Eric Garcetti put on his poker face, but the L.A. Mayor did not look pleased today of the less stringent restrictions that are about be allowed in a still COVID-19 battered City of Angels.
“This is not some sort of green light to slack off,” Garcetti declared in his daily coronavirus update briefing this evening of Gov. Gavin Newsom and county supervisors and public health officials’ plans to gradually let more retailers open up for curbside pick-ups.
With that, and public spaces like hiking trails to become available to L.A. citizens, who are still required to wear masks in public and observe social distancing, Garcetti found himself today in a diminished role – not a place the ambitious politician likes to be.
Reopening L.A.: Coronavirus Restrictions Easing On Retailers & Trails; Movie Theaters Next, Maybe
“We are moving this slowly and this deliberately because hasty action …kills people,” the Mayor bluntly asserted of the phased “new freedoms” of the self-described “three level risk analysis” guiding his office in the pandemic towards reopening the town. “Data drives decisions, not political pressure,” he sharply added in a clear swipe at Sacramento and county officials seemingly abrupt moves. “If the data shows us that we are taking too many steps backwards, we are going to have to stop or even retreat.”
Labeled as a Stage 2 process to begin on May 8, the scheme revealed by county Supervisor Kathryn Barger is to have hard hit “non-essential” businesses such as book stores, florists, toy stores, clothing and sporting-goods shops and music shops be able to take and fulfill orders directly from customers – at least from the sidewalk.
In that context, with confirmed cases of COVID-19 now at over 28,600 in L.A. County and another 55 deaths today bringing the fatalities up to 1,367, Garcetti was walking a tight rope of inevitabilities tonight – and he wasn’t hiding that fact.
“Together with the county, I will tomorrow modify our safer-at-home order in the city of Los Angeles,” Garcetti proclaimed of the “slow and gradual loosening” on a day that saw 851 new coronavirus cases in LA County, bringing the overall confirmed cases to 28,644. This doesn’t change any of our others rules,” he said. “This is not an excuse for gatherings, gatherings are still prohibited.
“This is guidance for businesses,” the Mayor sternly noted following the unveiling earlier on Wednesday by L.A. County officials of a slow loosening of the lockdown that has shuttered shops and seen near empty streets in America’s second largest city since late March. While trials will open on Saturday under law enforcement supervision, the very popular Runyon Canyon will remain close for the time being.
“Remember how I said that what the state permitted was not something that they prescribed?” Garcetti said at his regular presser with a scattering of staff and journos in the room. “In other words, the state has told us certain things could open by this Friday. Similarly, the county has said they can open, but it is not an obligation of any business to open.
“Do what you need to do to make sure you are safe, that you feel secure and that your people are protected as well as your customers,” the Mayor poignantly told Angelenos, many of whom have seen jobs and bank accounts dry up over the weeks as the economy falls to lows not seen since the Great Depression.
“The honest answer to your question of what this means today is simple,” the media savvy Garcetti said at start of the 5:15 PM start of this evening’s event. “Life is not going back to the way it was before. I’ve said in the days before, this isn’t about white and black, a completely closed city or a completely open one.”
With his options limited by state and county actions (unlike the resistant San Fran Mayor London Breed), Garcetti made damn sure to flex his power where he could:
Starting Monday, all travelers at @FlyLAXAirport will be required to wear face coverings to help us save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19. LAWA employees are already required to wear face coverings. These are steps that will keep all of us safer.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) May 7, 2020
Starting Monday, all riders on @LADOTOfficial DASH, Commuter Express, and Cityride buses will be required to wear protective face coverings. This step will help keep fellow passengers and bus operators healthy and safe.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) May 7, 2020
As he always does, hoping for a “safer, a more prosperous and a better future ahead,” Garcetti ended his briefing this National Nurses Day with “stay healthy, stay safe and stay home.” Wonder if the state capital or county officials heard the extra barb in his tone tonight?
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