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Remembering Matt Holzman: KCRW and LA Lose A Big Voice

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Matt Holzman was a beloved longtime KCRW producer. (Courtesy of KCRW)

Matt Holzman found refuge in KCRW around 1990, after leaving a career in the corporate sector, where he worked at the consulting firm Anderson.

He started at KCRW as a board operator and then took what he knew about marketing from his old consulting gig to become the tiny station’s first underwriting director.

In the ensuing decades, he put his stamp on virtually everything the station produced, becoming one of the biggest and most loveable voices and producers in the L.A. public radio world.

Matt died of cancer on Easter, at the age of 56.

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Census Bureau Seeks Congressional Approval To Push Deadlines

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The extended deadline for self-response is still August 14, for now. (Census Bureau)

The Census Bureau is asking Congress for more time to turn in data from the 2020 Census for political apportionment—the process of determining congressional seats based on the country’s population count. Responses from this year’s census are supposed to be crunched and sent to the president by the end of December, but precautions against COVID-19 are reworking the bureau’s whole timeline.

At this point, the census self-response period and field operations (the door-knocking part of the count) have both been extended by two weeks, to August 14. For now, this deadline remains. But the bureau is looking to make bigger changes to ensure an accurate count in the face of the pandemic. The December apportionment deadline is constitutionally mandated, so any changes have to be approved by Congress.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a statement today saying the Trump Administration made the request this morning during a hastily arranged conference call. The congresswoman also stated that despite requesting a briefing from the Census Bureau since March 23, the Administration has declined to provide one.

Here’s the new timeline proposed by the Census Bureau:

Self-Response Period

This is the final deadline for people to fill out the 2020 Census online, over the phone, or by mail.

Planned: Mar. 12-July 31 (Already extended to August 14)

Proposed revised dates: Mar. 12-Oct. 31

Group Quarters Count

In-person canvassing conducted at homeless shelters, group homes, college dormitories.

Planned: April 2-June 5

Proposed revised dates: April 2-Sept. 3

Non-Response Follow Up

Canvassers visit households across the nation that haven't responded.

Planned: May 13-July 31 (Already extended to August 14)

Proposed revised dates: August 11-October 31

Deliver apportionment counts to the President

By law, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines its number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Planned: December 31

Proposed revised date: April 30, 2021

A Neighbor Decides To Have A Party. What Do You Do?

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Walking with a makeshift mask in Huntington Park. (Chava Sanchez/Laist)

One of the members of our coronavirus Facebook group ran into a quandary this past weekend.

“What to do about neighbors having parties this weekend?" she asked.

The suggestions were all over the map: Have a conversation about community safety. Call the cops. Don't call the cops! Let it go.

It highlights what's becoming a more common dilemma in this strange new world of the coronavirus pandemic: How do you confront people who are breaking the rules on social distancing?

It turns out that was also the topic of a conversation on our newsroom's public affairs show AirTalk with Larry Mantle on 89.3 KPCC. People called in about others not wearing masks at stores, not keeping proper distance at the post office and other rule violations and how they handled it — along with what happened next. You can read highlights from that discussion (plus, find out what happened with the weekend party hosts) in our story below.

READ THE FULL STORY:

LA Could See Peak Hospitalizations And Deaths This Weekend

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Angelenos' collective efforts on physical distancing are beginning to bend the curve, and we could see hospitalizations peak as early as this Friday and deaths as early as Sunday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shared these projections from the Institute for Health Metrics in his nightly address on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Garcetti also warned that lifting the stay-at-home order too soon could lead to a rapid resurgence in the number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. And those projections depend on Angelenos staying the course.

Without physical distancing and other protective measures, the city and county could see hospitals overloaded with patients by May 12, Garcetti said.

Garcetti recounted the public health response to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic both in Los Angeles and San Francisco, noting that the Bay Area city lifted its physical distancing early and wound up with more deaths per capita than L.A., which emerged in better shape than most big cities.

He also warned that if we take heed of the history lesson, we should expect one and possibly two more waves of infection after the first, which could mean more stay-at-home orders in the future. During the so-called Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918, it was the second wave that proved deadliest. And there are signs that other countries attempting to reopen early, like Japan, are already seeing new outbreaks.

'ANGELENO CARDS'

Garcetti also announced a new program providing cash for L.A. families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Angeleno Card" is a no-fee debit card with between $700 and $1,500 depending on household income and the size of a family.

