As local businesses attempt a partial reopening after nearly two months of shuttered operations due to the pandemic measures, city officials said this week they continue to look to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for direction on how to safely — and slowly — encourage businesses back to usual.
After the state and L.A. County released succinct updates last week as to how they will begin relaxing the “Safer at Home” order over the next few months — with certain types of businesses permitted to resume operations strictly for curbside pickup — a statement on Tuesday from Public Health briefly threw those plans in doubt after it was mistakenly reported the order will be extended through the summer.
City Manager Mark Alexander pointed to a clarification released by L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who stated that “Relaxing the restrictions in the ‘Safer at Home’ order is an important focus for the county, which will be done gradually over the next few months.”
“I am eager to reopen more of L.A. County as soon as it’s safe to do so, in collaboration with our health experts, community leaders, businesses and residents, with best practices in place to ensure our overall health and well-being,” Barger wrote. “These decisions will be guided by the latest science and data collected. I’m confident that the more our communities continue to comply, the sooner we can resume normalcy.”
As of the Outlook Valley Sun’s press time on Wednesday, the county reported on its COVID-19 Dashboard that there were 46 confirmed cases of the disease among La Cañada Flintridge residents, with five reported deaths. There were a total of 34,428 cases identified countywide and 1,659 deaths.
As county bookstores, restaurants, flower shops, sporting goods stores and car dealerships ventured into the “Phase Two” of reopening this week, Mayor Michael Davitt said the City Council was supportive of the plan.
“We want our businesses to open up as soon as possible,” he said. “There are most likely going to be restrictions which will continue to alter the operations, so we want our business community and residents to follow these guidelines in order that the openings are safe and helpful for everyone.”
He urged the importance of residents to continue to follow the measures kept in place aimed to slow the spread of the virus.
“Once more businesses are allowed to open, we do not want to go backwards,” he emphasized. “We want to encourage our residents to patronize our local business community. Showing support will help our community come back stronger than before.”
One local restaurant drew attention earlier this week after a photo posted online seemingly showed patrons inside, with some not wearing masks and not observing the 6-foot social distancing protocol.
Crescenta Valley Sheriff Station deputies responded to calls of concern about activity at Magpie’s Grill, explained Capt. Todd Deeds, but concluded the matter was a “misunderstanding.”
The restaurant had provided lunches for local teachers as part of Teacher’s Appreciation Day, and had become busier than they had anticipated, he said, noting that deputies visited the establishment the following day, and it did not look like any violations were being committed.
“The photo raised some concerns, but once it was explained it came to reasoning. It was a Teacher’s Appreciation Day. They were probably too close to each other and there were some people without masks, which is very concerning, but the restaurant was open to our comments and concerns. They were trying to do something good for the community,” he said. “It was just a misunderstanding, and we did address it to management. They were very cooperative.”
The C.V. Sheriff’s Station is charged with enforcing adherence locally to the county order. Although officers have been out reminding individuals in public to keep their distance or wear a mask, he said, they haven’t yet issued any citations on the matter, because people have typically complied.
Oscar Areliz contributed to this report.