(CNSNews.com) - In a 14-page executive order issued on Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered everyone in the city "to remain in their homes," except for people "experiencing homelessness."
But the order says the city should “persuade” the homeless to “accept, if offered, temporary housing or shelter.”
In addition, "all businesses within the City of Los Angeles are ordered to cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace."
While "all public and private gatherings of any number of people from more than one household are prohibited," some outdoor faith-based services are allowed, as are outdoor protests "while wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing, and observing the Los Angeles County Page 3 of 14 Protocol for Public Demonstrations."
Garcetti warned that Los Angeles is reaching a "devastating tipping point," where the number of hospitalized patients may start to overwhelm the hospital system.
"My message couldn't be simpler -- it's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything," he said in a video announcement.
"The way to avoid that dreaded scenario is clear," the executive order said:
We must refrain from gathering with people from outside our household wherever possible. Angelenos have shown what is possible when we cooperate, listen, and protect our family, friends, neighbors, and favorite businesses. This most recent surge in COVID-19 cases presents us with an opportunity to work together, again, to reduce its spread and flatten the curve.
We must minimize contact with others as much as possible. Even if you believe that the virus does not present a particular threat to you, consider the impact that your choices have on others. Because COVID-19 can be transmitted by someone who is unaware that she is carrying it, one person could be unknowingly infecting many people if she is not careful. The better we are now at staying apart, the sooner we will be able to come back together.
The stay-at-home order contains dozens of exceptions for "essential activities," including:
-- Outdoor activity and recreation, provided that individuals comply with social distancing mandates.
--Providing care for minors, the elderly, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
-- Compliance with a law enforcement or court order.
-- Legally mandated government purposes.
-- Grocery stores, liquor stores, etc.
-- "All healthcare operations," which includes cannabis dispensaries.
-- Restaurants and retail food facilities that prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service, to be picked up, via drive-thru service.
The full list is included in the executive order, which can be found here.
As for the city's robust homeless population, the executive order says, "the city is working...to make more emergency shelters available for the unhoused residents of our City."
It says the city "shall make every reasonable effort to persuade such residents to accept, if offered, temporary housing or shelter, as the Health Officer of the County of Los Angeles recommends that sheltering individuals will assist in reducing the spread of the virus and will protect the individual from potential exposure by allowing the individual access to sanitation tools."
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, as of January 2020, the City of Los Angeles experienced a 16.1 percent year-to-year rise in its homeless population to 41,290.
That was the pre-COVID count. The pandemic is likely to have made the situation worse.