To qualify, people must live in the city of L.A., have been below the federal poverty line before the pandemic, and lost a job or at least half their income because of the pandemic. Immigration status will not be considered.

"Those who are cleaning our hospitals, those who are picking our food. Those who are working in our warehouses. It doesn't matter what their legal status is today. They are here as Angelenos, and we will help them, no matter what."

You can sign up at hcidla.lacity.org or call 213-252-3040 between 8:30am Tuesday and 4:30pm Thursday (there are limited supplies, and the mayor asked anyone with internet access to avoid calling so that those without it have a chance of getting through).

Some other takeaways from tonight's address:

  • L.A. County now has 24 testing locations, most of them drive-thru
  • The city's second walk-in clinic is expected to open tomorrow at the Cajun Community Health Center in South L.A. — part of an effort by local officials to address the disproportionate burden of this disease on African Americans and lower-income Angelenos, the mayor said.
  • L.A. will begin sharing its latest data every day at coronavirus.lacity.org/data
  • There's also now a myth-busting site at coronavirus.lacity.org/myths

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The Covid Hello: Smize, Prayer Hands Or Peace Sign?

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Olivia Mazurek greets passers-by on the street. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

I can’t see your smile through your mask, you can’t see mine.

So Angelenos are beefing up their vocabulary of non-vocal greetings.

Maybe you smize – smile with your eyes, as Tyra Banks would put it?

Or are you a namaste prayer hands?

Heart hands?

Churchillian V for Victory?

Check out how we're connecting with others when our smiles are obscured.

Mask Up: How Do You Say Hello When Nobody Can See You Smile?

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Here's How Much Less We're Driving On LA Freeways Right Now

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An aerial view of the intersections of the 5, 10, 60, and 101 freeways during afternoon rush hour in March 2020. Chava Sanchez/LAist

I’ve been reporting on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting transportation — including its impact on air quality issues caused by transportation.

It’s abundantly clear that there are way fewer cars on Southern California freeways in the age of coronavirus. Now, about a month into our region’s official stay-at-home phase of the global health crisis, we are getting a better picture of the impact on traffic.

I reached out to Caltrans — which monitors and measures traffic flow on our freeways — to ask what differences they’re seeing on the roads. The agency’s Traffic Operations Division sent over sets of data measuring Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), which is calculated by adding up all the miles driven by cars and trucks on roadways in a specific time period.

The data showed that, in the five weeks from March 2 to April 6, freeway VMT countywide fell about 34%. Caltrans also crunched VMT specifically for heavy trucks and found it also dropped by a third, from 1.8 million to 1.2 million.

(Dana Amihere / LAist)

Looking at the breakdown by freeway (provided for segments within Los Angeles city limits), the 2, 134 and 210 freeways saw traffic volume drop by roughly half or more in that five-week period. Vehicle miles on the 405 Freeway (again, within L.A. city limits) decreased an average of 45% in that time period, Caltrans reported.

For the full list of local freeways and more on why it's still too early to determine how our reduced traffic is affecting air quality:

READ MORE:

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Language, Cultural Barriers Keep Some SGV Businesses From Seeking Coronavirus Help

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A business in Monterey Park. (Todd Johnson/KPCC)

Some of the nail and noodle shops of the San Gabriel Valley could really use rescue loans to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

But Ray Jan of the Rosemead Chamber of Commerce said some immigrant proprietors don't feel comfortable applying because the Small Business Administration's website is only in English and Spanish.

Other business owners, she said, are not familiar with the idea of relief loans from the government.

Jan said proprietors can't afford to wait. The SBA loan program operates on a first come, first served basis.

“Everybody else on the block is applying,” Jan said. “The longer you wait, the line is just getting longer and longer.”

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White House Holds Briefing As It Looks Toward Resurrecting Economy

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File: President Donald Trump takes a question during a daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 18. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

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President Trump and the leading immunologist on the White House coronavirus task force attempted to present a united front to the nation on Monday, following speculations of a shakeup within the pandemic response committee.

Calling earlier remarks "a poor choice of words," Dr. Anthony Fauci — one of the more recognizable faces on the coronavirus task force — and Trump pushed back on reports that Fauci was on the outs with the president.

The pair's remarks come in response to weekend comments by both Fauci and Trump that seemed to imply a degree of disagreement between the two on the national coronavirus response.

"Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives," Fauci said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

Later that evening, Trump retweeted a message from a supporter that read in part: "Time to #FireFauci."

