Scenes at Northgate supermarket ub Boyle Heights stores as result of coronavirus panic. Photo by Pablo de la Hoya for Boyle Heights Beat.

On Monday, president Donald Trump released strict new national guidelines intended to limit people’s interactions and slow down the spread of the coronavirus for the next two weeks.

The president’s guidelines –which are not mandatory– called for people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts, and work or attend school from home whenever possible. They also  include a strong recommendation that anyone with even minor symptoms stay home.

The new guidelines follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation Sunday night that gatherings of 50 people or more be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks. They also follow even stronger guidelines announced by state, county and city authorities over the weekend.

On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked people over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues to stay at home and isolate themselves from others, and asked for bars and pubs to close. Newsom also restricted visitations to nursing and assisted living facilities to end-of-life visitation.

Following the governor’s orders, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive order that, effective at midnight, temporarily closed down all city restaurants, bars and nightclubs through March 31. The mayor said restaurants could only provide take-out or delivery food service.

Garcetti’s order also calls for the temporary closure of theaters, performance venues and bowling alleys, as well as gyms and fitness centers. He also called for churches, temples and other places of worship to limit gatherings. Grocery stores, pharmacies and food banks can remain open, but the mayor asked angelenos to stop hoarding goods because this practice only hurts the most vulnerable.

On Monday, Los Angeles County officials announced a directive that extends similar closures and restrictions to all 88 cities and unincorporated regions of the county, including East Los Angeles. County officials are also banning gatherings of over 50 people following a recommendation made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday.

The coronavirus by the numbers

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Public Health department reported 50 new cases of Covid-19, putting the county total at 144. For the first time, Public Health broke down the numbers by cities and large neighborhoods; there are five confirmed cases in Boyle Heights, but it wasn’t clear on Monday if those are patients hospitalized at LAC + USC Medical Center or other local hospitals or if they are residents of Boyle Heights and are receiving treatment at home.

Health officials said Tuesday they would not reveal further details about the Boyle Heights cases, citing patient privacy concerns.

What neighborhood services are provided

“Grab and Go Food Centers” for school children

On Monday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it would convert 60 of its schools into “Grab and Go Food Centers” in lieu of the 40 “family centers” it said it would operate, when it announced the closure of all district schools last Friday. The district said it would not be allowed to operate the family centers under strict new guidelines adopted by the county and state.

Beginning on Wednesday, March 18, the centers will open from 7 to 10 am and each child will be allowed to take two nutritious meals home. Six of the centers will open in Eastside schools; a full list of centers is available at

Eastside “Grab and Go” centers:

  • Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Senior High School

1200 Plaza Del Sol, Los Angeles 90033

  • Garfield Senior High School

5101 E. 6th St., Los Angeles 90022

  • Hollenbeck Middle School

2510 E. 6th St., Los Angeles 90023

  • Lincoln Senior High School

3501 N. Broadway, Los Angeles 90031

  • Wilson Senior High School

4500 Multnomah St., Los Angeles 90032

Free meals for Seniors

All senior centers in the city and county are closed, but as of Monday, March 16, free meals will continue to be provided. Older adults may send a family member, friend or caregiver under 65 to pick up packed and frozen meals. For assistance, seniors can call their usual meal provider or the number 213-482-7252, or find a location in this interactive map:

Meals are being provided at two locations in Boyle Heights and four in City Terrace and East Los Angeles. They are:

  • Boyle Heights Senior Center

2839 E. 3rd St

  • Costello Senior Citizen Center

3121 E. Olympic Blvd.

  • Nueva Maravilla Senior Cafe

4848 Colonia de las Rosas

  • East Los Angeles Service Center

133 N Sunol Drive

  • YWCA Greater Los Angeles Empowerment Center

4315 Union Pacific Ave

Know of other free services provided? Please let us know at

Measures to alleviate coronavirus related conditions

Parking enforcement relaxed

On Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city will temporarily stop ticketing cars during street sweeping and relax its enforcement of some other parking rules. For the next two weeks, the city will also temporarily stop ticketing and towing vehicles that are abandoned and oversized vehicles parked overnight. The city will also freeze parking fine increases for the next 60 days and extend all payment deadlines until June 1.

