The coronavirus pandemic is hitting some parts of the United States harder than others, and one city seemingly struggling with the outbreak is Los Angeles. On Sunday, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered that all gyms, movie theaters, bars, and restaurants (that don’t offer delivery food) to be closed until further notice.
The move comes as the federal government urges people to practise “social distancing,” the practice of avoiding human contact, to help reduce the spread of the virus.
ABC News reports that the sweeping, drastic changes forced Los Angeles residents to change their lifestyles on Monday morning.
During a Sunday statement, Mayor Garcetti explained that restaurants can no longer serve food to diners but only via delivery or drive-thru.
“This is an absolutely critical moment in our city’s history,” the mayor said in his statement. “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.”
The new ban will be in place at least until March 31 and is designed to reduce the spread of the virus and give the authorities time to put other measures in place to protect the American people.
While business properties can be legally shut down by the local government, Garcetti explained it was not possible to force churches and other religious establishments to close. He did, however, encourage them to do so while the pandemic continues.
The announcement was also made via Twitter, with graphics showing the kind of venues that will be closed from March 16.
These are the emergency steps we are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 & protect people across LA, effective at midnight tonight. This isn’t easy & I don’t make this decision lightly. We will do everything we can to help businesses & workers impacted during this time. pic.twitter.com/FAAOcRBDn7
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) March 16, 2020
Libraries, zoos, and recreation centers across the city have also been closed. School closures are taking place across most local school districts, and 60 facilities will open on Wednesday that will offer meals to parents and children.