LA Enters Third Phase in Reopening Economy with Hotels, Pro Sports, Gyms and More

Sports without audiences, fitness centers and hotels will be limited by capacity restrictions and health safety protocols


Los Angeles County is reopening nearly all the doors of the economy that the state allows amid the spreading coronavirus.

As shelter-in-place orders are relaxed, officials announced Wednesday that L.A. is again advancing on its “Roadmap to Recovery” with the longest list yet of sectors that can begin reopening. The list includes spectator-free professional sports, gyms, hotels, and more — which can reopen as soon as Friday.

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The landmark step puts L.A. County in the third stage of the state’s “Resilience Roadmap.

Governor Gavin Newsom has emphasized for weeks that the state provides the framework, while the timeline for reopening is based on local determination of each county’s statistics related to the virus, such as positivity rate, testing rate, hospitalizations, and more. 

L.A. County has been the epicenter for the state for the outbreak. As of Thursday, L.A. County Department of Public Health identified nearly 68,900 positive cases, and 2,813 deaths. The state has confirmed 139,281 cases and 3,177 deaths.

County and health officials warned that the threat of coronavirus is not gone, and that residents must continue practice social distancing, wearing face covers, and follow health protocols throughout all sectors of the economy. If the county’s infection rate or other key metrics show a rapid acceleration of cases, county health officials and lawmakers could close the sectors again.

Hotels, lodging and short-term rentals for tourism are among the list of businesses allowed to reopen. But they will be strictly limited in terms of how often they can book each room, which should be left vacant 24 to 72 hours after a guest leaves to properly clean it. Guests will be screened for symptoms, and people experiencing symptoms will not be allowed an overnight stay.

Many other sectors will be drastically limited in capacity and ability as they reopen and for the foreseeable future. Similar to the tight restrictions on capacity for movie theaters — which can also begin to reopen Friday — capacity will be limited at places like museums and galleries. 

Professional sports will do mostly without live audiences. Broadcasters will have to practice physical distancing and cameras will be in different locations. Athletes and staff must not have had signs or symptoms of coronavirus in the past 14 days, or been in close contact with anyone who is sick within 14 days of beginning training.

At gyms and fitness facilities, employees and customers will also be screened for symptoms. Equipment in many gyms will have to be rearranged to allow for physical distancing, and equipment and machines must be cleaned after each use. General capacity, as well as group class sizes, will also be limited to ensure social distancing — a minimum of six feet between patrons. And reservations for time at the gym are recommended. Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs will remain closed.

The county’s newly released guidance also allows for music, film and television production to resume. The industry’s return could bring “much needed boost” to Southern California, and help spark its rebound by bringing back hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Campgrounds, RV parks and outdoor recreation, zoos and aquariums, and day camps can also reopen. Wednesday’s announcement adds to the other sectors in L.A. County recently reopened, including hair salons, barber shops, retail, restaurants, and more.

Major public and tourist destinations are also announcing plans to reopen. For example, Disneyland announced yesterday that it plans a phased reopening to begin July 17, according to media reports. 

Nail salons, tattoo shops, bars and wineries, live performance theaters and venues, entertainment centers, stadiums, arenas, gaming facilities, theme parks and festivals remain closed.