From Supervisor Kuehl's Office: Additional Clarification about Variances for Businesses and Constituents

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May 22, 2020

Dear City and Business Community Partners,
You may have been receiving many inquiries from businesses and constituents in your communities regarding variances and requests for approval of reopening/safety plans. Understandably, businesses leaders, employees, and residents are exploring all ways that they might safely reopen to maintain their employment, keep their businesses from closing permanently, or to return to some sense of normalcy and relief through the reopening of a community center, pool, or other important amenity. There have been some incredibly thoughtful and comprehensive plans that have been submitted to our office.
At this time, the vast majority of what is able to reopen is deemed by our state partners. I thought to provide an overview of what the LA County Department of Public Health and Health Officer can allow to reopen beyond the current Health Officer Order, and what could potentially reopen and not reopen if Los Angeles County were to qualify for a variance from the state (we do not qualify at this time). 
What is currently allowed to reopen in alignment with guidelines by the State of California (Phase 2A):
  • All essential critical infrastructure workers within this list of categories of work found here: This is includes some of the essential businesses that were able to remain open and others that have been allowed to reopen since April. It includes public workers in courts (LA County Courts are working to fully reopen), jails, front-line workers, and many of private sector essential businesses.
  • Reopened through Revised Health Officer Orders and Addendums:
    • Parks/Trails/ Beaches/Community Gardens/Equestrian Centers/Outdoor Recreation/
    • Retail (Curbside/Delivery)
    • Car Dealerships/Car Washes
    • Brick-and-Mortar Pet Grooming and Online Pet Grooming
    • Warehousing/Manufacturing/Logistics Protocol
    • Guidance for these businesses can be found at
Phase 2A is what the State is allowing as its baseline. The attestation/variance process allows us to get a variance to go beyond what the State is setting as its baseline, but only to a point. This extra activity that we’d be allowed to open up, with attestations that we’re meeting benchmarks around new cases, hospitalizations, and testing, is what the State is calling Phase 2B. These activities include those considered more risky because they create closer personal contact, often in indoor settings, where we know COVID-19 spreads most easily.
What could be reopened after receiving a variance from the State of California (Phase 2B):
  • Dine-in restaurants- with lots of precautions and distancing
  • Shopping centers- with lots of precautions and distancing
That appears to be all that is allowed with the variance, after making attestations and receiving State approval. The CA DPH website was recently being updated and it provides very detailed guidelines/rules for dine-in restaurants and shopping centers -
What would still have to remain closed, even if we are given a variance by the State of California to move into Phase 2B.
The following sectors, businesses, establishments, or activities are not permitted to operate in the State of California at this time:
  • Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios
  • Indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos and libraries
  • Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
  • Limited-capacity religious services and cultural ceremonies
  • Nightclubs
  • Concert venues
  • Live audience sports
  • Festivals
  • Theme parks
  • Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism – non-essential travel
  • Higher Education
For additional information please, please refer to the document attached.
While I know that you already know most of the information in this email, I hope it is helpful to have this information in one place to provide further guidance for constituents and business leaders in your communities. As always, Supervisor Kuehl and our office are always available to answer additional questions and look forward to maintaining an ongoing dialogue on our path to a healthy and safe recovery. I am including some additional helpful links for constituents and businesses below:
LA County COVID-19 Website -
LA County DPH COVID-19 Website (includes Health Officer Orders) -
LA County DPH COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery -
LA County Public Health Dashboards -
LA County Facebook Page (Daily Press Briefings – usually at 1pm) -
LA County Gov Delivery (Sign Up for LA County Department Press Releases/News) -
All the best,
Fernando R. Morales
District Director, West/Metro LA
O: 310.231.1170
C: 213.379.2807
Fernando Morales, District Director, (213) 974-3333