Garcetti orders closures of bars, gyms, theaters, in-person dining in restaurants to contain coronavirus

ByRachel Brown and staff KABC logo
Monday, March 16, 2020
Coronavirus: Widespread closures in effect in LA as coronavirus outbreak escalates
EMBED <>More Videos

People across Los Angeles were met with a new reality Monday morning: Closures for bars, movie theaters, gyms and more as city leaders worked to contain the spread of coronavirus.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- People across Los Angeles were met with a new reality Monday morning after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a sweeping set of restrictions on businesses in the city, closing gyms, bars and movie theaters and in-person dining in restaurants to help contain the new coronavirus.

Garcetti said Sunday that restaurants may no longer serve food in-person in their dining rooms. But they will be allowed to continue serving by delivery, takeout and drive-thru.

"This is an absolutely critical moment in our city's history," Garcetti said. "Our decisions will determine the fate of loved ones. Our decisions and actions will determine the length of this crisis, the damage done to our economy and ultimately how quickly we will get back up on our feet."

Through at least March 31, he is ordering businesses that serve the public such as bars and nightclubs, gyms, bowling alleys and movie theaters to close. He said he could not legally order churches and other religious institutions to close, but he encouraged them to do so voluntarily.

RELATED: Coronavirus: LA Archdiocese urges churchgoers to not attend Sunday Mass as places of worship grapple with outbreak

Garcetti compared the current crisis to past challenges such as earthquakes, riots and fires. But now more so than in the past, he said, every resident of the city has a responsibility to take action.

"We are all first responders. This isn't just someone else's responsibility, but it is the responsibility of each one of us. Your actions matter and they can and will save lives."

The city is also putting a moratorium on evictions for residential tenants during the crisis. Garcetti has asked the city attorney whether the city can also prevent commercial evictions.

The city's libraries, recreation centers and zoo have already been closed.

Most local school districts, including Los Angeles Unified, have already announced closures this week. Garcetti said the district starting Wednesday will open 60 centers where parents and children can get meals, and 40 of those are parent resource centers where they can get programming.

The mayor's announcement comes just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom called for bars and nightclubs to close to help contain the virus and for restaurants to reduce their occupancy by 50%.

Newsom's statements were intended as guidance and not an order of the state government.

But Garcetti took it a step further, saying he has signed an executive order to legally place the restrictions into effect. The order takes effect midnight Sunday.

He also issued a warning against people hoarding food from grocery stores. The stores have plenty of food, he said. He implored people not to "panic buy."

"You hoarding or buying too much is putting (others) at danger as well. So shop. Food is coming. We're working with groceries to ensure it continues coming."

The number of coronavirus cases in California has increased to 335, a 14% increase from just the day before, Newsom said.

He said there have been six deaths in the state related to COVID-19.

The number of cases in Los Angeles County has increased to 69.

Worldwide, the number of cases has increased to more than 162,000 with 6,000 deaths according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

In the United States, the number of cases has exceeded 3,200, with 62 deaths.