Supervisor Kathryn Barger introduced a motion, co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, that will ask the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, County Counsel and Public Health Officer, to pursue a variance with the State of California once the county has achieved readiness under the State’s identified criteria.
This motion, which will be heard before the Board of Supervisors at its next meeting today, also supports efforts for interested cities or regions within the county to apply for their own partial variance based on the state’s readiness criteria. These are critical and necessary steps for the county to pursue toward full reopening.
In addition, Barger sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, urging his support to enable Los Angeles County to advance in Stage 2 and transition to Stage 3 of California’s COVID-19 pandemic roadmap.
This would allow Los Angeles County to reopen the majority of businesses including dine-in restaurants, in-store retail, indoor malls and shopping centers, movie theaters and personal care facilities (e.g., hair and nail salons, and gyms).
It would also help reopen schools and child-care facilities and in-person religious services.
“I am fully committed to the phased reopening of Los Angeles County in light of the substantive measures that we have taken to successfully slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barger said. “This includes ensuring for adequate hospital capacity; increasing the access and availability of testing and contact tracing; and implementing protections for vulnerable populations. These efforts, coupled with our public health data that indicates a lower level of risk in reopening than previously thought, supports expediency in moving our region through Stage 2 and into Stage 3.”
These efforts by Barger follow recent presentations made by the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force that reiterated the significant financial impacts of the current COVID-19 shutdowns and the sobering decline the region could face resulting from prolonged closures.
The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation has confirmed more than one million unemployment claims filed in L.A. County to date and more than 75% of the projected job losses from individuals earning less than $50,000 per year, devastating low-income wage earners the most.
The Board motion seeks to obtain a variance from the state public health order for individual cities and regions within the County who have experienced lower levels of COVID-19, allowing these localities to advance further in Stage 2 of the state’s Roadmap to Recovery.
While the State has not allowed dining in restaurants and in-store shopping statewide, they have allowed counties that reach certain levels of testing to advance more quickly than the remainder of the State.
Many cities within the County, who have seen lower rates of infection, have called for exemptions to state regulations.