in and out of Los Angeles International Airport and Burbank Airport. Contact your airline for updates on flights (and refunds). At LAX, where a medical screener has tested positive for COVID-19, officials say terminal restrooms and public areas are being cleaned hourly and “deep cleaning protocols” are now in place for “high touch” areas such as handrails, escalators, and elevator buttons.
Coachella postponed, Disneyland closed: Two of Southern California’s biggest attractions are trying to avoid crowding. Effective Saturday, Disneyland will close both of its Orange County parks through the end of the month. Meanwhile, the big desert festival, typically a springtime affair, has been rescheduled for October.
Real estate market in flux: Even as people began stocking up on disinfectant and other emergency supplies last week, historically low interest rates enticed prospective homebuyers to open houses and showings. Compass agent Tracy Do says that’s starting to change.
“Every real estate conversation I’ve had this week included coronavirus,” she says. “One buyer on a new listing escrow has gone M.I.A. … The requests to show our listings slowed by about 20 percent this week.”
Working from home: A slew of local companies, including Vox Media, have asked employees to avoid coming into the office. Here are some choice tips on how to work from home—without losing your mind.
The one major silver lining to all that telecommuting: Southern California’s notorious traffic monster has been lulled into hibernation. “LA people now can’t use ‘traffic’ as the excuse as to why they are late,” local historian Alison Martino tweeted today. The question is: Where will they be late to?