Los Angeles, Dec 1
A new stay-at-home order has come into effect in Los Angeles as confirmed coronavirus cases in the most populous US county exceeded 400,000.
The order, which will continue until December 20, bans people from attending public or private gatherings with non-household members, but exempts religious services and protests under "constitutionally protected rights," according to local health authorities.
All playgrounds and cardrooms will be closed, but beaches, trails and parks will remain open to groups who live in the same household.
The order also reduces the maximum occupancy for essential businesses to 35 per cent, and for non-essential businesses, personal care services, and libraries to 20 per cent.
Businesses operating outdoors, including fitness centres, zoos, botanical gardens, are reduced to a maximum of 50% capacity.
The order exempts outdoor church services and protests, according to county authorities.
On Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 5,150 new Covid-19 cases and 17 fatalities, increasing the metropolitan area's overall infection tally and death toll to 400,919 and 7,655, respectively.
Public health officials said the latest daily count "is far higher than the County's peak number of daily cases during the summer surge, which averaged 2,950 cases on July 14".
California, one of the worst-hit states by the pandemic, has so far reported more than 1.24 million Covid-19 cases and 19,209 deaths.