LA Mayor Gives Update on Reopening LA

LA Mayor Garcetti said COVID-19 remains dangerous for people. 

He said the U.S. accounts for a quarter of the world's deaths from COVID-19.

"COVID-19 has never left us," Garcetti said adding in LA County crossed a threshold of daily new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

"It is time for a collective course correction," he said. "It's time for us to take control of this moment because I feel like COVID-19 is taking control from us but we can do things to take control back from COVID-19." 

He said the next two weeks will be "critical."

He added there was "a hard pause" on reopening any other businesses including concert halls, movie theaters, theme parks and more.

He stressed gatherings with people who don't live with you are not allowed.

On Sunday he said on Twitter "As we started reopening more businesses, we cautioned that we may need to change course to protect public health from this deadly virus. I support @CAGovernor’s order to close bars in L.A. County and other counties to limit the spread of COVID-19."

On Monday, LA County saw a record number of new daily COVID-19 cases and the number of hospitalizations and passed the 100,000 threshhold for COVID-19 cases. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer issued a warning about the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The County, which already announced bar closures on Sunday, also announced the closure of beaches and bike paths Monday afternoon. Gov. Newsom directed LA County and several other counties to close down their bars Sunday.

Garcetti said more testing per day to meet the need of COVID-19 tests across the region.

He said he directed his team to scale testing to meet the immediate heightened demands by adding 6,000 tests per day to a capacity of 13,000 tests a day starting tomorrow at seven city testing sites.

Angelenos can find more info and sign up at http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing

WHERE AND HOW TO GET COVID-19 TESTS?

Earlier in June he highlighted some changes underway or changes in the process of being discussed in the wake of the death of George Floyd - a death that has turned the nation's glance inwards and re-assess internal bias and the discussion around racism and privilege and the life of black people in America. 

Garcetti re-emphasized how the city is trying to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget and to then use that money to invest in the black LA community.

He also stressed how the city is going to handle allegations of LAPD police misconduct during the George Floyd protests. Amid the daily protests in the last few weeks over the death of George Floyd there has been increased and heated call to justice around race, police brutality and moves like LAPD banning the use of the Carotid Restraint Control Hold.

"This has been a time of so much pain, of sorrow and grief. Of the pain of what it means to be black in America every day that long predated this...I've been so proud of you Los Angeles. We have done things we didn't think were possible and yet we have so much more to do. We can lead it forward when it comes to COVID-19. And we must be leaders when it comes to racial justice not just in policing but also the investments we make in health, in hope, in healing, in education, and in jobs. And making sure that America's sins once and for all are righted so we do have one nation, under God, indivisible for liberty and justice for all," Garcetti said.

WHAT'S REOPENED IN LA?

As these discussions continue, some sectors of the economy will begin to reopen Friday. LA County already announced its reopening additional businesses as soon as Friday.

Garcetti announced the following can reopen on Friday in the city of LA if proper protocols are followed:

Gyms and fitness facilities

professional sports can resume without live audiences

camping

film and movie production

Day camps

Museums, galleries, and aquariums

Hotels

Earlier on Wednesday, Garcetti joined other SoCal mayors of major cities hosted a virtual conference to discuss homelessness and advocating for $350 million in state funding to bring homeless Angelenos inside amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a moment for the legislature to help step up with the governor and push us forward to the next chapter," Garcetti said adding LA is building 2,000 shelter beds in an 18 month period. 

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the city was able to house 3,000 people in 6 weeks thanks to local funding and state help, according to Garcetti.

He says there's a three-fold crisis right now, a health pandemic, an economic crisis, and a racial justice crisis. Garcetti says the money will help cities deal with the homeless crisis as well. He says state and federal money allow local governments to work faster to help people who need it the most.​

"We are all here united because homelessness is a crisis in all of our cities and throughout the state of California," said one Mayor in the virtual briefing.

Officials said they were in the final stages of negotiating with the Governor for $350 million to use locally, and supporting the Governor's proposal to use $600 million in Federal CARES Act funding for the acquisition of motels, hotels and construction of emergency housing and other critical needs.

Before Mayor Garcetti gave his usual briefing on COVID-19 and reopenings in the city, Friday he talked about racism in the U.S. and the death of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. 

"This week we have held a lot of pain. we've seen a lot of protests and ushered in a lot of peace. And maybe a piece of progress," Garcetti said. Adding, that, "It is my role as your mayor not to just to console, but to guide."

 

Garcetti also reminded protesters to be aware of COVID-19.

