Photo by Matthew Hall

Labor Day is coming but Los Angeles County leaders said Wednesday, like everything else in life, the celebrations will look quite different this year if residents want to continue on the road to recovery.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis joined Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis for a press conference Wednesday to announce the curve is flattening but the pair of local leaders reminded residents to remember to wear masks and to only gather with people in their household as they look to enjoy the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

“We are once again back on the path of recovery, which means reopening may be in sight,” Solis said. “In fact, we are announcing today hair salons and barbershops in LA County are allowed to enjoy indoor operations at 25 percent (occupancy)… But we could easily be knocked off that path of recovery if we see another surge in cases after the holiday weekend, which is what happened after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.”

Solis also touched on flu season and encouraged residents to get vaccinated.

“Although, the flu and COVID-19 are different viruses and we don’t yet know how they interact with one another, there are concerns that people can be infected with both, possibly exacerbating your symptoms,” Solis said. “And the potential influx of patients with severe influenza could negatively impact our hospital systems’ capacity at a time when we need those precious beds the most. That’s why getting vaccinated for the flu is more critical now than ever before. We don’t have a vaccine but we do have a flu vaccine.”

Shortly after, Solis welcomed Davis to the podium, who would announce there was 51 additional deaths that occurred throughout the county Wednesday and detail the Los Angeles County’s latest reopening efforts.

“Beginning on Monday, September 14, K-12 schools may offer in-school services for small cohorts of students with individualized education plans, students requiring instruction for English as a second language or students needing assessments or specialized in-school services,” Davis said, mentioning schools must be able to fully implement the health officers reopening protocol. “This will get children who are in the most need of in-person learning back into the classroom.”

Davis added, “After they reviewed the updated order and the updated and required county protocols, hair salons and barbershops can reopen for indoor services at 25% occupancy, provided they are in full compliance with the health officer’s protocols… All other restrictions remain unchanged at this time.”

A cautious and measured reopening with close monitoring of the county’s data is necessary if the county is to avoid the spike in COVID-19 cases that officials saw in July after reopenings and holidays, according to Davis.

“It’s important for all of us to be diligent in doing our part in protecting ourselves and each other from the spread of COVID-19. The virus is widespread in our community,” and the improvements seen do not mean victory, Davis said in conclusion. “This Labor Day, please use all of the tools that we have to prevent and slow the spread.”

Brennon@smdp.com