These are certainly unprecedented times. While we all had hoped that, by now, we would be over the hump with regard to the COVID-19 health crisis, unfortunately, LA County and 29 other counties in the state are experiencing spikes in cases and hospitalizations.
California governor Gavin Newsom issued revised shutdown orders on July 13, 2020. In response, LA County Public Health issued the following for LA County:
"As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise here and across California, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified today to align with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s directives to prevent more cases, more serious illnesses, increased hospitalizations and more deaths.
The Order requires the closure of additional indoor operations for certain sectors which promote the mixing of populations beyond households and make adherence to physical distancing with face coverings difficult:
- Gyms and Fitness Centers
- Places of Worship
- Indoor Protests
- Offices for Non-Critical Infrastructure Sectors as identified at covid19.ca.gov
- Personal Care Services (including nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors)
- Hair Salons and Barbershops
Bars, indoor dining at restaurants, indoor museums, indoor operations at zoos and aquariums, and cardrooms and satellite wagering facilities remain closed in Los Angeles County, and all events and gatherings are prohibited unless specifically allowed by the Order."
"School re-openings will be guided by the state and by each school district’s decision on how to best configure learning opportunities during the pandemic, considering the levels of community transmission and what the science tells us about the risks. For those schools that re-open their campuses, they will need to adhere to the public health and safety requirements detailed in the protocol released today."
To date, LA County Public Health has identified 136,129 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County and a total of 3,822 deaths. The City of West Hollywood has had 341 positive cases.
According to public health officials, the best protection against COVID-19 continues to be:
- Wash your hands frequently,
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands,
- Self-isolate if you are sick,
- Practice physical distancing, and
- Wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.
For more information and county updates, visit LA County's Public Health website: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
To access information on resources for residents, tenants and businesses in the City of West Hollywood, visit the City's website here.
For tips on Coping with High-Heat Days during Safer At Home Orders, click here. If you have immediate concerns about the impact of hot weather on yourself or a loved one in the City of West Hollywood, the City’s Social Services Division may be able to coordinate assistance for community members who are older adults or are vulnerable to high-heat conditions. Please call (323) 848-6510 for information.
To wrap up, below are some initiatives I brought forward second quarter of 2020 that were adopted by Council...
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Wehoans - in an effort to flatten the curve... here's the latest on the City of West Hollywood's response to COVID-19.
Today, April 9, 2020, our City Manager, Paul Arevalo, issued an Executive Order implementing the following:
- All City Parks and Dogs Parks are closed to the public.
- Construction Sites shall abide by the following requirements or may be issued a stop work order:
- Handwashing facilities or hand sanitizer shall be installed at entrances to construction projects (unless the work is being conducted in an occupied building with operable restrooms in which case sinks are available for handwashing).
- Shared tools and equipment shall be regularly sanitized.
- Signage shall be posted at entrances to construction projects or common areas where work is occurring in an occupied building to instruct workers of social distancing and sanitation requirements, and workers who are sick or exhibit symptoms of being ill or those in recent close contact with someone exposed to COVID-19 shall not be present on the work site. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health standards for social distancing shall apply.
- Face coverings shall be worn by all persons present at the construction site, and when necessary, OSHA regulations for personal protective equipment for the activity being performed shall be followed.
- Workers shall not gather in groups larger than three during breaks and shall maintain a six-foot social distance during such breaks.
- “Choke points” and “high-risk areas” shall be identified where workers are forced to stand together, such as hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, and buses, and they shall be controlled so social distancing is maintained, to the extent practicable.
- Interactions when picking up or delivering equipment or materials shall be minimized to allow social distancing.
- The trades shall be staggered as necessary to reduce density and maintain social distancing.
- Non-essential retail businesses that have supply of goods that are needed to slow the spread of the virus (e.g. face coverings, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes) may conduct limited retail sidewalk sales of those goods through a revocable (no fee) encroachment permit.
- Window coverings to board up windows to secure a business during the closure are permitted, provided that the coverings are painted and secured either on the inside or outside of the window.
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As you may know, at our last City Council meeting (March 16, 2020), the City of West Hollywood proclaimed a local emergency due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The proclamation enhances the City of West Hollywood’s ability to access emergency resources at the state and federal level to assist with its novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response. You can read more about this here. In addition, Council also approved two related Urgency Items:
The first item approves a temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent resulting from financial impact due to the current state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A Memorandum to the City Council with this Urgency Item and related draft Urgency Ordinance are available online here.
The second item approves emergency supportive services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and gives the City Manager authorization to direct a variety of services. A Memorandum to the City Council with this Urgency Item is available online here.
The Los Angeles County Department of Health has issued a “Safer at Home” Emergency Order to further combat the spread of COVID-19, ordering all residents of Los Angeles County to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.
Residents of Los Angeles County are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.” On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.
- Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
- Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
- Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
- Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
- Care or support a friend or family member
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others in the community.
- Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
YOU SHOULD NOT…
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
- Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility
Please note, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serve as the lead agencies during this health crisis. Based on public health recommendations from lead agencies, and in an effort to safeguard public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that Los Angeles County has ordered all bars, clubs, gyms, theatres, bowling alleys, arcades, and entertainment venues closed and restaurants are required to end dine-in service and provide take out or delivery service only. This includes the City of West Hollywood. For more information, click here.
Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses:
The following are considered essential activities and may remain open during this state of emergency:
- City/County government services.
- Gas service stations, auto supply, auto repair, bicycle repair shops and related facilities.
