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Garcetti: Stay-At-Home Will Last Until At Least May

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L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti gives his nightly update on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020. (Screenshot from L.A. City)
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Note: You can watch the mayor's full coronavirus update at the end of this story.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tonight repeated his warning that residents will likely need to stay home until at least May. He also said the city is looking into converting major venues, including sports facilities like Staples Center, into mass sick bays with beds for coronavirus patients.

Garcetti's comments came in one of his now-nightly updates on the city's response to the ongoing pandemic that are handled remotely via live stream. They ran counter to some of the public musings of President Donald Trump, who has said he thinks business could begin returning to normal as soon as Easter.

Earlier today, Garcetti told Business Insider that people would need to remain confined at home for at least two months, and he pushed back against "premature optimism."

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He said his frequent mantra that when you think the time is right, you're already too late, will be mirrored when it's time to lift the stay-at-home orders.

"It will be the same on the back end. There will be some who say, 'Oh, look, the curve is flattening a little bit. Let's just open everything up.' And we're seeing in places that are relaxing even a little bit that it can spike right back up very quickly. We have to be disciplined."

In the meantime, the city is gearing up to handle a major increase in the demand for hospital beds and has begun negotiating with different venues, including sports facilities.

"Everything's on the table," Garcetti said, noting the city has looked into sports venues, the convention center, theaters and even studio soundstages.

WHAT ELSE WAS NEW?

Garcetti also expanded some of the relief measures for residents, adding to the relaxed street sweeping enforcement and a temporary stop on increasing city fines.

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The new measures include:

  • No citations or towing for vehicles with expired registrations
  • No citations for driver's with expired licenses

That doesn't mean the city's letting up everywhere.
Parking enforcement will still happen in areas that are not exempted — specifically to protect businesses such as restaurants that now rely on pick-up and delivery, essential workers who need to get around quickly, maintenance and street repairs that need to happen, and emergency access to hospitals.

And Runyon Canyon is now closed, the latest park and trail closure in a growing list as the city cracks down on scofflaws ignoring the stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines.

HOW LA COULD BENEFIT FROM THE BAILOUT

Garcetti also laid out some of the potential benefits L.A. could see from a $1.8 trillion economic bailout expected to pass Congress any day (the vote was delayed tonight, per The New York Times). Here are some highlights:

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  • More than $700 million for Metro to keep operations going and to pay staff
  • About $400 million could come to Los Angeles International Airport to cover lost revenue and to continue operations
  • $32 million or more could go to emergency solutions grants, homeless grants that the city can combine with $19 million from the state to make over $50 million to get more people off the streets
  • "Tens of millions of dollars" in community development block grants to help fund community partners helping seniors, the poorest residents, and the unemployed
  • Immediate relief for low-income, working- and middle-class Angelenos in the form of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples and $500 per child

Keep in mind all of this depends on a bill that hasn't even passed Congress, and even then it will have to be signed by the president.
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WATCH THE MAYOR'S CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING

Garcetti's update was cut mid-stream tonight, hence there are two parts below.

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MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:


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