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Los Angeles County Outlaws All Public & Private Gatherings with Persons Outside Immediate Family

'We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end...'

(Headline USA) Los Angeles County announced a new house-arrest order Friday, banning most gatherings but stopping short of a full shutdown on retail stores and other businesses.

It bans people from gathering with others who aren’t in their households, whether publicly or privately.

The three-week order takes effect Monday. It came as the county of 10 million residents confirmed 24 new deaths and 4,544 new positive tests for COVID-19.

The county had set a threshold for issuing the stay-home order: an average of 4,500 cases a day over a five-day period, but hadn’t expected to reach that level until next month.

However, the five-day average of new cases reported Friday was 4,751.

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Cases do not have much significance, since tests are not accurate.

“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”

The order advises residents to stay home “as much as possible” and to wear a face covering when they go out.

However, exceptions are made for church services and protests, “which are constitutionally protected rights,” the county Department of Public Health said in a statement.

Indoor retail businesses, which make much of their profits during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, are allowed to remain open but with just 20% of capacity, including nail salons and other personal care services.

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Restaurants in the county already were recently barred from in-person dining. They can still offer pickup, delivery and takeout services.

Beaches, trails, and parks will remain open, with restrictions.

The order runs through Dec. 20.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.

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