This week Los Angeles went on lockdown. Restaurants, bars, gyms, schools, and major landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier have been closed at least through the end of the month. Everyone has been told to stay indoors as much as possible and do their part to “flatten the curve.” The panic seemed to come to a head late last week and into the weekend as everything began shutting down all at once. From empty grocery stores late on Friday evening, to no traffic during rush hour on the 10 East, to lines at local gun stores, to shelves without toilet paper at the Costco store, we are living a new surreal everyday life. Scenes we had only experienced from the comfort of our couch through end-of-the-world movies have now become real life.
I went to Costco early on Saturday morning expecting an apocalyptic scene and was not disappointed. When I arrived, the line at the front entrance wrapped up and down and around the entire parking lot. Costco workers estimated that 3,000 people were waiting for them to open. Patrons at the front of the line had been there since 3:00 AM. I spoke with an older gentleman waiting at the front. I asked him how long he had been there for and he replied, “I’ve been here since 6:00 AM.” Almost immediately, security came over and asked him to leave because everyone else around him had been there three hours longer. After asking the workers if I could go inside to take photos and getting a funny look and a firm “NO,” I found a side entrance and made my way in to take photos. Almost immediately upon arriving at the toilet paper mountain, I looked over and saw the older gentleman who had been removed from the line. He had a cart full of toilet paper and water, but the wheels on the cart were locked because he had found the cart inside Costco in the Employees section. After exchanging pleasantries with me, he walked away dragging his filled-to-the-brim, non-operational shopping cart. Before leaving, I grabbed a 30-pack of Charmin Ultra and made my way to the exit.
Today, Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti issued a “Safer at Home” order asking L.A residents to limit “non-essential” movement as the coronavirus spreads.
“I’m issuing a Safer at Home emergency order — ordering all residents of @LACity to stay inside their homes and immediately limit all nonessential movement. We’re taking this urgent action to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Garcetti said in a tweet.
The order goes into effect tonight at 11:59 PM and will run through March 31, 2020. Residents can go outside to get medications and buy groceries. They can also take a walk or go for a hike, but are urged to keep at least six feet away from others. They should not go to work unless they are providing essential services as defined by the order, or visit friends and family. The order is mandatory, and not guidance.
We are living through times we hope we only have to experience once in our lifetime. Here at These Streets Magazine we implore you to document everything you experience over the next weeks and months. Whether sitting at home with loved ones, taking a trip to the grocery store, or walking in the park, pull out the camera and capture these moments. We wish these were important times for more uplifting reasons, but they are historical nonetheless and deserve documentation.
TSM - PSA