May 18, 2020

Cars, Flowers, Toys, Books, Clothes and Sporting Goods: Los Angeles Opens Up Some Businesses

Holland & Knight West Coast Real Estate and Land Use Blog
Andrew J. Starrels
Breaking Ground: West Coast Real Estate and Land Use Blog

Effective May 8, 2020, the City and County of Los Angeles announced that specific retail businesses are permitted to open for online or phone orders, with curbside pickup only, including florists, toy stores, music stores, bookstores, clothing stores and sporting goods stores.  Automotive dealerships can open for sales with physical distancing and cleaning protocols. Trails, trailhead parks and golf courses in the City and County opened on May 9, with requirements for distancing, cleaning and infection control. Restaurants continue to be closed for dine-in customers. For the most part, shopping centers and malls remain closed, because permitted retail operators must have curbside pickup. In all cases, faces coverings are still required.

While business communities have expressed a cautious optimism that some aspects of normal commercial life may be returning to Los Angeles, there remains great concern about recurrence of infection rates and community backsliding. Large group gatherings, in-restaurant dining and public performances (sporting events, films, theater and musical performances) remain prohibited, and a return to these activities is likely several weeks or months away.

The County identified seven public health indicators that will enable public health and government officials to determine whether the COVID-19 crisis is improving or worsening, and City and County officials will look to those indicators as they make decisions about the progress toward resuming normal activity. Those key indicators are:

  • hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) capacity
  • personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies
  • testing capacities
  • case and contact tracing
  • hospitalization rates
  • COVID-19 death rates
  • testing capabilities for high-risk populations

The City and County guidance makes it clear that until there is a vaccine or effective treatment for the virus, the threat of COVID-19 transmission will continue to dictate significant restrictions on pre-COVID-19 business and activity. Face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing and cleaning diligence will continue to be required. Restrictions on physical contact, contact with high-touch services and communal activities will inform and dictate efforts to open up businesses further. Reduced capacities and operations, limited public access and frequent cleaning and sanitizing will, in all likelihood, be pre-conditions to future businesses opening. These and other measures to limit transmission and recurrence of infection will undoubtedly impair business functions and increase costs. The businesses that successfully navigate these troubling waters will be those that can achieve virtual, remote and distanced functions throughout the crisis.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is evolving and that the subject matter discussed in these publications may change on a daily basis. Please contact your responsible Holland & Knight lawyer or the author of this blog for timely advice.

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