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In LA, Critical Workers Can Get Tested Now Even If They're Asymptomatic

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is now encouraging asymptomatic individuals to get tested for COVID-19, particularly residents and staff of nursing facilities, grocery store workers, first responders and healthcare workers.

"I'm very excited to be able to announce tonight that starting tomorrow we will make testing available to all critical workers that are on the frontlines with or without symptoms," he said in his nightly address.

The mayor said he wished the city could open up asymptomatic tests for everyone, but right now the priority will be given to people in these high-risk groups.

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He added that Los Angeles is likely still two to three weeks away from seeing a peak in coronavirus cases, as the count continues to rise.

ENFORCING BUSINESS CLOSURES

  • City employees have now visited over 1,700 businesses, including 47 from today, to enforce the closing of those deemed non-essential by the stay-at-home orders.
  • After an "added nudge," most businesses do become compliant with the city's orders, said LAPD Chief Michael Moore.
  • But currently 86 businesses have violated city policy by refusing to comply, and those businesses will face "enforcement action," Moore said.
  • The city attorney has now filed 25 legal complaints against those businesses to pursue criminal prosecution, including a "potential substantial fine."
  • The mayor asked anyone who sees businesses violating these rules to report them here.
  • Today, the city is also launching the L.A. Protects Business Ambassador Program, which Garcetti says will "focus on physical distancing workstations, disinfection protocols, and ensuring the county's physical distancing protocol is complete."
"Ambassadors will document any company they think should be referred to the city's Office of Wage Standards if they're not abiding by the law, as well as worker safety issues that could be raised with Cal OSHA," Garcetti said, "and repeat violators will be referred to the police department for further action."

HANDLING THE HEAT WAVE
  • Despite a forecast for warmer weather this weekend, LAPD is asking people not to congregate at beaches; Moore said that most Angelenos have been compliant with stay-at-home orders:
"I'm going to ask everyone to exercise that social contract of our own responsibility and hold ourselves accountable and avoid those non-essential activities. Take a walk on a, on a sidewalk in a shaded area, find space by yourself...but avoid those common areas here in Los Angeles, and save the police the awkwardness of having to admonish you and advise and direct you for something that you already know."

  • For those people who do not have air conditioning at home, the mayor said he is currently in talks with the Department of Recreation and Parks to open cooling centers that will allow for social distancing, especially in some of the hotter parts of L.A., like the valley.

HOUSING UPDATES:

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  • The city has created a sample letter that anyone can send to their landlord asking for rent relief. It can be found here. The template has already been downloaded 50,000 times, the mayor said.
  • Garcetti urged the public to remember that landlords cannot force anyone to provide documents of lost income or proof of economic hardship, and no one is required to sign any payment agreements.

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