New ‘Safer at Home’ Order: Don’t Go Out Unless Necessary

March 19, 2020 by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Photo: Mayor of LA/Facebook

Today during a 5:30 p.m. press conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced even stricter measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Shying away from terms like “lockdown” and “shelter in place,” Garcetti is instead calling this order “Safer at Home.”

The Safer at Home order goes into effect at midnight tonight through April 19. The County of Los Angeles has put a similar order into place. 


In short, you shouldn’t go to work unless your job is an essential service (defined below) and there should be no gatherings of more than 10 people. Basically, you should, when possible, stay at home. But don’t panic if you still need something. You can leave your home for essential services and, if you like, to take a walk outside—as long as you practice social distancing.

“We encourage you not to be locked down,” Garcetti said. “This is not ‘shelter-in-place’ like a school shooting. This is stay at home because you’re safer at home.”

Things you can do:

  • Go to the grocery store
  • Go to the pharmacy 
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor first)
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, and exercise outdoors while social distancing
  • Walk your pets and take them to the vet if needed
  • Help someone else get supplies they need

But you shouldn’t:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by the Safer at Home order. (Working from home, of course, is fine.)
  • Visit friends and family unless there’s an urgent need
  • Travel to or from a job outside of Los Angeles, except to perform essential activities
  • Travel to or from a vacation home outside of Los Angeles
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or any other residential care facility

Per the Safer at Home order, the following is a list of business and services considered essential (more details here):

  • City/County government services:
  • Gas service stations, auto supply, auto repair, bicycle repair shops, and related facilities.
  • Health care providers
  • Food services (note: no dine-in restaurants or bars can be open)
  • Hardware stores and nurseries
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential activities  
  • Banks
  • Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, (including gang prevention and intervention and domestic violence agencies).
  • Laundromats/laundry service
  • Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, podcasts and other media services
  • Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible

Today’s announcements come after days of ramping up restrictions throughout the state, including the closure of all restaurants (save takeout and delivery), bars, and fitness centers. You may listen to the entire briefing here.

In a separate news briefing, the County also revealed that the current number of confirmed cases is now around 230. At press time, two people have died due to the coronavirus, most recently a 34-year-old resident Glendora resident who had recently visited theme parks in Florida.

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said lab tests have been performed on nearly 1,700 people. On average, about 13% of those tests have come back positive. 

If you are feeling stressed or anxious, Ferrer pointed to the Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 hotline. That number is 800-854-7771.

Correction: A previous version of the article stated 17,000 people had been tested.