Monday's coronavirus task force briefing comes on the heels of a weekend of COVID-19 deaths that raised the nation's death toll to the highest in the world.

As the pandemic continues to ravage the globe, Trump says he plans to unveil a council dedicated to "reopening" the country soon. Members of the committee are expected to be announced this week.

Experts have recently projected a more optimistic outlook on the coronavirus' ultimate impact, lowering the predicted number of U.S. lives lost to 60,000 people from original projections of 100,000-200,000. But the country is still bracing for severe social and economic fallout from the spread of the virus.

Trump last week said he will surround himself with the "greatest minds" to advise him on the best way to approach restarting the country's halted economy.

"We're going to make a decision and hopefully it's going to be the right decision."

This article originally appeared on NPR.org.


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LA County Reports Lowest Number Of New Daily Coronavirus Cases Since Late March

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Los Angeles County today reported 239 new coronavirus cases — the lowest number of new daily cases reported in the county since March 26.

"That's a good thing," said L.A. County Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, although she said she was "only cautiously optimistic" because the number of new cases is historically lower on Mondays due to limited testing and reporting on weekends.

That brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County to 9,420, including 337 cases reported by Long Beach and 117 cases reported by Pasadena, both which have independent health departments.

L.A. County also saw 25 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 320. That brings the fatality rate here to 3.4%, according to Ferrer. She said the racial breakdown of L.A. County coronavirus deaths was:

  • 14% - African American
  • 18% - Asian
  • 33% - Latinx
  • 33% - white
  • 2% - another race

TOP TAKEAWAYS FOR L.A. COUNTY...

Coronavirus And Homelessness
L.A. County confirmed 23 cases of coronavirus among people experiencing homelessness, a slight increase from Friday. The majority of these cases have occurred among people who are unsheltered. The four people who were homeless but sheltered and tested positive for COVID-19 are all now isolated and their close contacts are quarantined.

Hospitalizations
1,059 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in L.A. County are currently hospitalized. 18% of them are in the ICU. 15% of all the people hospitalized are on ventilators. Ferrer noted that the hospitalization and ICU utilization rates (for both beds and ventilators) has remained relatively steady over the past week.

Coronavirus In Health Care Workers
Over the last month, L.A. County has lost three people who who worked in health care settings. Two of them worked in hospitals and one worked for correctional health. At the end of last week, L.A. County had reported 787 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among health care workers. Nurses account for nearly one-third of all those cases and physicians account for another 9%.

Coronavirus In Nursing Homes
92 residents of skilled nursing or assisted living facilities have died from COVID-19 — a whopping 29% of L.A. County deaths. The total number of confirmed cases in institutional settings as 1,372. 681 of those people are residents and 691 are staff or employees.

Coronavirus In Jails
L.A. County is reporting 89 confirmed cases in jail facilities — 26 inmates and 63 staff. There are 28 cases reported in our state prisons in L.A. County. There are four cases reported in county juvenile facilities, all among staff members.

The Department of Children and Family Services reported 14 cases — one young person and 13 staff — all at one facility.

Testing Backlog
Almost 52,000 people have been tested in L.A. County and the rate of positive tests is 13%. The county has inputted most of its backlog of negative cases into its electronic reporting system. "I think we're only missing about another 2,200 negative cases," Ferrer said, "that we'll be adding in over this week."

Testing Capacity
Testing capacity has increased, according to Ferrer, "But because it's still limited and because there are still significant time lags and getting results, testing is still recommended only for those people who are symptomatic."


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Gov. Newsom: Framework For Reopening California's Economy Coming Tuesday

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced what he described as a shared framework with both Oregon and Washington for reopening the state economically as the state continues to deal with coronavirus. The California portion of that will be laid out during Newsom's Tuesday press conference, he said, which he added will include more details on how the plan will be based on science and public health data.

THE THREE-STATE REOPENING FRAMEWORK

The states' shared approach is based on three principles, according to a joint press release:

  • "Our residents' health comes first"
  • "Health outcomes and science — not politics — will guide these decisions"
  • "Our states will only be effective by working together"

The states also announced four goals for public health leaders:

  • Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
  • Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

It notes that there will need to be a decline in the rate of the spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and that the states are working together to determine which metrics to use to guide that decision.

