Long Beach Mayor Cautions Possible Anti-Lockdown Demonstrators That City Will Enforce Its Health Dept. Orders On Group Gatherings And Facial Coverings, Calls Individuals Gathering In Groups At Recent Huntington Beach Demonstration Dangerous
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|(April 21, 2020, 12:40 p.m.) -- Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has cautioned planners of a possible May 1 Long Beach demonstration against current COVID-19 restrictions that while the City respects their First Amendment rights, Long Beach's COVID-19 Health Dept. Orders on gatherings in public sp-aces and wearing face coverings will be enforced in connection with the event.
At an April 20 webcast briefing, Mayor Garcia said he believes Long Beach's current COVID-19 requirements are justified based on current conditions and said the City will follow Governor Newsom's lead in future measures to re-open CA. Garcia said Long Beach's actions will be guided by science and data not by "political pressure or...a group of folks holding signs on a corner."
Below is a salient transcript of Mayor Garcia's April 20 statements prepared by LBREPORT.com:
There are Health Orders and Guidelines right now about not gathering in parks and public spaces, about folks having face coverings when they're next to other people and so while I think all of us agree with everyone's first amendment rights we also will enforce and follow our Health Orders that we have put out in the City of Long Beach. And so what I would say is that individuals, anyone out there, we all have a right to give our opinions and to make how we feel known, but I would ask that every single person should be considering and think about the people, the workers in our hospitals, our nurses our paramedics, our firefighters, the doctors and the patients who are pleading with us to do the right thing and to stay at home and not cause further spread of COVID-19.
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Commenting generally on the City;s current plan for restoring activities, Mayor Garcia said:
When we reopenour economy and go in that direction it will be done on the complete advice and really a process that's inclusive of our medical advice and the science that's at the end of the day the most important thing. I know that a lot of rush to open this and get something open as quick as possible and the truth is right now in California and as it relates to our Stay at Home Orders, to me the science and data is very clear: People continue to stay at home. Cases continue to rise. Hospitalizatiohs continue to increase. We continue to have folks out there that have not yet either been tested or that are not symptomatic and that are spreading the virus.
Under LB's City Charter, Mayor Garcia doesn't set city policy; voted actions by a City Council majority set policy (subject to a Mayoral veto that 2/3 of the Council can override.) To date, LB Councilmembers haven't directed any COVID-19 actions inconsistent with public health orders directed by non-elected city management (i.e. LB's Health Officer.) (LB's City Charter says the Mayor "shall be recognized as head of City government for ceremonial purposes and "shall represent the City at large and utilize the office of Mayor to provide community leadership and as a focal point for the articulation of city-wide perspectives on municipal issues.")
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