LOS ANGELES (CN) — California should allow all nonessential retail businesses to reopen if they can follow infection control guidelines that essential businesses have had in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a lone Los Angeles County official said Thursday.
The plan to allow retail businesses to reopen is meant to help mom-and-pop shops weathering the Covid-19 stay-at-home order put into effect for most of California on March 19.
While nonessential shops only recently began providing curbside pickup in LA County, larger chains like Target, Walmart and other big-box stores have been open for business while adhering to social distancing and infection control guidelines.
“What seemed to be a necessary measure at the early onset of this crisis has unintentionally created winners and losers in this ‘pandemic economy,’ with large retail businesses able to operate, while small retail businesses are struggling and limited to curbside pickup,” said LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn in a statement. “This needs to change.”
Hahn was the lone county official to make the proposal in her letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Local governments across the Golden State, like Yuba and Modoc counties in Northern California reopened some businesses earlier this month, which prompted a dressing-down from Newsom.
Hahn’s proposal was made the same day LA County public health officials announced over 2,000 residents have died so far from complications due to Covid-19.
“This is a very sad milestone for us,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer during the daily Covid-19 update. On the bright side, officials reported the three-day average for infections in the county has dropped 15% and the seven-day death average has dropped 12%.
Ferrer said most infections have been in the 18 to 65 age group, which also makes up most of LA County’s workforce.
Just 9% of all tests in LA County have return positive and the rate of infection has been lowered thanks to social distancing guidelines, according to public health officials.
LA County saw 46 new deaths and 1,204 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 over a 24-hour period on Thursday. In total, 2,016 are dead and 42,037 county residents are infected.
To the south, Orange County has seen a dramatic spike in its daily figures, with 14 deaths and 115 cases reported Thursday.
The county saw just 73 new infections Tuesday, a figure that jumped to 249 on Wednesday. The spike is cause for alarm as the county’s death toll rose to 112 with 4,841 total infections.
This month, thousands took to the streets in the coastal city of Huntington Beach to protest Newsom’s stay-at-home health order. The fight between the historically conservative stronghold in Southern California and Newsom boiled over this month when the governor closed beaches in Orange County after reports of thousands of people lounging on public beaches.