Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the city’s four million residents to stay at home on Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, Garcetti delivered a COVID-19 response update during a press conference. At that time he told residents “it’s time to hunker down” and to “cancel everything”. It was his first address to city residents in a week.
Cases of COVID-19 are spiking in the City of Los Angeles, as well as in Los Angeles County. Garcetti’s orders mirror that of L.A.County’s. It sounds like a drastic order, and it is, but there are plenty of exceptions taken into consideration. The exceptions include healthcare facilities, grocery stores, and restaurants providing takeout or delivery service. Beaches, parks, trails, tennis courts, and golf courses will also remain open. Residents are ordered to stay in their homes, non-essential businesses that require in-person attendance by workers must close, and gatherings of people outside of the resident’s household are prohibited.
At the time of his press conference Wednesday, Garcetti said that Los Angeles is experiencing an alarming spike in cases – daily COVID-19 infections have tripled. He warned that there were only there 86 ICU beds available in Los Angeles County. He sounds particularly concerned about the availability of hospital beds.
“Our hospitalizations have more than tripled and are at a new peak. And, our deaths have nearly doubled, and they continue to rise,” Garcetti said. “These numbers don’t reflect last week’s record breaking numbers, they don’t reflect yet the ‘Thanksgiving effect’ of time spent with families, when many people were gathering and traveling in defiance of public health warnings.”
He also noted that California has one of the fewest hospital beds per capita in comparison to other states, meaning that if cases continue to rise, hospital space will soon run out.
“If cases continue on this pathway… the county expects that we will run out of hospital beds here in Los Angeles by Christmastime,” Garcetti said, adding that the condition of L.A. is “as dire as it was in March in the earliest days of this pandemic.”
We know that the State of California is reporting record numbers of cases at this time. The governor is considering more drastic measures of a statewide lockdown. The fear is that the spike will continue and worsen as the “effect of Thanksgiving” presents itself. New cases of the virus in people traveling and gathering with family and friends despite the warnings of public officials against it will likely lead to prolonging the current spike in cases. So, Garcetti issued an emergency stay-at-home order Wednesday night.
“My message couldn’t be simpler: It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything, and if it isn’t essential, don’t do it,” Garcetti said. “Don’t meet up with others outside your household, don’t host a gathering, don’t attend a gathering. And following our targeted safer-at-home order, if you’re able to stay home, stay home.”
Restaurant owners are applauding a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling issued Wednesday that states L.A. County’s health department must present whatever evidence it used to ban outdoor dining. During the press conference, Garcetti announced that out-of-work restaurant employees would be able to get a one-time $800 payment from the Mayor’s Fund. That’s not much comfort for those workers who are struggling just to get by as their places of employment continue to close on the whims of elected officials. How far can a one-time payment of $800 be stretched?
Public officials pick winners and losers, we know that, and often the decisions being made are questionable. For instance, when orders are issued for late-night shutdowns between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. who exactly does that hit hardest? Late shift workers, right? But, even then, there are exceptions. The entertainment industry is being favored with exceptions to abiding by the rules that everyone else is expected to follow. One particularly bad decision has come back to bite Mayor Garcetti. He had to reverse the decision to shut down a COVID-19 testing location in order for a film shoot to be accommodated. What a bone-headed move from the city.
Early Tuesday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti reversed a decision to cancel all COVID-19 testing at Union Station on Tuesday to make room for a film shoot, and said that all 504 scheduled appointments have been restored.
“Working with @LAFD, @Curative & @MetroLosAngeles, my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday. The 504 Angelenos who were scheduled for a test there can visit the kiosk as originally planned or any of the other 14 City sites, where we offer 38K tests daily,” Garcetti said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Since March 20, the City has administered more than 2.5 million free tests. City sites offer free tests to anyone with or without symptoms and results are provided within 24-48 hours. More appointments are available for Angelenos needing a test: https://t.co/rHWABmXUEl.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 1, 2020
Rules are for the little people, not for the privileged class in the entertainment industry, it would appear. Even worse, it’s being reported that the mayor only intervened to correct the situation because of pressure from people on social media. If no one bothered to comment on the closing of the testing site for a film shoot, I guess it would have been allowed to continue.
Garcetti intervened after a backlash on social media to reports that COVID-19 testing at Union Station had been canceled to accommodate filming for the upcoming remake of “She’s All That.”
On Monday, people who had scheduled a COVID-19 test appointment for Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Union Station were notified via email that the appointments had been canceled due to an “event.” The email didn’t reveal the nature of the event, but Deadline reported it was“He’s All That,” a remake of the 1999 Freddie Prince Jr. film “She’s All That.”
Reps for FilmLA, Miramax, which produces the film, or the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap. But according to the Los Angeles Times, both Garcetti’s office and FilmLA said they were unaware that the filming would lead to the testing site being temporarily shut down.
On a side note, the film company says they didn’t know the testing site would have to close during filming. That’s malarkey. Filming locations are scouted in advance. Someone knew what went on in that location. The mayor deserves all the blowback he received.
The new year brings hope –– for vaccines and for stopping this pandemic.
But here’s the truth: we’re in for a long, hard winter.
As the worst hits us, stay home as much as you can. Cancel any non-essential activities.
Hunker down, L.A. We’ll get through this together. pic.twitter.com/6TkVsTfPzP
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) December 3, 2020