CALIFORNIA—Janice Hahn, Los Angeles County Supervisor of the Fourth District, urged Governor Gavin Newsom to safely reopen retail stores statewide, stating the necessity to rebalance the economic toil done to businesses due to COVID-19.
Hahn’s proposal to amend the state health order suggests that if retail stores are to reopen, they should do so while following health and safety protocols, which include limiting the capacity of people in the stores, requiring face coverings for employees and customers while also maintaining physical distancing inside.
Non-essential businesses have only been permitted to allow online and curbside pickup since the statewide shutdown. The practice has not proven to be a good fit for all businesses. Hahn points out that if these measures have allowed large retail stores such as Target and Home Depot to remain open, all retailers should be offered the same privilege.
“What seemed to be a necessary measure at the early onset of this crisis has unintentionally created winners and losers in this ‘pandemic economy,’ with large retail businesses able to operate, while small retail businesses are struggling and limited to curbside pickup,” said Hahn. “This needs to change.”
Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County supervisor of the 1st District noted to remain in adherence to Newsom’s orders. While some steps are being made towards reopening Los Angeles economy, Solis believes that the county is not ready to go back to business as usual.
“I wish that we could speed things up, but I would be very remiss if I were to say that,” said Solis. “It’s going to take a lot more time I believe in for our smaller businesses to get there.”
On Monday, Monday, 18, Governor Newsom laid out phase 2 for reopening the economy across counties that have met the criteria for safely reopening, but Los Angeles County has yet to meet the requirements.
Despite seeing progress, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department reported on Thursday, May 21, 1,204 new cases and 46 deaths from the coronavirus with a death toll just over 2,000, a “sad milestone” after reports earlier in the week indicated lower numbers.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors indicated on May 19, that July 4 is their goal to more fully reopen the economy.
LA County Public Health Director Doctor Barbara Ferrer notes that overall, the county has been moving in the right direction in terms of data with weekly death tolls decreasing by 12 percent and three-day averages for hospitalization going down by 15 percent. Ferrer reports that the data reflects adequate hospital capacity along with a sufficient supply of intensive care units and ventilators available, but does stress the need for more PPE equipment for hospital workers. Ferrer still encourages practicing proper safety measures.