Los Angeles hospital workers have new child care options

Employees at hospitals in Los Angeles will have additional child care options under a plan announced Friday by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The workers can apply for a $100-per-shift stipend to help pay for child care services, receive free referrals to licensed childcare providers, and the city will open five recreation centers from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. for children ages 6 to 14 for parents to drop them off while they head back to work, Garcetti said during his daily briefing on the coronavirus outbreak.

The recreation centers will provide activities and free meals to children of hospital workers.

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"We know that many hospital workers across Los Angeles are struggling to find access or care for their children, and we know that's especially tough for lower-wage folks and non-clinicians," Garcetti said.

Participating hospitals must make the stipend available to all employees, including janitorial and administrative staff, Garcetti said.

Garcetti also said the Safer at Home orders will be extended to May 15. They had been set to expire Thursday.

Nations where people were allowed to return to work too early have seen spikes of the virus reemerge, Garcetti said.

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"We're working very hard on plans where we can feather people back in (to work)," Garcetti said. "It's not going to be a flipping on of the switch and everyone goes back to work.

"We won't have one day longer keeping you at home, but we wont let you out one day earlier than the public health officials tell us is necessary to save your lives."

Businesses that are deemed essential but are not medical providers will be required by the city and the county to complete and post a social distancing protocol document, a form that will have a checklist of social distancing, hygiene and public health requirements.

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It must be posted at or near the entrance of every business by midnight Thursday. Copies of the document can be downloaded at coronavirus.lacity.org/distancingprotocol.