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Trump admin: extended stay-at-home orders could be ‘unlawful’

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti received a letter from the Trump administration on Friday warning extended or “heavy-handed” stay-at-home orders may be illegal.

“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long-term lockdown of the residents in the City and County of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions,” reads the letter addressed to Garcetti and Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Any such approach may be both arbitrary and unlawful.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the letter followed confusion over Ferrer saying earlier this month that stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended for the next few months, prompting many to believe strict measures would remain in place throughout the summer.

It was later clarified that while stay-at-home orders in Los Angeles County have been extended and officials will recommend people avoid unnecessary outings, some restrictions will be loosened in coming weeks. Recent changes include the reopening of beaches for active recreation as well as golf courses and hiking trails. Stores are also allowed to reopen for curbside pickup.

The letter from the Trump administration comes a day after Garcetti swiped at Trump for not wearing a face mask at many of his public outings.

Asked during an interview with MSNBC about Trump’s decision against wearing a face mask, Garcetti responded: “Simply put, I say real men wear face masks.”

Stay-at-home measures have helped prevent Los Angeles from seeing hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus cases. Los Angeles is still recommending wearing face masks outside and social distancing as it begins to reopen.

Though it’s less impacted than other major cities, Los Angeles has begun investing in a contact tracing program to help in reopening efforts.

“Look, simply put, we’ve got millions of people out of work and hundreds of thousands of jobs we need filled,” Garcetti said of the program. “And the quicker we can get them doing contact tracing, helping individuals and businesses with the benefits from the federal government, maybe even doing things like cleaning up cities and investing in infrastructure, the quicker we can get this economy back going. So for a few billion dollars we could unleash $1 trillion of economic activity sooner.”