“Please do your part, but make sure this moment doesn’t bring with it a second wave,” he said.

He added that opening small businesses is a way of saving Angelenos' lives. 

RESTAURANTS, RUNYON CANYON, HAIR SALONS, HOUSES OF WORSHIP

As restaurants open, outdoor seating will be prioritized and bars will remain closed. Garcetti announced LA Al Fresco, a plan for restaurants to offer customers the opportunity to dine on sidewalks and parking lots. 

As it was announced that hair salons can now open, stylists must only serve one customer at a time. Nail salons and massage spas are not opening yet. 

L.A. Al Fresco aims to help businesses reopen while allowing customers and employees to maintain the physical distance recommended by public health officials by temporarily relaxing the rules that regulate outdoor dining. 

Garcetti gave the go-ahead to reopen Runyon Canyon. 

Runyon remains under a list of coronavirus safety rules. Face masks are required; people must stay in a one-way loop on all of the trails, and all hikers must maximize social distancing.

Garcetti announced more reopenings in the city when it came to business and houses of worship.

"Now it's time to even that playing field..." Garcetti said adding more Angelenos will be able to get back to providing the services.

Starting Wednesday, all retail establishments can reopen for in-store shopping.

-Houses of worship can also reopen but must not exceed 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower - similar to the state's guidelines for reopening houses of worship. Garcetti stressed that the houses of worship should "reopen slowly, and carefully."

-Runyon Canyon is reopened as a one-way loop.

"We can now go back into all stores," Garcetti said. "We know how to shop safer, we have learned a lot about social distancing, wearing our masks and following the protocols for washing our hands."

Mayor Garcetti stressed hair salons, barbershops and nail salons are not on the list to reopen nor are restaurants reopening for dine-in.

"It doesn't mean you have to open tomorrow, many stores won't be able to," Garcetti said.

Garcetti directed all retail, which is able to, to go to coronavirus.lacity.org/business for more info on how to make sure all the protocols and processes are met.


CITY PARKING LOTS at TWO BEACHES, CAR PARADES

He announced new reopenings ahead of Memorial Day weekend. 

He stressed Angelenos need to be careful because the virus is still out there. 

Garcetti said the city is opening city parking lots at Cabrillo and Venice Beach including the bike paths. He said that's in addition to the LA County reopening the paths and lots at partial capacity at Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach. 

Other reopenings:

-2 recreation zones will open along LA River starting on Memorial Day including the area parks, trails and bike ways - wear a face covering and follow social distancing protocols. No kayaking and no swimming allowed.

-stores inside indoor malls can offer curbside pick-up.

-car parades are allowed for birthdays, graduations and other celebrations - similar to the LA County order. 
 

PET GROOMING, CAR WASHES

Garcetti announced the following reopenings effective immediately Tuesday:

-all pet grooming where people can pick up or drop off pets outside the store

-training retail businesses

-mobile services must adopt the county's physical distancing requirements.

-all car washes 

Required protocols for safe operations can be found at http://Coronavirus.LACity.org/Business

He said there are four things to stay safe Tuesday:

-Stay safer at home

-physical distancing

-washing your hands and sanitize surfaces

-wear a face covering

SAFER AT HOME ORDER, TENNIS COURTS, COMMUNITY GARDENS, EQUESTRIAN CENTERS

Earlier this month, he stressed the LA Safer at Home "doesn't end today."

He reminded that everyone has to wear a face-covering whenever they leave the house and whenever they're outside. 

On Wednesday he said LA County is not going to be on lockdown for three months.

"We're not moving beyond COVID-19, we are learning to live with it," he said.

Garcetti said in regards to LA's Safer at Home order: "our updated [Safer at Home> order doesn't have a specific end date not because, and I want to say it again, everybody is locked down forever but because we still need to take the guidance of our public health professionals." 

He said in the new Safer at Home order:

-all retail locations in the city will be open for curbside pick-up and delivery.

- all manufacturing, that supports any retail that is reopening at a reduced capacity, can also reopen.

-tennis/pickleball courts, community gardens, equestrian centers, archery ranges, model airplane areas to reopen beginning Thursday.

"These are big steps but they also come with big responsibilities," Garcetti said.

He said the new Safer at Home Order is also requiring all Angelenos, except for small children or those with disabilities, to wear a face-covering when they are near people who aren't in their household and whenever you leave your house.

Garcetti said the order will continue to be adjusted.

