On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force met to discuss the business and cultural roadmap for the county and set a goal of July 4 for “the safe reopening of Los Angeles County.”
“I understand the urgency to reopen and know many of the experts the county has assembled for this task force have been working hard to develop safe and efficient plans to revitalize their sectors as early as next month,” said L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger, who chairs the recently-formed committee. “I remain focused on working with industry leaders and health officials to safely make way for Los Angeles County to reopen by the Fourth of July.”
It’s worth noting that a release from the county says “as early as July 4” while Barger says “by July 4.” Regardless, the date is pegged to the goal of a “full or staged reopening of retail, restaurants and malls.”
The target comes after an announcement from California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday that eased the requirements for counties to move more quickly through the second stage of the state’s recovery roadmap—specifically to reopen shops, malls and dine-in service at restaurants. Newsom indicated that 53 of California’s 58 counties would qualify to proceed with reopening, but noted that L.A. likely wasn’t ready (one of the requirements is fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks or less than 8% of people testing positive in the past week, and L.A. says it’s still a few percentage points off).
Shortly after the task force released its statement, supervisor Hilda Solis and L.A. County Department of Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reiterated during the county’s daily public health briefing that L.A. will proceed in a way that’s as safe as possible, but also with a sense of urgency—especially since there’ve been more than 1 million unemployment claims filed in L.A. County, and more than 75% of the projected job losses (largely in the restaurant and retail industries, which have been hardest hit) have an average annual earning of less than $50,000.
But the two officials also made clear that July 4, though later than some were hoping, is still a goal and not necessarily a hard date. “We started to drill down on what the concerns are and what we’re hearing, and how we can better equip ourselves as a county to be ready for that date,” said Solis. “And it’s going to be a slow process. Our aspiration is, yes, we would like to open up sooner than later. July—yes, possibly. That’s a goal, but we have to get there, and we have to do it by measurement, we have to do it with scientific evidence and data, and making sure that everybody’s adhering to the public health order. I have a great deal of concerns that some people are not listening to that message.”
“I wish it would just go away, and I know you all agree with me,” added Ferrer. “We wish this wasn’t going on so long, and why is reopening so hard. I think we all had really felt that once we started to reopen everything was going to be good, and we were just going to be able to move on pretty quickly. And I think the reality is that we are going to really aim together to get there as quickly as possible but we’re going to pay attention to the data and we’re going to pay attention to the science.”
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