In his daily press conference Monday, Newsom said that the stages of dealing with the virus so far have been containment, mitigation and now surge. The framework being announced will cover the upcoming phases — suppression is next, before ultimately reaching herd immunity/vaccine, Newsom said. It will include details on metrics, guidelines, interventions and other protocols. However, this plan will not yet include specific dates, Newsom said.

CALIFORNIA'S LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

Hospitalization numbers are beginning to stabilize, Newsom said, with 3,015 people hospitalized currently, including 1,178 in ICU beds. That ICU number is a 2.9% increase, but Newsom noted that it's a modest increase after a previous decline and a day where it remained flat. A total of 22,348 Californians have tested positive for the virus, and 687 have died, Newsom said.

The state did not see the significant surge in people ignoring social distancing that some had predicted over Easter weekend, Newsom said, though there was increased activity.

CONCERNS OVER CHINESE COMPANY'S MASKS

Reporters raised concerns about California contracting with Chinese company BYD to provide masks, following a Vice news article about the company over the weekend noting previous problems with the company and products it provided to the U.S. Newsom said that the state doesn't expect any issues and that all of the masks will be tested and receive National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certification.

A REVISED BUDGET

While officials do have a general idea, they are still working on revising the budget based on coronavirus's impact, Newsom said. More specifics will be coming later this week, with full details in the annual May Revise.

The governor said that he'd used the term "nation-state" to describe California in order to give a sense of the scale and scope of the state's potential and resources, including its purchasing power.

A PLAN TO HELP FOSTER CHILDREN

The governor announced a $42 million effort, $40.6 million funded by the state, to invest in support for children in the state's care — 86,500 children are in the system, including 59,000 in the foster care system, Newsom said. The effort includes support for food, an additional $200 per month for families at risk, resource referrals, connections with the 2-1-1 system and more.

The plan includes $6.8 million as part of the effort for social service workers to reach out and $3.3 million for family help centers.

Newsom shared his own experiences with having a foster brother.


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The Getty's Call To Recreate Art At Home Is 'A Way To Make Sense Of These Crazy Times'

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Recreation of the art piece "Male Harp Player of the Early Spedos Type" at the Getty Museum. Recreation by Irena Ochódzka with canister vacuum. (Courtesy of the Getty Center)

Crisis has sparked creativity, and a quirky post by the Getty Museum asking people to use household items to recreate the museum's collection has become a worldwide phenomenon.

"I thought maybe if we got 30 submissions, that would be pretty great. It's got to be 30,000 or more,” said Annelisa Stephan, the Getty’s head of digital content strategy.

One of her favorites came from someone who copied a marble statue of a harp player using a vacuum cleaner.

“We've heard from folks that literally spent the entire day on this and I think it creates a sense of meaning,” said Stephan. "It's a way to make sense of these crazy times that we're in, and use the strange objects that we find ourselves surrounded with that we've collected over the years."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Getty (@gettymuseum) on

The idea for the prompt came from a Dutch museum and the Instagram account Between Art and Quarantine, and was repurposed so people could use the Getty’s catalogue of nearly 150,000 pieces of art available to view online.

It was also a way for The Getty to keep its doors open virtually while its real-life doors are closed. (On Monday, it announced that public programs and special events at the Getty Center and Getty Villa will be postponed through August 31.)

“We heard from our audiences that they really missed museums as community places,” said Stephan, “so we were really thrilled when people not only began posting, but more importantly, cheering each other on and liking, favoriting and saying, 'I love this.'"

There are a few tips she has for when you recreate artwork, too, including trying to limit yourself to just three items for a challenge. Plus, when in doubt, roping in your pet can be a winner.

Listen to the full interview on our local news show Take Two, which airs on 89.3 KPCC:

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Disney Furlough Notices Start Flying

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Few companies have been harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than Walt Disney. Its theme parks are closed, cruise ships dry docked, movie releases postponed and stage musicals canceled.

Now come the furloughs. Disney reportedly is temporarily laying off 30,000 people in Anaheim (Disneyland, California Adventure, three hotels, and Downtown Disney) as of this Sunday.

Another 43,000 will be furloughed from Disney World in Orlando.

Theme parks account for nearly half of Disney’s profits.

Disney says it’s taking theme park reservations after June 1, but some analysts say the parks may not reopen until 2021.

GO DEEPER:

A Sad Day At The Mouse House: 30,000 To Lose Disney Jobs In SoCal

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How Listening To Duke Ellington Might Keep You Healthy, And Other Musical Cures From Chicano Batman

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The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for the music industry, leading to the cancelation of festivals and tours for the foreseeable future. And yet, listening to music has never felt more necessary. And new music continues to get made.

