Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson | COVID-19 Initiatives
New measures, laws and initiatives related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the City of Los Angeles.
order, laws, initiatives, COVID-19, coronavirus, Los Angeles, evictions, renters
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COVID-19 Initiatives

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Initiatives from Council President Emeritus Herb Wesson to Protect Renters and Working Families from the Effects of COVID-19 on the Local Economy

On Tuesday, March 17, the Los Angeles City Council had one of the longest meetings in recent memory as they passed emergency measures to implement a moratorium on housing evictions and mortgage foreclosures, provide student rental assistance for those unable to return to their student housing and initial financial assistance for small businesses, and many other temporary measures to support working people during this period of economic uncertainty.

In the midst of this crisis, the true unsung heroes are our grocery and food service workers who are ensuring that our stores and restaurants remain open and our shelves stay stocked. They are on the front lines, and it’s incredibly important we keep them safe and healthy. That’s why Council President Emeritus Herb Wesson and his colleagues and moved forward legislation that:

  1. Mandates that Grocery Retail, Drug Retail, and Food Delivery employees are allowed time to wash their hands every 30 minutes and that the employer provides all necessary sanitary cleaners and trainings on their proper use.
  2. Provides access to coronavirus testing at no expense to worker for Grocery Retail, Drug Retail or food delivery workers.
  3. Permits workers to alter their schedules to address childcare and family needs arising from pandemic without retaliation and with good faith effort to maintain hours.
  4. Offers full-time hours to current employees before hiring new employees.

On that same note, the City Council passed legislation to require supermarkets across the City to dedicate the first hour of customer business exclusively to senior citizens and the disabled community.

Wesson also introduced a resolution to support federal legislation for a universal basic payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our communities.

City of Los Angeles Issues Safer at Home Emergency Order Stopping Non-Essential Activities Outside of Residences in Response to COVID-19

Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles today issued a “Safer at Home” emergency order, calling on residents of the City of Los Angeles to stay in their residences and limit all activities outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary for essential tasks.

As outlined in the order, residents of the City of Los Angeles are ordered to remain in their homes — with lawful exceptions made for critical tasks such as securing food and health, safety and medical necessities, as well as caring for children, elder adults, family, friends and people with disabilities. Many establishments not covered in previous orders, including clothing and some other retail stores, are ordered to “cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace.” The order takes effect Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.; however it shall be exempt, until Friday, March 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., to allow employees and business owners to access their workplaces to gather belongings or address other administrative needs, so long as social distancing requirements are followed. Such workplaces shall remain closed to the public in accordance with the order.

It will be in place until April 19 and is subject to extension.

Mayor Garcetti and the City Council has taken several emergency measures to help protect Angelenos and slow the spread of COVID-19 — including a plan to quickly shelter thousands of Angelenos experiencing homelessness; restrictions placed on bars, nightclubs, restaurants, movie theaters, entertainment venues, bowling alleys and arcades, gyms and fitness centers; limits on public gatherings in City facilities; and moratoriums on residential and commercial evictions of tenants affected by the novel coronavirus.


Thousands of Temporary Shelter Beds for Homeless Angelenos as part of COVID-19 Response

Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced that with the help of the Los Angeles City Council, L.A. will add thousands of emergency shelter beds to help get homeless Angelenos indoors more quickly as part of comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor highlighted several actions he and the City Council are taking, including:

  • Partnering with the City Council to use $20 million in budget reserve funds on emergency relief efforts
  • Adding 1,600 emergency shelter beds in thirteen City recreation centers by the end of this week, and scaling up to dozens more locations in the coming days with more than 6,000 beds provided by the American Red Cross.
  • Working with the County, LAHSA, and other partners to identify individuals in the homeless population who face the greatest risk from the novel coronavirus.
  • Activating the Disaster Service Worker program, which will place some City employees in temporary roles to assist efforts.

Economic Relief Package for Small Businesses Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an $11 million economic relief package for small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

As part of the program, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council, the Economic and Workforce Development Department will provide $11 million in no-fee microloans of $5,000 to $20,000 — which may be used to cover working capital. Since cash flow is critical at this unprecedented time, the program will offer relaxed underwriting with no credit score minimum, a generous allowance to meet debt service, and a 100% Loan to Value ratio. The interest rate can either be 0% for a term of six months to one year, or 3% to 5% for a term of up to five years.

The microloan program is being paired with a Small Business Resilience Toolkit, which is being distributed as a digital guidebook and includes vital information covering Federal, State, County, and City emergency policies and programs impacting small businesses. It also offers strategies for adjusting to the effects that COVID-19 is having on businesses — including ways to keep employees safe, maintain operations at maximum possible capacity, and prepare business continuity plans.

To apply for a microloan or view the toolkit, please visit LAMayor.org/Loan.


Moratorium on Commercial Evictions

Mayor Garcetti ordered a moratorium on commercial evictions of tenants unable to pay rent — a move that follows a similar ban on evictions of residential tenants.

