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A.M. Brief: Outbreaks in L.A. Retail Rise as Shoppers Flock to Malls

December 23, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Downtown Los Angeles skyline during sunset
Downtown Los Angeles skyline during sunset / Photo by: Christina Champlin

Capacity limitations aside, masses of people are holiday shopping at L.A. County malls, and now, outbreaks have been reported at multiple stores throughout the region. Also this morning: Another ill-advised sing-along organized by Kirk Cameron, survey data on how people are adhering to Stay-at-Home orders, and nurses in Orange County protest deteriorating conditions at hospitals. Here is your Wednesday news. Take it!

Morning News Rundown

In-person holiday shopping continues in Los Angeles, even as COVID-19 infections surge throughout the county. Despite limitations on indoor capacity, the influx of shoppers combined with high community spread is resulting in outbreaks at multiple L.A. area malls. Over the past four weeks, outbreaks have been reported at the J.C. Penney at Northridge Fashion Center, Kohl’s at the South Bay Galleria, a Best Buy in the West Hollywood Gateway retail center, the Vans store in the Burbank Town Center, a Zara at the Glendale Galleria, and the Forever 21 at the Montebello Town Center. [L.A. Times]

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For the second time this month, former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron organized a maskless sing-along at a Ventura County mall. On Tuesday, roughly 100 people gathered in the parking lot of The Oaks in Thousand Oaks to sing Christmas carols and protest the state’s Stay-at-Home order. Mall officials said it was a non-sanctioned event and called the gathering “irresponsible.” [ABC 7]

If you suspect many people haven’t been strictly adhering to Stay-at-Home instructions, there are now numbers to back up the claim. A weekly survey of L.A. County residents conducted by the USC’s Center for Social and Economic Research reports that 30% of respondents had visited a friend, neighbor, or relative or had visitors at their residence. [Deadline]

A red flag fire warning has been issued in Los Angeles and Ventura counties through noon tomorrow as Santa Ana winds are expected to increase rapidly over the next few hours. Wind gusts may peak as high as 60 mph in the Santa Ana Mountain canyons. [CBS Los Angeles]

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Secretary of State Alex Padilla as his choice to fill the vacant Senate seat left by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Newsom also announced Assemblywoman Shirley Weber would take over for Padilla as California SOS. [CNN]

Early Wednesday morning, dozens of nurses gathered at multiple medical centers across Orange County to protest worsening conditions inside hospitals as COVID-19 cases spike throughout the region. Among other demands, nurses are calling for the cancellation of elective surgeries and to stop state officials from granting waivers to hospitals that increase the number of patients a nurse can be assigned. [CBS Los Angeles]

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