On May 1, east L.A. quartet Chicano Batman will release their new album, "Invisible People," an ambitious work that pays homage to their West Coast roots and brings a message of social justice.

But like so many other groups, the band will not be able to tour in support of their new record. To make the most of their time in lockdown, guitarist Carlos Arevalo has been teaching guitar over Instagram Live.

“It was a way to connect that I’ve never done before, and I don’t know if it would happen in any other circumstance,” he said.

And bassist Eduardo Arenas has some suggestions for fans who are also stuck at home:

“Get into Duke Ellington. Get into Tito Puente. See what he does on the timbales. Understand why Celia Cruz is the queen. We have time to think and a lot of space to really let things sink in right now. It’s some kind of mental revolution going on. We have to make light of all the positive stuff that we can right now and not let the fear dominate our psyche right now. Because then we’re all going to get sick.”

So what can fans expect from the new album? Arevalo pitched the idea for “Invisible People” to the band’s lead singer, Bardo Martinez, this way: “I was like, it really bothers me how Latinos are really unappreciated and unseen in the media -- on television and in movies.”

With their new album, the band wanted to stretch themselves musically, so they hired Grammy-award winning engineer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, War on Drugs) and producer Leon Michels (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings) to add an extra layer of experimentalism to their already established retro soul sound.

You can listen to the rest of their interview below.

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LAUSD Will Finish This School Year ‘In The Current, Remote Fashion’

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Austin Beutner announced the move via video from home. (LAUSD screenshot)

L.A. Unified, the nation's second-largest school district, will not reopen its campuses this school year and will keep remote learning in place for summer school, Superintendent Austin Beutner announced this morning.

"The facts and circumstances will continue to change," Beutner said in a video address delivered from his home. "But we will not reopen school facilities until state and local health authorities tell us how it is safe and appropriate to do so."

Instead, Beutner said, students and teachers will continue this school year "in the current, remote fashion and we will hold summer school in a similar manner."

A few other highlights from Beutner's remarks:

  • Graduation: "For our high school seniors, [closed campuses] will mean a virtual graduation, at least for now," Beutner said.
  • Community colleges and credits: Beutner said LAUSD is working with community colleges on plans for students "who are a few credits short" of earning a diploma. "We won’t allow the closure of school facilities to close the doors of opportunity for young adults earning a high school diploma and starting college," he said.
  • Summer school: The district will offer remote classes in "four-week blocks of study for students at all levels," Beutner said, focusing on "literacy, fluency in math and critical thinking."

Beutner promised more updates on summer school "in the weeks ahead."

READ THE FULL STORY

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Sesame Street Is Staying At Home, Too

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(Courtesy of Sesame Street)

If there's one guy who likes a little isolation, we figured that would be Oscar the Grouch. So we asked him and his friends at Sesame Street for a little help getting the word out about social distancing.

Oscar told us:

I don't care if you're alone or safe at home with someone else, as long as you're not near me.

Listen to his PSA and another one from Oscar's longtime colleague Grover — who is a bit friendlier! Oh, and in case you missed it, you get the bonus of Randy Newman's terrific song "Stay Away From Me" that he wrote specifically for our audience (and the rest of humanity).

LISTEN TO THE PSAS:

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A Boba Shop Attempts A Grand Reopening During The Coronavirus Quarantine

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A trio of frothy boba drinks at Bubble Republic, a boba and snack shop in the city of San Gabriel. Courtesy of Bubble Republic

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This is the latest dispatch in our series focusing on how restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley are coping with the coronavirus. Previously...


As the country's undisputed capital of boba milk tea, the San Gabriel Valley has an endless number of drink shops peddling an endless variety of the sugary tapioca drink that originated in Taiwan. It's not easy for a boba joint to break free from the pack and harder still to keep fickle customers coming back.

That's why Michael Tu decided early last year to renovate Bubble Republic, the sit-down boba parlor he owns in the city of San Gabriel. Located at the corner of Las Tunas and South Mission, the 1,500-square-foot space has high ceilings and windows everywhere. It was the kind of place where students and young people would nurse frothy milk teas or fruity drinks while munching on popcorn chicken until late into the night. The shop had been doing solid business since opening in 2016 but with so much competition, Tu thought the space could use a facelift.

