Eric Garcetti might be preparing to begin the easing of L.A.’s shelter-at-home orders as early as this month, according to recent comments. Mirroring statements by Gavin Newsom about how the state will begin lifting orders, Garcetti intends to lift the restrictions in a series of cautious phases—rather than all at once.
“They’re not going to be giant steps on the first day,” he said at a Friday evening press briefing. “Everybody is preparing for a big party where the doors fly wide open. That would kill so many people in this county.”
While he acknowledged the eagerness–and public protests–to return to typical business, he vowed to take a slow and steady approach.
“If we don’t do this the right way,” Garcetti warned, “all of the progress and all the time we spent at home would be for nothing, and we would see tens of thousands of deaths potentially here.”
To start the process, the mayor is looking for two consecutive weeks of declining hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. Once that marker is reached, some “lower-risk businesses” will likely be allowed to partially reopen. That process will then continue, waiting for evidence of declining cases before taking further steps.
The process of fully reopening, to a point that allows for things like large gatherings and public events, will likely take months. That final phase of reopening might not happen until mid- or even late-2021, depending on a variety of factors, reports the Los Angeles Times.
April 27, 2020
Los Angeles may start making “baby steps” toward reopening in the next two to six weeks, Mayor Eric Garcetti said today. The comments, made on KPCC’s AirTalk, indicate the city is planning to take an incremental approach to resuming normal life.
“So, it’s really about scaling, testing, safeguarding Angelenos—and still continuing to stay at home, probably for the majority of things that we do, and for the majority of workers,” Garcetti said. “But seeing those numbers come down, testing those for two to three weeks, seeing if there’s a spike. If not, take another step forward. So it has to be kind of a series of sequences.”
Earlier this month, the mayor’s office outlined a “five pillar plan” that would be used to address the pandemic, emphasizing widespread testing, increased surveillance of cases, training of additional workers who can support public health staff, growing hospital capacity, and continuing research into the virus.
In the AirTalk interview, Garcetti reiterated that the state of health infrastructure would be a more important metric for deciding when and what to reopen than any date or number of infections.
While he expressed that he shared the eagerness of many of his constituents to have Los Angeles reopen for normal business, the mayor made clear what he sees as the risk of doing too much, too soon.
“If we open up the wrong way, we could have, by August 1st, 95 percent of us with COVID-19, and I don’t have to tell you the tens of thousands of deaths that would cause,” he said, adding later that, “I’m not going to let people die simply because folks feel we need to be wide open.”