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Morning Briefing: ‘A Disaster Of Major Proportions'

A sign points cars towards the drive thru food bank at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Research has shown that fully 95% of Angelenos support the city’s stay-at-home order. But among the vocal minority of those who don’t, a common theme is that the lockdown infringes on freedom. At a recent protest in Huntington Beach, marchers carried signs reading “Freedom is Essential” and “My liberty is not yours to take.”

Amid cries linking the lockdown to liberty lost, though, there is one, slightly more urgent cause for concern: as more Californians become unemployed, some are struggling to put food on the table.

Alyssa Jeong Perry reports on two L.A. County organizations working to provide groceries to those individuals and families. Armando Olivas, the executive director of Labor Community Services, told her that at their thrice-weekly food bank, lines can get up to four miles long.

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“This is a disaster of major proportions,” he said.

And this is where the real reopening conundrum lies. Not having enough food, and even worrying about not having enough food, is a very real health concern. So is the coronavirus. To that end, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will move into Phase 2 of opening up on Friday, and L.A. County health officials will share their plans for recovery this week.

In the meantime, keep reading for what else is going on in L.A., and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 5

Nursing homes are major focal points of coronavirus outbreaks in L.A. Jackie Fortiér looks into the status of local cases and deaths, why they’re so vulnerable and what advocates and county leaders propose to do.

Long Beach's Young Horizons Child Development Centers reopened two of its campuses to the families of essential workers Monday, May 4. Mariana Dale and Chava Sanchez report on what’s changed, including parents putting masks on their kids, staff wearing masks and meals being served "take-out" style with fruit and veggies in individual cups.

Vote Centers opened over the weekend in the 25th congressional district special election, but Libby Denkmann reports that one campaign says the lack of in-person voting options in the city of Lancaster is disenfranchising African American voters.

All schools in the nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District and Santa Monica College will continue with online learning for the fall semester, with possible exceptions for a few courses that are difficult to teach remotely, reports Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 26,217 coronavirus cases and 1,256 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 55,883 cases and 2,276 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.5 million cases and more than 251,000 deaths.

Reopening California: The state announced that California will start moving into Phase 2 of reopening this Friday. L.A. County will share its recovery plan later this week, but public health director Barbara Ferrer warned that reopening will be gradual and that the public should be "prepared that there will be new normals."

Stepping In To Help: L.A. County officials are giving paramedics and EMTs special permission to work in nursing homes. A local sewing brigade is calling for 200 volunteers to help reach their goal of producing 30,000 homemade masks for Southern California health care workers. As more and more people are out of work, some lines for food assistance stretch four miles long.

L.A. Sheriff’s Department: Sheriff Villanueva says the amount of money budgeted for his department is forcing him to close two stations and make other cuts.

California Kids: LAUSD leaders have "made no decisions" about whether the fall semester — still scheduled to begin Aug. 18 — will involve students in classrooms, online or both. But they have opened remote summer school learning to everyone.

Workers And Small Businesses: Here’s how one block of small businesses are faring on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice. The owner of a Laguna Hills barbershop that opened back up said, "We felt we had no choice but to either open, or let our dream die."

L.A. Food And Arts: L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight won his first Pulitzer Prize, and Long Beach Opera was cited for premiering the music prize winner, "The Central Park Five" by Anthony Davis. The finalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world, were announced today and L.A. was, once again, underrepresented in our opinion. Quarantine-approved events: Brockmire, L.A.Opera, Cinco de Mayo and more.

Final Good-Byes: Bobby Lee Verdugo, one of the leaders of L.A.'s Chicano student movement, died Friday.

Your Moment Of Zen

Artist Dania Strong hangs up prints of her work on her front-yard gate in Koreatown. "Road Through Life" marks the second show that Strong has mounted on her fence since mid-April.

(Chris Pizzello/AP)

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