April 2020: The exterior of Bubble Republic, a boba drink shop in San Gabriel. After a major renovation, it reopened a during the coronavirus pandemic, serving take-out drinks and food. (Iris Ouyang for LAist)

"Our sales numbers were pretty stable," Tu, who is originally from Taipei, tells me in Mandarin. "We wanted to remodel the place, attract new customers and take things to the next level."

Tu hired an interior designer in mid-2019 and began hammering out a new look. On February 24 of this year, he closed the shop for what he thought would be a four-week remodel. He had the new menu for the grand reopening ready to go.

Part of the revamped menu at Bubble Republic, a boba and snack shop in the city of San Gabriel. (Courtesy of Bubble Republic)

Since December, Tu had been following the news about coronavirus in Asia. His wife is from China and they were concerned about her relatives back home. Tu watched as the virus spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, including the United States. By late February, Los Angeles County had confirmed its first cases of the infection, but the virus still wasn't top-of-mind for most Angelenos.

"My father told me to abandon the renovations, because he said there's no telling what's going to happen in the U.S. But I thought the U.S. was going to be able to get the situation under control," Tu says.

By the time Bubble Republic was ready to reopen, he reasoned, the whole thing would have blown over.

On March 25, Bubble Republic reopened its doors to a changed world.

April 2020: A sign inside Bubble Republic, a boba drink shop in San Gabriel. (Fiona Ng/LAist)

Los Angeles was 10 days into its dine-in restaurant ban. Instead of the splashy debut he had envisioned, Tu hustled to transform Bubble Republic into a take-out operation. For a brief moment, the idea to wait out the pandemic crossed his mind, but "A few of my staff rely solely on the restaurant for their livelihoods. If I shut down, they are done for," he says.

Now, he runs Bubble Republic with four part-time employees (and help from his family) — half of his original staff. They weren't laid off, but left because they felt unsafe working in public. The shop has reduced its hours, now opening at 11 a.m. closing at 8:30 p.m. Since reopening, sales have dropped by approximately 50%.

He also faces supply challenges. With grocery stores emptied out and the supply chains disrupted, he can't get his hands on certain ingredients. Marinara sauce (he uses it for cheese sticks and fried squid) is nowhere to be found. And the powdered creamer he uses for milk tea? It has shot up in price, in some cases by as much as $2 per bottle. "Before the pandemic, I went through at least 100 bottles a month," Tu says.

Spaghetti, fried chicken and other dishes at Bubble Republic, a boba and snack shop in the city of San Gabriel. (Courtesy of Bubble Republic)

Tu spends one day a week hunting and gathering for what his shops needs. He goes to only four places — Ranch 99, Sam's Club, Costco and Smart & Final — to limit his exposure to the virus. "Safety over profits," he says.

Bubble Republic has the feel of a half-finished space. Chairs are stacked to one side of the restaurant. The newly installed floor is unscuffed, as though it's never been walked on. The mostly empty walls await new decorations.

April 2020: The interior of Bubble Republic, a boba shop in San Gabriel, now open only for take-out. (Fiona Ng/LAist)

Tu had taken out a loan for the shop's renovation, thinking he would eventually make it back but with the economic havoc, he has had to put in more of his own cash. The money he and his wife had set aside for a wedding celebration later this year has all gone toward the shop.

"My wife and my family have been supportive," Tu says.

Tu doesn't know how long he can keep Bubble Republic going. His landlord has given him a small discount on rent but he'll probably have to ask again. And his application for a federal small business emergency loan was rejected by Chase, his bank. No reason given.

A bevvy of boba drinks at Bubble Republic, a boba and snack shop in the city of San Gabriel. (Courtesy of Bubble Republic)

Two weeks ago, Tu prepared two dozen drinks and brought it to medical workers at a nearby emergency room, just because. Last week, he did the same for the San Gabriel Police Department. This week, it's going to be the City Hall.

"When I make enough to cover my expenses for the day, I think about giving away some of my drinks for free," Tu says. "There are people in worse situations than I am — those working in the hospitals, or the police stations. This is something that I can do."

READ MORE OF OUR CORONAVIRUS & FOOD COVERAGE:

COVID-19 Map: Deaths Worldwide Now At More Than 115K, Confirmed Cases Top 9K in LA County

Updated
Published

Note on the data you see when clicking on a bubble: Confirmed cases include presumptive positive cases | Recovered cases outside China are estimates based on local media reports, and may be substantially lower than the true number | Active cases = total confirmed - total recovered - total deaths.


