Garcetti Responds To Weekend Crowds, Reduces Updates To Twice A Week
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been providing nightly updates for two months, but no more.
In his latest update, live-streamed via Facebook, the mayor said moving forward he will go live only at the beginning and end of each week, or when there's a major news development.
During the week, the mayor's office will instead provide what he called "behind the scenes" content. As examples, Garcetti mentioned showing how coronavirus tests are processed, talking to health care workers and the people procuring critical medical equipment, and offering more information about how businesses can weather the crisis.
The rest of the mayor's update was a Q&A format with pre-submitted questions from reporters and the public (but in a departure from past live streams, which were operated like remote press conferences, reporters tonight were not given an opportunity to ask any additional questions).
What are you doing to protect Angelenos at the flower market?
Garcetti acknowledged that a lot of people were out getting flowers for Mother's Day weekend, but he insisted that city and county inspectors responded appropriately. He said "the beginning was a little bit chaotic" but that by the end of the weekend, "they had staffed up and done the right thing."
He said "each day we're going to learn those lessons" and that the city will enforce safety measures. He said city staffers spoke with 150 different businesses and ultimately handed out notices of violation to 27 businesses.
"We want to work with every business, but please read ahead of time. It is your responsibility to adhere to those as well," he said.
The hiking trails were packed this weekend. Do you think it's safe for them to be open and is it safe for the beaches to reopen?
"The county does believe that it is safe for the trails to be open. Our public health department recommended that and changed the order for all of us," Garcetti said.
But he also said safety was the responsibility of residents.
"We tell folks you have to maintain 6 feet between people. You have to have a mask when you're coming into contact, even if it's just passing by somebody on a trail. And the best way to keep your distance is to avoid crowded areas. Think about other parts of parks that you haven't been in before. And if necessary, we will shut those down — the trails that get too busy — but so far so good, it worked well."
Garcetti also said the city is exploring ways to close certain streets to car traffic so that pedestrians have safe places to get out and walk.
Are you sure it's time to begin allowing more places to reopen? It seems premature given there hasn't been a decrease in deaths.
Garcetti said the county hit its peak and while deaths haven't come down a lot, they're still stable.
He said officials are still watching the indicators closely: percentage of people testing positive, hospital bed capacity, available ventilators.
"But, we'll see," Garcetti said. "It's only successful if people adhere to the guidance given out there."
What safety protocols are in place at businesses that are offering curbside pickup?
Garcetti referred everyone to the orders themselves at lamayor.org/covid19. He said you can see checklists posted by businesses showing the steps being taken to increase safety.
The federal government gave the city of L.A. nearly $700 million for COVID-19 response. Where's that money going?
So far, the city hasn't spent a dollar of that money, Garcetti said. They're hoping to use it to reimburse the following:
- Masks and personal protective equipment
- Child care for health care professionals
- Making sure disaster service workers can get paid
- Economic relief for businesses
I applied for an Angeleno card. Why didn't I get one?
There are four reasons you might not have gotten one, Garcetti said.
- You don't live in the city: "We had hundreds of thousands of applications outside the city of L.A."
- Your income level might have been too high, or you couldn't prove that your financial hardship was caused directly by COVID-19.
- You might have had a duplicate application from the same address.
- The main reason is the city doesn't have enough funds, so it was a lottery system. "So if you got a no," he said, "and it was simply because you didn't win that first lottery — we did a second one, we've expanded it — and as I get more money every single week, we're expanding that to more and more people."