The Mayor’s order on commercial evictions will be in place until March 31 unless extended. Landlords cannot evict a commercial tenant who is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including loss of business income due to:

  • a COVID-19 related workplace closure;
  • child care expenditures due to school closures;
  • health care expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a member of the tenant’s household who is ill with COVID-19;
  • reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures.

Eligible tenants will have up to three months following the expiration of the local emergency period to repay any back due rent.


Relaxed Parking Enforcement

Mayor Garcetti put a temporary halt to the issuance of several parking citations so that Angelenos can more effectively practice the safe social distancing necessary during the outbreak.

The order, which will be in place until March 31 and is subject to extension, includes the following:

  • Relaxed enforcement of street sweeping restrictions in residential areas
  • Relaxed enforcement around closed schools
  • Moratorium on ticketing and towing for abandoned vehicles and oversize vehicle overnight parking fines
  • Freeze on parking fine increases for the next 60 days
  • Extended grace period for people dropping off or picking up groceries and goods
  • Immediate extension on all deadlines for payment due until June 1

Enforcement will be maintained on operations that prioritize health, safety, and emergency access — including colored curbs, street sweeping around encampments, peak-hour restrictions, and repaving and slurry operations.

It will also continue at metered spaces to encourage parking turnover for businesses and restaurants relying on takeout and deliveries.


Uninterrupted Food Supply

Mayor Garcetti joined grocery executives at a regional food distribution center where they discussed the reliable supply chain of food and how grocery stores will continue to be stocked as normal.

The visit followed the Mayor’s March 15 emergency order to strengthen the City’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), placing temporary restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other establishments in the City of Los Angeles. The order includes temporary closure of bars and nightclubs that do not serve food, movie theaters and entertainment venues, bowling alleys and arcades, and gyms and fitness centers. Restaurants, bars and retail food facilities may not serve food for consumption on their premises but may continue to offer food for delivery, takeout, or drive-thru.

Grocery stores are exempt from the order. As part of the directive, Mayor Garcetti also announced trucks and other vehicles engaged in the delivery of grocery items to stores are exempt from nightly curfews — a measure which will help ensure stores remain well-stocked.


New Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

On March 15, Mayor Garcetti put in place temporary restrictions to stop large numbers of people from gathering and staying in close proximity. These new restrictions will be effective through March 31, 2020, unless they are extended.

These include the temporary closure to the public, within the City of Los Angeles, of the following:

  • All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food;
  • All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys, and arcades;
  • All gyms and fitness centers;
  • All private social clubs;
  • In addition, all restaurants and retail food facilities will be prohibited from serving food to dine-in customers.

There are a few important notes and exceptions to the above order:

  • Restaurants, as well as bars and nightclubs that serve food, may continue to prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service or take-out;
  • Houses of worship are urged to limit large gatherings on their premises and to explore and implement ways to practice their respective faiths while observing social distancing practices;
  • Cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities will be allowed to continue operations;
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, and food banks will also be allowed to continue operations;

Everything we do right now will determine the outcome of this crisis. By adopting strict social distancing practices, we can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our hospitals and healthcare workers.


Los Angeles Public Library Closures

The Central Library and the 72 branch libraries will be closed through March 31. Digital services remain available 24/7 at lapl.org, including e-books and audiobooks; streaming TV, movie and music services; classes; and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines.

Librarians are also available to provide assistance through telephone reference (213) 228-7272; the web-based service, Ask A Librarian; and Book A Librarian.

Due dates for borrowed materials will be automatically extended, no late fines will be assessed, and patrons can return materials when libraries reopen.


L.A. Unified School District to Close Schools

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced today that it will close all schools, effective Monday, March 16, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Schools will remain closed for two weeks while the District evaluates the appropriate path forward.

LAUSD detailed the following plans to support students and continue learning during school closures:

Grab & Go Centers: LAUSD will open Grab & Go Food Centers across Los Angeles, providing families 60 sites where they can pick up food for their children. LAUSD, in partnership with the Red Cross, will provide nutritious meals to all students who need them during the temporary closure of schools. Grab & Go Food Centers will be open beginning Wednesday, March 18, and will be staffed weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Each child will be able to take home two nutritious meals. To find the closest Grab & Go Food Center, see the list of centers.

Free Education Resources: Los Angeles Unified, PBS SoCal | KCET, and KLCS-TV have partnered to provide free supplemental educational resources to help families support learning during the school closures. This multi-platform initiative includes Pre-K–12 educational programming and robust online resources through the online platform PBS LearningMedia. The resources are free and designed to be used by public schools throughout California to help students continue learning at home.

Instructional Continuity: LAUSD is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of students and staff and providing a safe, secure learning environment for all. During school closures, parents can download and use the resource guide to help supplement learning while at home.

Students with Disabilities: Students on an alternate curriculum are provided specific curriculum designed to meet their particular instructional need. In an effort to provide our students an individualized set of materials and resources, teachers will plan and develop materials and resources in support of students on an alternate curriculum. During school closures, parents can download and use the resource guide for students with disabilities to help supplement learning while at home.

Information Technology Support: LAUSD’s Information Technology Division is working to assist all students and families in having access to internet connectivity and computing devices to help learning continue during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, visit ITD’s website.