Late Tuesday afternoon he made an announcement concerning LA's Safer at Home order. It followed LA County's announcement about its Safer at Home orders earlier on Tuesday.

“While the City’s Safer at Home order will remain in place beyond May 15, we will also continue to adjust the order gradually — to safely allow more activities, more businesses to operate, and more Angelenos to get back to work,” Mayor Garcetti said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. “We’re not moving past COVID-19, we’re learning to live with it — and we will keep taking measured steps toward a new, safer reality in the days and weeks ahead.”

The press release said "City of Los Angeles will work in close coordination with public health professionals to chart the course forward in the fight against COVID-19, and modify the Mayor’s “Safe at Home” emergency order as soon as public health and safety circumstances allow."

The Safer at Home order has been modified in recent weeks including this past weekend when some retail reopened up for curbside pick-up, and trails and golf courses reopened too.

Garcetti said "folks were back in our parks, our golfing went very smoothly. In our parks, many people wore masks, most people  were physically distancing but everybody needs to wear a mask and everybody needs to physically distance."

Garcetti said both city and county inspectors were out in the flower markets this past weekend to enforce to the safety protocols. 

In relation to the trails, he said "so far, so good." 

What about LA County beaches?

Garcetti said LA is one of the beach cities that, together with Santa Monica and Malibu, has been looking at that and said to "stay tuned."

"I do personally support that our beaches are open for active recreation. I don't think we can afford people sitting, tanning in the dry areas of the sand but the wet sand areas if you need to get in there to swim, to surf, to get in there and make sure folks can walk or jog. that is something I hope we can earn again and get the support of the County in coming days and I know those cities along the beach are looking at that so we can have a place to spiritually recharge and a place that is great," Garcetti said.

FLORISTS, BOOKSTORES, TOY STORES, SPORTING GOOD STORES, GOLF COURSES AND TRAILS

Garcetti joined KNX In-Depth last Friday to talk about the reopening of certain sectors of retail and golf courses and trails in LA.

He announced beginning last Friday, florists, toy stores, clothing stores, music stores, book stores, car dealerships and sporting goods stores will be able to reopen and offer curbside pickup only.

He said nobody can go into the stores at this point. 

Starting on Saturday he said the trails and golf courses can reopen. Garcetti said Runyon Canyon will remain closed.

He said there's a new requirement: face coverings will be required at all city trails and golf courses.

On In-Depth Friday, Garcetti talked about how cautious the public should be when it comes to the new order, the potential to dial back the easing restrictions if more COVID-19 cases pop up if people don't adhere to social distancing guidelines in public, essential businesses, and elsewhere, what phase 2 means and what that may look like.

"I feel excited but I remind people, as I have done each evening when I'm a mix between Debbie Downer and a high school sports coach, we can do this but it's in our hands," Garcetti said Friday. "This is still a really dangerous threat that has not receded one iota since it started."

In a briefing on Friday night, Garcetti stressed to shop locally. 

First, he said to remember "you are still safer at home," adding backyard parties and parties with friends aren't allowed.

When it comes to golf, bring your own golf clubs. And when trying to hike, check to see if trails are open 

In the past, Garcetti stressed that just because restrictions are being lifted for certain sectors in Los Angeles, people can't have others over at their houses - and no mass gatherings either.

That being said, businesses, trails and golf courses have to adhere to certain restrictions and social distancing guidelines, and can't open until they meet the prerequisites of the protocol. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, from LA County Public Health, said Friday to check before heading out to a trail or a golf course or a business to ensure they are open safely for customers.

For more information: https://corona-virus.la/updates

Garcetti said there would be a "phased return" with the reopening Friday.

He discussed the order from LA County officials today, which is beginning this Friday certain retail businesses in the county will be permitted for curbside pickup.

As Garcetti mentioned last month to CNN, he doesn't foresee large gatherings happening until 2021.

In the past Garcetti said there are five strategies that will determine when the city will reopen and everyone can go back to school, work and be in public spaces:

-wide-spread testing for people who are asymptomatic and everyone with COVID-19 symptoms. That includes the different types of tests including the nasal or mouth swab tests and antibody testing.

-real-time surveillance is needed to detect and prevent new outbreaks so that COVID-19 can be tracked in real-time.

-immediate response to new cases of the virus with an even more aggressive approach like quickly isolate cases, trace and communicate with contacts and quarantine non-immune people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

-question of hospital capacity including available beds for patients.

--ongoing research and development when it comes to developing treatments and vaccines and cures.