Editor's note: For the most recent updates, check our latest tracker post for Tuesday, April 14.

Jump to: CALIFORNIA | WORLDWIDE | SOCAL COUNTIES | ANALYSIS

WHERE WE STAND

On Sunday, L.A. County reported 323 new cases and 31 new deaths, marking another rise in the mortality rate, which is now just over 3%. There have been at least 9,192 total confirmed cases here. Local authorities on Friday expanded stay home orders until May 15, saying they believe physical distancing has been working.

And on Saturday, the United States passed Italy for the most confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the world.

The U.S. is among a number of countries experiencing large-scale epidemics. The map above shows cumulative confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries and is updated in near real-time throughout the day. Zoom out to see more of the world.

Below are the recent totals for the United States, followed by the nine other countries with the most reported cases of COVID-19. Italy, Spain, Germany, and now France are all reporting more confirmed cases than China, where the outbreak began late last year, but whose reported numbers have since greatly slowed.

These numbers are changing rapidly and experts have warned that confirmed cases are far under the actual total of infected individuals. For more detail check the full tracker, which includes death tolls and projections of cases on the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering site. Engineers there are collecting data from:

IN CALIFORNIA

Statewide, our friends on the L.A. Times data desk are tracking cases in California by surveying "numbers released by the dozens of local health agencies across the state." As of about 11 a.m. Monday, the newspaper is reporting California has:

  • 23,428 confirmed cases
  • 682 deaths

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

If you hit a paywall on the L.A. Times full tracker, please consider subscribing. They have a $1 for eight weeks special.


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AT A GLANCE

In Sunday's news release, L.A. County public health officials gave a demographic breakdown of the deaths so far, with the caveat that they currently only have that data for 240 of the 296 people who have died. [We have added overall demographic estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for comparison.]

Here's what they're reporting about the residents who died:

  • 33% Latino or Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 32% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 19% Asian residents [15.4% of county residents]
  • 14% African American residents [9% of county residents]
  • 2% Residents identifying with other races

At a press briefing Friday, L.A. County public health officials said they decided to extend stay home until May 15 after studying different scenarios for the spread of COVID-19 in the nation's most populous county.

"It's because it is working," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We know it's effective, but we still have a ways to go. In order to both protect the lives of people who live in our county, and to make sure that our health care system remains fully able to service all who need their care."

(Courtesy of LA County)
(LA County)

As of the latest updates Sunday:

LA COUNTY

  • 9,192 cases
  • 296 deaths

* [Includes additional numbers released by Long Beach. See more from L.A. County and Pasadena]

ORANGE COUNTY

  • 1,277 cases
  • 19 deaths

* More from Orange County

VENTURA COUNTY

  • 314 cases
  • 10 deaths

* More from Ventura County

RIVERSIDE COUNTY

  • 1,619 cases
  • 41 deaths

* More from Riverside County

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

  • 887 cases
  • 31 deaths

* More from San Bernardino County

FLATTEN THE CURVE

As new cases continue to be confirmed, Californians are continuing to be under "safer at home" and "social distancing" orders. State and county officials have ordered the vast majority of Californians to strictly limit interactions with other people, wash hands frequently, and stay 6 feet away from others.

Remember, the goal of social distancing is to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.

HOW CALIFORNIA CASES COMPARE


SOME STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT COVID-19

We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.

We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.

Drive-Thru Democracy? California May Expand Curbside Voting For November

Updated
Published
The "I Voted" sticker for L.A. County voters in the 2020 primary election. (Rebecca Nieto / LAist)

For some, voting next November may feel a little like pulling up to a drive-in diner.

Stay with me here. As we all work together to flatten the coronavirus curve, election officials are trying to strike a delicate balance between public health and making voting as easy as possible.

So with curbside grocery pickup and even medical appointments now standard in the time of social distancing, why not voting?

On a conference call led by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar last week, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said expanding curbside ballot drop-off and drive-in voting are on the table in California. These are some options local election officials and stakeholders are considering as they prepare for a pandemic-friendly November election, Padilla said.

“Our end goal is to create a plan to deliver accessible, secure, inclusive and safe elections,” Padilla said.

Curbside voting was available in L.A. County during the March 3 primary, but just under 400 people voted that way. The process is labor-intensive for poll workers, and currently includes a step where voters have to self-identify as needing disability accommodations.

