SoCal sees dip in traffic under stay-at-home order, but some still flocking to the outdoors

There are new concerns from public safety officials about people who are still gathering in some popular spots across Southern California despite a statewide order to stay home.

The California High Patrol says they noticed a period of wide compliance immediately following the orders from California and Los Angeles County officials. Then they noticed an uptick in traffic.

"Last week we definitely saw a huge decrease in traffic, but this week I've noticed a bit of an increase as far as traffic volume," said CHP Officer Jose Barrios.

An Eyewitness News analysis of data based on the movement of cellphones in L.A. County shows people were traveling an average of nearly 4 miles a day - back on March 9, when there was a total of 16 COVID-19 cases in the county.

By March 30, with the stay-at-home order locked in, the region saw a dramatic plunge with average travel dropping to 0.14 miles, a 96% decline.

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Officials are advising all residents of Los Angeles County to stay home this week, which they are calling critical in the widespread efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Now, officials are concerned about keeping those numbers down as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise across the region.

People were seen gathering in clusters at the beaches on Friday and others hit the Angeles National Forest for a hike, though it has shut down some popular trails through April 30.
Barrios says some officers have reported gatherings at isolated spots along the foothills

"More than usual because usually those viewing spots ... you see four or five cars, and he said he saw well over 15 to 20 cars," added said.

Still, officials say the majority of the public is adhering to the guidelines to only go out for necessities.

"Since the 'Safer at Home' order, we have seen a decrease of 59% in all traffic collisions," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a recent news conference.

Better, Barrios said, to stay off all roadways and put the outings on hold.

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