LA Playgrounds Close, Then Reopen: The Latest on the County’s Orders

Editor’s Note: Guidelines and restrictions for California and LA County are constantly evolving. We are doing our best to provide you with the latest information and what’s safely open for kids and families. Because the situation is fluid, please check before visiting any of the destinations below. And as always, wear a mask, social distance and stay home if you’re feeling sick. 

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Last week, with Covid cases and hospitalizations surging in Los Angeles, the LA County Department of Health issued a new new advisory, recommending everyone “stay at home as much as possible.” The new orders closed playgrounds, while parks and beaches remained open for “passive use” (think running, biking and hiking). But now, a week later, LA playgrounds have reopened and we’re doing a happy dance! Keep reading for the details on the reopening, plus find out what else is open and closed in Los Angeles.


Outdoor Playgrounds

Shannan Rouss

After briefly closing playgrounds, LA County reversed its position and reopened them on Dec. 9. "Play is crucial for childhood development. But low-income communities of color living in dense housing often do not have access to a yard," L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis wrote on Twitter. "With distance learning, having access to public playgrounds is more important now than ever."

Of course, masks are required and you should maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. For that reason, county officials also recommend avoiding crowded playgrounds. And because playground equipment is not regularly sanitized, you'll want to de-germ children's hands regularly with your own sanitizer. 


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Malls & Shopping Centers

October brought the limited reopening of indoor shopping at malls, along with outdoor shopping at places like The Grove, The Americana at Brand and Westfield Topanga & The Village. These places continue to be open, with masks and social distancing, but capacity is limited to 20 percent. 

Click here for our list of the LA's best kid-friendly malls. 


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Botanic Gardens

Looking for a change of scenery and a chance to check out fall leaves at their finest? Head to one of LA's sprawling botanic gardens for a safe and serene socially-distanced outing. 

Drive-in Theaters

Joe Penniston via flickr

Since the summer, drive-in theaters have been drawing big crowds. In addition to permanent drive-ins, pop-up versions have taken place around town—at hotels, malls, the L.A. zoo and more. Check out our round-up of the latest kid-friendly drive-in screenings


Zoos, Aquariums & Animal Sanctuaries

Covid Update: As of Dec. 6, the LA Zoo and Long Beach Aquarium have both announced they are closed until further notice. Wildlife centers and animal sanctuaries may still be open for private tours and visits. 

After months of being closed, the Los Angeles Zoo finally reopened in September with timed entry to limit crowds and ensure physical distancing. It joined Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific (which opened its outdoor spaces earlier in the summer), and this list of reopened teaching zoos, wildlife centers and animal sanctuaries

Outdoor Dining

Austin A via Yelp

Restaurants are now closed for outdoor dining, but still open for pickup and delivery. Once restaurants can resume outdoor business, be sure to check out our favorite patios for dining out with the family. 

AMC Movie Theaters (for Private Screenings)

Kilyan Socalingum via Unsplash

While movie theaters remain closed, AMC briefly opened LA locations for private rentals via their AMC Safe & Clean program. Rentals are on hold for now. Save this link to submit a rental request once safety guidelines have changed.

–Shannan Rouss


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