Padilla noted that the state also continues to look at expanding voting by mail.

A Reader Asks Why We Wrote About A Study Of 'A Mere .02%' Of LA

Updated
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A recent LAist supporter read our weekend story about a Loyola Maramount University survey that found the overwhelming majority of people in L.A. County support the stay-at-home orders, despite many paying a financial price.

He asked:

"I have a question. Why is LAist writing an article citing a study where a mere 0.02% of Los Angeles county was polled and telling us that opinion represents Los Angeles? I mean come on! I just started contributing to your organization and now THIS is what you are putting out?"

We turned to Brianne Gilbert, associate director for the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU, to get the answer.

READ HER ANSWER

READ OUR STORY ON THE REPORT

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

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A Silent Easter: Catch Up On The Last 48 Hours In LA

Updated
Published

Our news is free on LAist. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate now.

It was an oddly quiet Easter in Southern California, with church gatherings restricted in many places and virtual services (or, in some cases, drive-up gatherings) offered in their stead.

Meanwhile, somber news came out of L.A. County — Sunday saw its highest single-day death toll so far in the coronavirus pandemic. But the number of new cases fell from the past several days, and health officials remind us that physical distancing is working to contain the spread.

Cover your face. Wash your hands. We'll get through another week.

COMING UP

Sharon McNary explores the different ways we're greeting each other now that we're wearing masks or cloth face coverings when out of the house.

California is heading full steam into peak strawberry season. But, as Jacob Margolis reports, there's a good chance that roughly 200 million pounds of strawberries could go bad over the next few months as the market for them has partially collapsed and the supply chain struggles to adjust.

During World War II, hundreds of buildings across Southern California were drafted into service for Uncle Sam. Today, we're doing much the same thing to fight the coronavirus pandemic, writes Hadley Meares.

Last week, Randy Newman gave us a song about social distancing. Stay tuned today for some new tips on staying at home — from Grover and Oscar the Grouch.

Traffic on some sections of freeway within the city of Los Angeles has effectively been cut in half, new data from Caltrans shows. Ryan Fonseca looks into the numbers.

And we've got 12 quarantine-approved events happening this week, courtesy of our events maven Christine Ziemba.

Never miss a morning briefing. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters.

THE PAST 48 HOURS IN L.A.

L.A., California And The World: There are 9,192 cases of coronavirus in L.A. County, and 296 people have died. In California, there are more than 23,178 confirmed cases and 674 deaths, and the number of cases worldwide has reached more than 1.8 million.

Mental Health Hotline: L.A. County's Department of Mental Health Services has added extra staff to its 24-hour crisis hotline. For 24/7 assessment, referrals, and emergency crisis counseling, people in Los Angeles County can call 1-800-854-7771. Here are a few other resources available.

Coronavirus And Our Political Divide: The demographic breakdown of coronavirus death rates highlights the overall difference in the way America is experiencing COVID-19 — and it largely follows the dividing line between urban and rural America.

Physical Distancing Is Working: We are bending the curve, says the director of L.A. County's Department of Health Services, but if we stop physical distancing, the projection is that "virtually all residents in Los Angeles County would have been exposed or infected with COVID-19" by mid-summer. That why the stay home orders have been extended to May 15.

Real Estate Has Slowed: New real estate listings are only a quarter of what they were a year ago. Virtual home tours, however, are up 400%.

Possible Treatment? Cedars-Sinai is among dozens of sites around the world participating in a clinical trial of the drug Remdesivir. A small trial of an experimental antiviral drug has shown encouraging results, the hospital announced yesterday.

Stay-At-Home vs. Economic Loss: A new survey conducted by Loyola Marymount University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles found 95% of Los Angeles residents support local stay-at-home orders, even as 58% of those surveyed say their income has been reduced somewhat or significantly.

Honk If You Love Jesus: On Easter Sunday, church gatherings of any sort were restricted in L.A. County. In Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties, churches held drive-up services.

Help For Hospital Workers: Mayor Eric Garcetti announced financial help for hospital workers who need child care. Options include a $100 stipend per shift, free referrals or child care at L.A. Parks and Recreation Centers.

Non-COVID-19 News: We're remembering the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission with a short story from Tom Hanks.

Never miss a morning briefing. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters.

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

This sunrise Easter service in San Diego had no congregants. Instead, Pastor George Runyan live streamed his sermon.

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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