- Health care operations, such as hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, labs, healthcare suppliers, veterinary care providers, mental health providers, cannabis dispensaries, etc. Healthcare operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities.
- Food providers, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, food banks, pet supply stores, restaurants offering take-out, delivery or drive-thru. No dine-in service.
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing
- Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services (including gang prevention and intervention, domestic violence and homeless services agencies).
- Gas service stations, auto supply, mobile auto repair operations, auto repair shops, bicycle repair shops and related facilities.
- Hardware and building supply stores and nurseries.
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other essential activities.
- Banks, credit unions, financial institutions and insurance companies.
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes.
- Laundromats/laundry service.
- Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, podcasts and other media services.
- Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities -- for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
- Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home.
- Utility companies and other businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support, services, or supplies necessary to operate, provided that strict social distancing is maintained.
- Individuals or businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages or goods directly to residences or businesses, including rail and trucking.
- Airlines, taxis, ride sharing services, and other private transportation services providing transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order.
- Home-based care for disabled persons, seniors, adults, or children.
- Residential facilities and shelters for disabled persons, seniors, adults, and children.
- Professional services, such as legal, payroll or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.
- Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities.
- Military/Defense Contractors/FFRDC (Federally Funded Research and Development Centers)
- Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted, under restrictions contained in the Order.
While there is no "dine-in service" allowed for restaurants at this time, many of our West Hollywood restaurants remain open and committed to serving our community through take-out and delivery. Click here for an updated list of WeHo businesses that are working to keep everyone fed.
The City of West Hollywood continues to respond to COVID-19 and has implemented the following actions (some through June 30, 2020) in regards to city facilities, city sponsored and co-sponsored events, all public meetings and all parks and rec programming. Here's the latest:
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We are all very concerned about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our community -- our families, our friends and neighbors, our businesses. We need to focus on staying healthy -- that means staying home for now and practicing social distancing.
People with no symptoms can spread novel coronavirus. The best way to stop the spread is to stay home. Please don't leave home except for essentials (groceries, medical attention, etc.).
Steps to protect your and your family’s health (taken from the CDC/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website):
You can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family during a COVID-19 outbreak...
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As we usher in a new year, I just want to thank you for your support in 2019. We got through an election as well as many important issues that impact our city and our neighborhoods.
What's been happening lately?
Dwelling Unit Defined: Council voted to define "dwelling unit" as a unit intended for long-term occupancy (at least one year) and to require that all initial leases for rental apartments be a minimum of one year in length. I voted for this amendment to our code because I believe short-term and extended-stay rentals have had a negative impact on the availability and affordability of rental housing in West Hollywood.
Cannabis: Council majority voted to allow 'doggy bags' for consumption lounges. I voted no on this change because I think there needs to be more study and discussion about what is considered a "reasonable" amount of THC for consumption onsite.
Santa Monica Boulevard Light Installation: the City of West Hollywood has installed permanent year-round decorative LED lanterns above Santa Monica Boulevard between N. Robertson Boulevard and Hancock Avenue. Inspired by Pride, the colorful globe lanterns provide a bright and festive atmosphere in the City’s LGBT 'Rainbow District'.
Photo credit Jon Viscott @WehoCity
The City celebrated Transgender Awareness Month, Disabilities Awareness Month, Halloween Carnaval, Colibri Gala Concert & Awards Ceremony, and the City of West Hollywood's 35th birthday! We also held our annual Don't Drink & Drive press conference with the West Hollywood Sheriff's Station and distributed coasters with transit info to Weho restaurants, bars and clubs.
Photo credit Jonathan Moore @WehoCity
Photo credit Oleg Volovik @WehoCity
Is there more?
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Goodbye summer - hello fall! Time sure does fly by in busy Weho!
What's been happening? Some highlights...
- Meet Me at the Formosa – 2019 West Hollywood Historic Preservation Celebration
- Lights for Liberty Rally
- National Night Out
- Ciclivia: Meet the Hollywoods
- Pizza and Preparedness (Public Safety)
- NextGen Strategy Meeting
- Annual Congress of Commissions and Advisory Boards
- 1st Census 'Complete Count' Committee meeting
- 2nd Annual WeHo BiPride Community Festival
- Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) 30th Anniversary Celebration
West Basin Dir. Scott Houston, Councilmembers Heilman and Meister at NNO
Photo Credit Jon Viscott, Courtesy of City of West Hollywood
In this third quarter, we adopted new green building requirements, amended parkway standards, approved the new location for the Historic Rocky & Bullwinkle sculpture, and adopted recommendations for Social Services contracts and supplemental funding for the provision of enhanced services related to intensification of social service needs, poverty reduction initiatives and related costs. We also discussed smoke-free, multi-family dwelling programs (stay tuned) and improvements to the West Hollywood Park north alley.
I also worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council such as...
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Here we are at the half year mark of 2019! We had a busy three months, and I'm ready to spring into summer!
What's been happening? Some highlights...
- One City, One Pride
- LA Pride Festival, Dyke March and Pride Parade
- Rainbow Key Awards
- Russian Arts & Culture Festival
- Women's Leadership Conference
- City Council Reorg & Installation
- Public Safety Awards
- Senior Month and Senior Health Fair
- West Hollywood Kids Fair
- Annual Arbor Day Celebration
- World Dog Day
In this second quarter, we extended temporary adult recreational retail licenses for the four existing cannabis shops, we made it illegal to ride any class of electric bicycle on sidewalks, and we approved a Budget for 2019/20. I also worked on a number of initiatives that were adopted by Council such as...