That question has been on the minds of many residents well into the second month of stay-at-home orders and other disruptions due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, on Friday unveiled a four-point plan whose prerequisites she said would have to be achieved before the easing of restrictions could begin.
The plan's key benchmarks, announced at an afternoon news conference, are:
1. Capacity in the health care system
"This includes adequate staffing, testing, ventilators and other medical supplies to handle routine care and prepare for any increases," Barger said.
April 20, 2020: Board of Supervisors chairwoman talks about when LA County could loosen stay-home restrictions
2. Protections for those at risk
Barger described the especially vulnerable as people who have underlying health conditions, the elderly, the homeless, residents of institutional settings and those who lack access to services.
3. Increased capability to test, isolate and trace
This includes the capacity to "quarantine people and have surveillance to prevent further spread," Barger said.
4. Maintain physical distancing
The supervisor said part of the county's role as providing educational materials and guidance to make the continuation of physical distancing possible and enforce compliance.
"Every one of us is eager to ease safer-at-home restrictions so we can return to a normal life,'' Barger said. "I'm immensely proud of our residents for adhering to these guidelines so far, which has successfully prevented a huge surge in cases."
The criteria unveiled Friday echo those previously proposed by county health officials, as well as guidelines detailed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on the state level, and by Mayor Eric Garcetti for the city of Los Angeles.