Sac'to Approves LA County/City Sought "Variance" And City Allows Reopening Of Restaurants And Hair Salons (Barbering); Mayor Says Reopenings Will Occur Slowly, Cautions What Happens Next Depends On Responsible Behavior By LB Residents
|Total positives (red dots) and deaths (black dots)||Daily new reported positive cases
LB Hospitalizations (from Apr. 20): Red bars = Snapshot 12:01 a.m. Blue bars = Updated daily|
|(May 29, 2020, 4:45 p.m.) -- The City of Long Beach's City Health Officer (management) announced this afternoon that it will let Long Beach restaurants to reopen for in-person dining and allow barber shops and hair salons reopen for barbering services with restrictions. The action comes as part of approval by the CA Dept. of Public Health (director chosen by Governor Gavin Newsom) of a "variance" approved a request by the County of Los Angeles, in which the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena joined, seeking a "variance" to enable reopenings of restaurants as well as hair salons (for barbering/hair trimming not other servires.).
At a midafternoon news briefing, Mayor Garcia said LB's revised Health Order detailing the changes will be on the City's website later today (May 29.) At early evening, the City issued a release at this link summarizing the changes.
The Mayor said that after speaking with restaurateurs and other affected businesses, he is confident the allowed reopenings will occur "incredibly slowly," more like a dimmer control than an on-off light switch.
Mayor Garcia noted that businesses themselves would have to ensure consumers themselves would have to feel safe,
As an example of some of the complexities involved, Mayor Garcia noted that if a bar has a kitchen (approved by LB's Health Dept.) it can reopen the restaurant component of its business but not the bar itself (which has multiple other restrictions to reopen safely, including barriers, etc.)
Mayor Garcia said today's action marks a "new chapter" in Long Beach's reopening process in which the future is up to Long Beach residents. He said residents will either act responsibly, wear face coverings and take COVID-19 protective measures, or the results could bring increased hospitalizations and ultimately prevent other small businesses from reopening or, in a worst case, require rolling things back. He said small business now depend on responsible behavior by LB residents.
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|In recent days, the City has also quietly revised its COVID-19 messaging, changing its previous displayed "Stay Home, Save Lives" to text paralleling Sacramento text: "Your Actions Save Lives."
Mayor Garcia said LB's number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 is better than L.A. County but higher than the statewide level and said we'll know in the coming week how things will play out.
He said the City knows that under the state's metrics, the City can't exceed certain Sac'to decided hospitalization rates, averages and medians. He acknowledged that although today's hospitalization figure is a little better, overall the city has seen what he described as a "slight uptick" in hospitalizations.
However LBREPORT.com notes that the City's own updated COVID-19 hospitalization data -- the metric Garcia said is significant in deciding the pace of reopenings -- actually began to outpace daily-hospitalization figures weeks ago near the end of the first week in May...although some of these data only became visible on the City's "digital dashboard" within the last few days.
On May 8 and 11, LB announced its first incremental recreational reopenings. Updated hospitalization figures then rose and have remained roughly 20% above where they stood prior to the initial reopenings.
Details on these figures are coming in a separate report on LBREPORT.com publishing shortly.
Mayor Garcia said residents have to act responsibly by using face coverings and other protective measures. He said residents don't do so, such as walking down tight sidewalks without a face covering, risk rolling back what we've had or denying other opportunities for activities to get back to normal. He said it's LB's decision as a community and the results will be known in the next week.
Mayor Garcia said that starting this weekend, some LB restaurants could begin using "parklets" to expand onto streets. These include an area in Bixby Knolls near EJ Malloys, in Belmont Shore near George's (between Glendora and Pomona) and on Pine Ave. between 4th and 5th St. (near the "Pie Bar"). He said work will also begin to close parts of the Promenade enabling adjacent restaurants to expand. In a related release, the City said it "plans to partner with other business associations to establish additional parklets throughout the city."
In the related release, the City says (as part of its "open streets initiative") that "select residential streets throughout the city will be closed to vehicle traffic and turned into safe zones for residents to enjoy outdoor activities such as bicycling, skating or jump rope, with proper physical distancing. No lawn chairs or stationary set ups will be permitted in the open areas. More information will be provided at a later date once details are determined."
In s Thursday May 28 mass emailing, Councilwoman Suzie Price wrote:
...Yesterday [May 27], I met with our City Traffic Engineer and other City staff to discuss ways we can help businesses in Belmont Shore and Naples gain additional space, and seating due to social distancing guidelines that will be put in place before restaurants reopen. Currently, City staff are evaluating 2nd Street to come up with short term plans that make additional use of our public right-of-ways.
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