Public Health: Business compliance improving but more can be done

Dinners sit behind K-rails as they eat in the street outside Smokehouse on Main, as on Main Street in Newhall is close to increase outside seating for restaurants on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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After pressing on residents to do their part this past Labor Day weekend amid the pandemic, L.A. County Public Health officials said Thursday businesses mostly complied with safety protocols — but there’s still room for improvement. 

“Worksite compliance, as we’ve mentioned before, is a cornerstone of our efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in our county,” said county Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis during a media briefing. “Reasonably good compliance was found with many aspects of the county protocols, but as you can see, not everyone is at 100%.” 

From Sept. 5-7, Public Health visited 331 locations across the county, including 126 restaurants, 113 hair salons and barbershops, 53 markets, 23 hotels and 10 gyms. 

Inspectors’ findings revealed that 96% of all markets and hotels complied with disinfecting protocols, followed by 90% of hair salons/barbershops, 83% of restaurants and 80% of gyms.

Gyms and hotels were the least to comply among the rest of the sectors inspected with regards to ensuring patrons wore face coverings, scoring 10% and 65% each, respectively. Restaurants were the least (76%) to comply with physical distancing protocols, according to Public Health data. 

The county has issued 30 citations, with fines totaling $23,000 since Aug. 28, when the county began the process of citing businesses for violating health protocols, said Davis. 

COVID-19 outbreaks at residential and non-residential settings are beginning to decline, data showed. From March 15 through Sept. 8, residential outbreaks peaked at the start of the pandemic, while non-residential locations hit their largest peak in early July. Both have since been trending downward, according to Public Health. 

As of Thursday, 13 non-residential sites were listed on Public Health’s website that tracks outbreaks, a figure that increased by three settings compared to what was listed on Aug. 21


Data also revealed that of 10,000 individuals interviewed for COVID-19 case investigations from Aug. 17-31, 56% said they had come in close contact with at least one person during their infectious period. These figures revealed, of those interviewed, the most common types of contact each individual had been mostly household (90%) contacts. Social situations (4%), intimate partners (2.5%) and workplaces (1.4%) followed behind. 

Public Health officials said Thursday that, as they closely monitor data to weigh the impact of Labor Day weekend on the transmission of the virus, residents are recommended to get tested if they believe they were exposed to COVID-19 during the holiday weekend. 

As more businesses comply with county protocols, Muntu announced the COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program that offers free, online training for businesses to ensure that their practices align with infection control requirements. For more information, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov

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