COVID-19: Safer at Home FAQ

Answering your questions about Los Angeles County's Safer at Home order. Click here to read the Safer at Home Order to Control COVID-19. 3/27/20: Health Order issued temporarily closing public trails and trailheads, beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points

What is “Safer at Home”?

Safer at Home is a set of directives that supports the Los Angeles County’s Public Health Department Health Officer’s Orders to do all we can to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that is causing this deadly disease.

Can I leave my home?

Stay home and travel only for medical appointments, caring for family members, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, and doing other essential business. Beaches and trails are now closed.  When outside your home, please maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County Director of Public Health, advises everyone should remain at home as much as possible.  Learn more about Safer at Home

Why are beaches and trails closing?

By order of the Health Officer, all beaches, beach facilities, and beach accessways will be closed through April 19, when the order expires. Department of Beaches and Harbors (DBH) crews began closing the beaches and amenities, including restrooms, Friday morning (March 27, 2020). 

The bike path that runs along the beach was also closed and will remain off limits to cyclists. Beach parking lots were closed earlier in the week and volleyball nets were removed to discourage gatherings on the beach.

Learn more about this Order. 

What does the L.A. County Health Officer’s COVID-19 Health Order say I should do if I’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or am waiting for test results or actually tested positive for COVID-19?

The LA County Health Officer has issued two new separate orders: 

  1. Self-quarantine for anyone exposed to an individual diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19. View Order. 
  2. Self-isolation for anyone diagnosed with or showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.. View Order. 

These new Orders ensure that individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and those who are told by a clinician they are presumed to be positive for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for  at least 3 days (72 hours) without symptoms, including being fever free without taking medicine, and 7 days since their symptoms started, whichever is longer.  Additionally, those who have been in close contact with someone who is positive or presumed positive must quarantine themselves for 14 days starting from the last time they had contact with the ill person. 

How long will the L.A. County Health Officer’s COVID-19 Health Orders last?

They last until April 19, 2020. The duration can be either shortened or extended by the Health Officer of the County and will be in place for only as long as necessary.  

LA County, in coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the City of Los Angeles, will be closely monitoring the situation every day in order to determine what adjustments make sense. 

Where are the COVID-19 LA County Health Officer Orders in effect?

County Health Officer Orders are in effect in all parts of Los Angeles County, except for the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena. Safer at Home is in effect across the entire state of California. 

Are the L.A. County Health Officer Orders different than the orders issued by the City of Los Angeles and the state of California?

LA County, LA City, and the State are all aligned on the fact that everyone is safer at home and should only leave for essential activities. 

Should I go to work?

Only if you work at an Essential Business, Healthcare Operation, or at a provider of Essential Infrastructure, as defined by the March 21, 2020 L.A. County Health Officer Order. Essential businesses and services include:  

 County/City government services: 

    • Police stations 
    • Fire stations 
    • Public health
    • Jails 
    • Courts 
    • Garbage/sanitation 
    • Public Transportation 
    • Utilities: Water, Power, Gas 
    • (Office uses like payroll, security, and administration) 
    • Public works construction, including construction of housing 
    • Airport operations
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, pet supply, water, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning or personal care products).  This includes stores that sell groceries along with other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences (e.g., Target) 
  • Food cultivation, livestock, farming, fishing 
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, necessities of life for disadvantaged 
  • Newspaper, TV, radio, magazine, podcast, other media services (News Media / Journalism)
  • Gas stations, auto repair and supply, and related facilities 
  • Banks, credit unions, financial institutions, insurance companies 
  • Hardware stores, nurseries, building supplies 
  • 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 Businesses 
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping, including PO boxes 
  • 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 6-feet per person is maintaining to the greatest extent possible 
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, laundry service providers, personal grooming services 
  • Restaurants/businesses that prepare food but only for carry-out/delivery or drive through 
  • Supply office or computer products needed by people who work from home 
  • Supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate 
  • Ship, truck, provide logistical support or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences, Essential Businesses, Healthcare Operations, Essential Infrastructure 
  • Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order 
  • Businesses that provide parts and service for Essential Infrastructure 
  • Healthcare services including those provided at hospitals, clinics , nursing homes, long term care facilities, treatment facilities, dental offices, and medical offices
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, disabled persons, or children 
  • Residential facilities and shelters for people experiencing homelessness, seniors, adults, disabled persons, and children 
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities, and the permitting, inspection, construction, transfer and recording of ownership, of housing and anything incidental thereto 
  • Military/Defense Contractors/FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Centers) 
  • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted.  
  • Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities 
Is the local government shutting down?

No, essential governmental functions will continue, including first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, and law enforcement. Other government functions or offices may be subject to reduced schedules or may be closed as part of the effort to fight the spread of COVID-19. 

I work for the government. Can I continue to go to work?

Government employees should continue to go to work if they are instructed to do so by their employer. Other government entities are responsible for determining which of its workers are essential workers.  

All county employees can serve as disaster assistance workers. The safety and wellbeing of our employees is a priority and we have taken measures to ensure social distancing, increased cleaning, sanitation, and disinfectants, and we are expanding telecommuting options. County employees are essential to leading our communities through this unprecedented time. County employees should visit for more information on working under the Order.  

Why is the County issuing an Order that shuts down so many businesses in my community?

LA County and the City of Los Angeles have been closely monitoring the rapidly accelerating situation with COVID-19 and it is clear that if we do not take very strong and aggressive action to slow down the spread of the disease, there will be substantial harm to members of our community.  

Are restaurants open?

Restaurants will remain open for takeout and delivery only.  Bars and clubs remain closed. 

Can I still get deliveries from online stores?

Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services.  If you order something for delivery, if possible, pay and tip electronically and ask for the item to be left outside your door. 

Can I take public transportation (bus, subway, train)?

Yes, but only for essential travel. Public transit will continue to operate on a limited basis. When using public transport, you should maintain at least 6 feet, which is appropriately two to three steps away, including if you are on the bus or trains.  

Can I use ride share/on demand service or a taxi?

Yes, but only for essential travel.  

Being in close quarters in a vehicle that has been shared with many others should be avoided if possible. However, there may be circumstances when this mode of transportation is necessary. In that instance do your best to take social distancing precautions, being sure to cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before and after rides, etc. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers, like Uber and Lyft, are providing transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes which are authorized by the L.A. County Health Officer’s COVID-19 Order. 

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone. 

Does “Safer at Home” allow me to have my children in childcare? Will my daycare be shut down?

Childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:  

  1. Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable" means the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day) 
  2. Children shall not change from one group to another 
  3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room.  Groups shall not mix with each other 
  4. Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children
I become anxious when cooped up in my house. Am I allowed to go for walks or to the park? Can I travel to a park or open space?

Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and wellbeing and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and engage in other similar passive recreational activities, but should maintain social distance (i.e., be more than 6 feet away from persons who are not part of your household) when on walks and in parks to avoid the spread of virus. If there are a lot of people at the park when visiting, refrain from visiting and go home. Please note that beaches and hiking trails are closed by the Order. It is safer at home. 

Am I allowed to leave the areas covered by this order to travel to/from a vacation home outside the County?

Yes. However, you are safer at home and should only travel if it is essential.  

I am currently on vacation outside the County. Am I allowed to return home?

Yes. You should maintain social distancing on your way home. If you prefer to stay safer at home at your current location, you are encouraged to follow our policies while outside LA County in order to protect yourself and others.