Breaking news update:

Los Angeles County will allow nail salons and shopping malls to reopen with indoor operations at reduced capacity, officials said at a Wednesday news conference.

“We’ll proceed with a staggered approach to reopenings that will go over the next 10 days, and we’ll finalize the dates for each sectors reopening by Friday,” Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

Cardrooms will be allowed to reopen for outdoor gaming only and without serving food and beverages.

Indoor shopping malls will also be allowed to reopen over the next 10 days at 25% maximum occupancy, but all food courts and common areas have to stay closed.

Nail salons will be allowed to reopen for some indoor services again, but limited at 25% occupancy. Officials encourage the salons to continue offering services outdoors, “where the air circulation is better and there’s lower risk of disease transmission,” Ferrer said.

The county is also allowing outdoor playgrounds to reopen — but only with the approval and at the discretion of the cities where they’re located or the County Parks and Recreation Department, Ferrer said.

All parents and children aged two and older have to wear face coverings at the playgrounds and they can’t eat or drink in the playground area.

L.A. County on Tuesday announced it will allow breweries and wineries to reopen for outdoor services starting next week.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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Los Angeles County public health officials are set to provide the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The news conference comes after the county announced it will begin accepting applications for waivers to reopen elementary schools for in-person instruction for grades TK-2 in early October.

The health department will review applications for 30 schools each week and will prioritize issuing waivers to schools with the most students qualifying for free or reduced meals, according to the Department of Public Health.

But even as the county begins to allow the additional reopenings, officials said caution is necessary.

 “We have to remember that with every re-opening there is increased risk for COVID-19 transmission,” Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a Tuesday statement. “Our cautious approach to re-opening, thus far, has led to slight decreases of daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and we will continue to move cautiously so that we can consider safely reopening additional services and businesses in the near future.”

The health department will be “meticulously” reviewing waiver applications to make sure campuses that do open their doors to students have the protocols in place to curb the spread of the virus, Ferrer said.

Currently, schools in L.A. County can’t reopen for in-person instruction because the region still lingers on the purple tier — the the most restrictive phase of the state’s four-tier, color-coded system for reopenings.

That could change if the county can get its daily coronavirus case rate to 7 cases or fewer per 100,000 residents and stays there for two weeks. Currently, L.A. County has a case rate of 7.3, officials said.

L.A. County has met the other state requirement to advance onto the red tier.

The county’s coronavirus test positivity rate stands at 2.9% — a figure far lower than what’s required for L.A. County to move onto the next stage, the red tier, which would allow additional reopenings.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been declining and the county avoided a major surge in cases that was feared after Labor Day holiday.

“The County remains in Tier 1 because the daily case rate indicates there is still widespread transmission in our communities,” the health department said in a news release.

As of Tuesday, L.A. County recorded a total of 269,284 coronavirus cases with 6,551 deaths.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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