Learning plans: Each student will bring home a learning plan from school today. LAUSD is developing a family resource guide to help answer your questions. Additional support will be provided to assist students as they transition to a different way of learning.

Special education centers: While special education centers will close, students and families will continue to have access to services from regional centers.

Read more about the LAUSD announcement. More information on Family Resource Centers centers is available on LAUSD’s website.


New Orders to Prevent the spread of COVID-19

Mayor Eric Garcetti today ordered City departments and agencies to take additional steps that can help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), strengthening the local response to the outbreak with measures that include new limits on public gatherings in City facilities. The Mayor’s directive follows new statewide guidelines issued by Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday night, which includes guidance to cancel or postpone all gatherings of 250 people or more, along with additional steps to protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor’s directive to City Departments includes the following measures:

  • Public events: All non-essential public community events or group activities with 50 or more participants –– or that require close contact between vulnerable individuals –– will be postponed or cancelled in order to limit the risk of exposing staff and the public to the virus. This includes all events or conferences on City-owned properties that are anticipated to attract more than 50 people.
  • Entry to City buildings: The City will stagger entry for visitors in public buildings to no more than 50 at a time — including City museums, libraries, parks, pools, and community centers. Transit locations and similar facilities, including LAX and the Port of Los Angeles, as well as all City shelters, are exempt from this requirement at this time. The Los Angeles City Hall complex, including City Hall East, City Hall South, and Van Nuys City Hall, will be temporarily closed to members of the public, except for public meetings of the City Council.
  • Sanitation protocols: Hand-washing and sanitizing stations will be available in City-owned public buildings, and extra steps are being taken to clean facilities regularly and thoroughly.

You can read the Mayor’s full directive.


Uninterrupted Trash and Sanitation Services

Services from LA Sanitation & Environment remain uninterrupted. Angelenos can expect continued solid waste collection service, including refuse, recycling, green waste, and bulky item collection. Our stormwater and wastewater services will continue as well. We remain committed to our mission of protecting public health and the environment.

Although our used oil/e-waste/paint/tire collection events have been temporarily suspended, our seven SAFE Centers across the City will remain open to accept household hazardous waste. Please do not place hazardous materials in the trash.

Please direct any questions or concerns to our 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489 or use the MyLA311 app.


Protecting our Homeless Neighbors

The City’s Unified Homelessness Response Center (UHRC) has been carefully monitoring the novel coronavirus and coordinating closely with the City’s Emergency Management Department, first responders, and public health professionals to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the City’s unsheltered population. Our UHRC is working alongside our partners at LAHSA and the L.A. County Department of Public Health to ensure unsheltered Angelenos have accurate and up-to-date information about the virus and are equipped with vital health and safety resources.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our vulnerable homeless neighbors, the City’s housed population should heed the advice of public health experts: Stay home if you are feeling sick, wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing.

The City is taking the following actions to protect unsheltered Angelenos:

  • Convening critical partners — including LA Sanitation, LAPD, and LAHSA — to coordinate support protocols for individuals experiencing homelessness who show potential signs of illness during citywide CARE operations
  • Deploying hand washing stations citywide and distributing hand sanitizer to unsheltered Angelenos
  • Training outreach workers to closely monitor homeless encampments for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms
  • Continuing to partner with UCLA medical professionals to provide primary care and treatment to individuals experiencing homelessness via the City’s CARE mobile hygiene trailers
  • Mapping existing encampments to determine proximity to existing public bathrooms in order to identify locations for additional hand washing and hygiene stations

Message from LADWP on the Safety of Your Tap Water

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) continues to closely monitor information on the respiratory virus COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, through updates shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. There have been reports of people purchasing bottled water as a precautionary measure to ensure ample drinking water supply as part of emergency preparedness. LADWP wants to reassure our customers, the water at their tap continues to be of the highest quality and is 100-percent safe to drink. There is no threat to your public drinking water supply and no need to use bottled water. LADWP’s treatment processes are specifically designed to protect the public from all viruses and harmful bacteria. The use of LADWP water in handwashing is safe as an effective means of removing germs, in combination with the use of soap and proper handwashing measures.

LADWP’s drinking water supply undergoes proven scientific techniques and treatments before they reach our customers’ tap, including filtration, ultraviolet light and chlorine disinfection.

LADWP will continue to closely monitor the progression of COVID-19 and to communicate with other water industry professionals to ensure the continued safety of our treated water supply. For more information on COVID-19, visit CDC’s website or LA County’s Department of Public Health’s website.


Keeping You Safe on Your Commute

Metro, Metrolink, and LADOT Transit are all closely monitoring the current situation. Each agency is vigorously cleaning buses, trains, stations, and facilities regularly and will continually review cleaning protocols to ensure they are up-to-date as the situation evolves. Agencies strongly encourage customers to protect themselves from illness.

For more information about Metro’s response, visit Metro’s website.

For more information about Metrolink’s response, visit Metrolink’s website.

For more information about LADOT Transit’s response (DASH, Commuter Express, Cityride, and LAnow), visit LADOT’s website.