Anti-Lockdown Protesters Chant 'Open L.A.' Outside Health Chief's Home Before New COVID Restrictions Begin

Crowds gathered outside the home of the Los Angeles County's public health director on Sunday to protest against the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions taking effect this week.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer's Echo Park home was surrounded by dozens of demonstrators, carrying placards, waving flags and chanting: "Open L.A." and "No science. No data. No shutdown".

Footage from the scene shows few people in the crowd were wearing face masks as they paced up and down the street.

LAPD officers could be seen over looking the scene with a police vehicle parked in what appears to be Ferrer's driveway.

barbarer ferrer
Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer speaks at a press conference on the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus), March 6, 2020. Protesters gathered outside her house on Sunday angry with the latest round of restrictions ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

It comes after L.A. County officials outlined a new "Safer at Home" order to come into force on Monday for three weeks amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases and deaths in the area.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced a statewide curfew that forbids nonessential gatherings after receiving criticism over photos showing him dining out with a large group amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the protesters outside Ferrer's home carried a sign that read: "Newsom and Ferrer are non-essential."

Another women held a placard which read: "Barbara Ferrer. How do you feel about yourself making $413,865 while putting millions out of business. How? I'd feel shame".

Some demonstrators wearing Trump 2020 t-shirts also appeared to protest the result of the presidential election, with one holding a flag that said: "Trump won."

But there was also a pushback from local residents who came onto the street holding signs which said: "Trump lost" and "go home". One resident clashed with the Trump supporters calling them "fascists" and "Nazis".

The county saw 5,014 new cases on Sunday and 16 new deaths bringing the total number of fatalities to 7,639, according to the public health body. There are currently 2,049 in hospital.

What are the new COVID restrictions?

Daily coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths has rapidly risen in L.A. County over the last few weeks.

L.A. County announced a raft of new measures to help tackle the latest spike in COVID-19 but stopped short of introducing restrictions as severe as the first lockdown in March, which saw all but essential businesses close.

The new measures come into force Monday and will last for three weeks until December 20.

All gatherings between separate households - with the exception of outdoor church services and outdoor protests - have been banned. Meanwhile, gatherings of up to 15 people outside are currently allowed but only between a maximum of three different households.

Essential retail stores must limit occupancy to 35 percent capacity reduced from the previous cap of 50 percent. Meanwhile, non-essential stores and libraries must reduce capacity from 25 percent to 20 percent.

High Number of Daily Cases and Hospitalizations is Serious Cause for Concern: New Order Aims to Reduce Risk of Transmission. Public Health Confirms 19 New Deaths and 3,143 New Positive Cases of #COVID19. View https://t.co/5mEexqY2pc for More Information. pic.twitter.com/fyP87oez4E

— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) November 28, 2020

Playgrounds that are not par to schools or child-care centers have been ordered to close, while only regulated lap swimming can continue in public swimming pools.

But beaches, trails and parks can remain open, as well as outdoor venues like golf courses, tennis courts, skate parks, and community gardens.

Childcare, schools and day camps can remain open but will have to close for two weeks if a cluster breaks out. Professional sport without spectators and outdoor youth sports for skill building can continue but sport competitions have been banned.

The county will sill have to abide by the state-wide curfew, which bans all non-essential activities outside the home with members of other households between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

More people here now, and a bit of a shouting match erupting between the protesters and a resident on this street. pic.twitter.com/SQ6YYZ2FcB

— Laura J. Nelson 🦅 (@laura_nelson) November 30, 2020

Ferrer recently ruled out a sweeping shutdown, telling media outlets: "We have much more capacity on testing now, which allows us to do a better job quickly identifying people who are positive."

Dr. Muntu Davis, the L.A. County health officer also told the LA Times: "We've learned some things from that previous time. There were certain things that we didn't have in place, in terms of universal face covering."

The map below, provided by Statista, shows the number of COVID-19 cases across the country as of November 30.

Statista coronavirus US map
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