The city will continue to enforce parking meters.

Moratorium on evictions

Along with bars and clubs closures, Garcetti’s executive order on Sunday calls for a temporary moratorium on evictions within the City of Los Angeles. On Monday, Governor Newsom signed an executive order giving local governments the authority to halt evictions for renters and homeowners and urging banks and other financial institutions to stop foreclosures. On Tuesday, Los Angeles County said it would also institute a moratorium on all residential and commercial evictions through May 31

Details of the city moratorium were discussed Tuesday at a City Council meeting held without public or media in attendance (the meeting was live streamed online). The moratorium would not mean renters won’t have to pay, but that payments for some could be delayed.

Special shopping hours for Seniors

On Monday, Northgate Market said it would modify its hours to allow for time to clean and restock its stores. The supermarket chain said it would have “special operating hours” 7 am to 8 am daily exclusively for Seniors over 65 and disabled persons, and 8 am to 8 pm for the rest of the public.

Other supermarket chains joined the practice Tuesday, instituting special senior shopping hours, some starting on Wednesday.

What’s being cancelled or postponed

On Thursday, the Boyle Heights performance venue, Casa 0101 Theater, announced it would limit audiences to the current run of “Chicanas, Cholas y Chisme: Womxn in Herstory” to 50 people and take extra measures to allow for social distancing. On Friday, the company reversed its decision and said it was postponing the short play festival run.

Also on Friday, performance venue The Paramount said it was postponing all shows scheduled through April 15.

Anything else being cancelled or postponed? Please notify us at

What’s open/What’s closed

With the exception of banks, grocery stores and pharmacies, most businesses and public places have either closed or are expected to close this week.

Among Boyle Heights businesses announcing closures this week, the Guisados taquería said Tuesday that it would temporarily close its seven locations, including the original restaurant in Boyle Heights.

Another local business that announced a temporary closure this week is Espacio 1839, a small boutique that sells books, T-shirts and other specialized gifts. In a post on its Facebook page, Espacio 1839 said it would continue sales on its website.

The Espacio 1839 closure also applies to its low-power radio station and studio, where several local organizations and individuals (including Boyle Heights Beat) record podcasts and radio shows.

The Los Angeles Unified School District said Friday it was closing all of its schools effective Monday, March 16.  (See full story on LAUSD here.)

All Los Angeles Public Library’s branches –including the three in Boyle Heights– were closed on Friday through the end of March. During this period, due dates for borrowed materials will be automatically extended and no late fines will be assessed. Librarians will provide assistance through  telephone reference (213) 228-7272 and the web, and many of the library’s digital services will remain available 24/7 at

The Los Angeles County Library system followed suit, closing all branches on Sunday through  the end of March:

On Monday, Los Angeles County said it was closing all county buildings until further notice. For more information about County closures, cancellations and service modifications, click here.

As part of the closure, all classes and services at the Wellness Center at the Historic General Hospital have been suspended.

Starting Tuesday, March 17, every Los Angeles Superior courthouse and courtroom will be closed to the public for three days, through Thursday March 19. The courtrooms will reopen on Friday “for the limited purpose of hearing or handing essential or emergency matters, in Criminal, Civil, Probate, Family Law and Dependency/Juvenile cases,” according to an emergency measure issued Monday.

Inmate visitation

On Wednesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations said it was cancelling normal visitations at all state prisons until further notice. Overnight family visits will be held as scheduled. The department said there have been no “suspected or confirmed cases” of coronavirus at any CDCR institution.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department followed suite, announcing it was temporarily suspending inmate visitations at all county jail facilities as part of the county’s prevention efforts. The new policy will take effect Friday, March 13, until further notice.

Only attorney and professional visits will be allowed. Jails at each patrol station will remain operational as normal.

This post was updated on March 18 at 11:30 am.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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