Mayor Eric Garcetti Statement to Public:
I hear you. I know there’s uncertainty and anxiety right now in our communities about the novel coronavirus outbreak. Everyone’s feeling on edge, and I want to make sure you have everything you need to stay informed, prepare yourself, and take action to help limit the risk of spreading the virus.
Here’s an overview of the latest steps the City is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, remain vigilant, and keep Los Angeles safe and healthy.
First of all, I encourage you to sign up for NotifyLA, our City’s emergency alerts system, which we are using to push out updates about COVID-19 prevention. Please encourage your family and friends to do the same.
On Wednesday night, the Governor announced a new California Department of Public Health policy to cancel or postpone all gatherings of 250 people or more, along with other important guidance on protecting public health and stemming the spread of COVID-19.
We are implementing statewide guidance in our City policies, in addition to employing strategies to protect our City’s workforce, outlined in a directive I sent to the heads of all City departments this morning. We are also continuing to work alongside the County Department of Public Health and other local, state, and federal partners to further strengthen our response to COVID-19 and empower our families and communities with vital public health and safety information.
And we’re collaborating with scientists like Dr. Anne Rimoin, a COVID-19 expert at UCLA, to share what you need to know about the virus and how to protect yourself. Watch our video and share it on Facebook and Twitter.
Here are a few key parts of my directive to all City departments:
Public events: All non-essential public community events or group activities with 50 or more participants –– or that require close contact between vulnerable individuals –– will be postponed or cancelled in order to limit the risk of exposing staff and the public to the virus. This includes all events or conferences on City-owned properties that are anticipated to attract more than 50 people.
Entry to city buildings: The City will stagger entry for visitors in public buildings to no more than 50 at a time — including City museums, libraries, parks, pools, and community centers. Transit locations and similar facilities, including LAX and the Port of Los Angeles, as well as all City shelters, are exempt from this requirement at this time. The Los Angeles City Hall complex, including City Hall East, City Hall South, and Van Nuys City Hall, will be temporarily closed to members of the public, except for public meetings of the City Council.
Sanitation protocols: Hand-washing and sanitizing stations will be available in City-owned public buildings, and extra steps are being taken to clean facilities regularly and thoroughly.
More about what the City is doing:
Prevention and preparedness: We’re working to get the word out with the latest information about COVID-19, and ways to protect yourself and your family, including practicing social distancing. Learn more from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
Homeless Angelenos: Our Unified Homelessness Response Center (UHRC) is closely monitoring the situation and taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among Angelenos experiencing homelessness. The UHRC is coordinating with the L.A. Homeless Services Authority and the L.A. County Department of Public Health to ensure unsheltered Angelenos have information about the virus and resources to protect their health and safety.
Homelessness outreach teams and shelter providers are receiving additional training on best practices for addressing a coronavirus outbreak and referring individuals experiencing illness to medical professionals. We’re adding new hygiene stations throughout the city, as well as providing hand sanitizer to homeless Angelenos.
Public transportation: Metro, Metrolink, and LADOT are closely monitoring the current situation. Each agency is vigorously cleaning buses, trains, stations, and facilities on a regular basis and will continue to review and update cleaning protocols as needed.
Public schools: The L.A. Unified School District Board of Education voted this week to delegate emergency powers to the Superintendent in the event that action needs to be taken swiftly as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. LAUSD is coordinating with and following the guidance of the CDC and the County Department of Public Health should school closures be required at any point. In the meantime, the District has implemented several new policies — including cancelling all large gatherings of staff and/or students, and all off-campus visits by students and staff to public places where crowds may gather. At this time, student competitions are allowed to proceed without spectators.
Here are steps you should take:
Know the symptoms: COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath — and may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Person-to-person spread mainly occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, like the flu. A less common form of transmission can take place from objects or surfaces that become infected.
Take precautions: If you are sick, stay home. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover your cough or sneeze. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. If you have recently traveled in an area with COVID-19 infections or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, monitor your health and contact your doctor.
Plan ahead: Make sure you have extra food, medical supplies, and emergency kits in your home. Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors to develop emergency plans — particularly for children, seniors, and anyone with chronic medical conditions that may make them particularly susceptible to illness. And remember, L.A. City tap water continues to be of the highest quality and is 100-percent safe to drink. LADWP’s treatment processes are specifically designed to protect the public from all viruses and harmful bacteria.
Stay informed: Stick with trusted and official sources for accurate and timely updates, including CDC.gov, PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and LAMayor.org/Coronavirus. And don’t forget to sign up for NotifyLA, our city’s emergency notification system. For more questions, you can call 211, the County’s hotline, which is available 24/7.
Share this information with your family, friends, and colleagues, so we can all do our part to protect our community and our city.
This is a moment for preparation, not panic. A moment to be kind and generous and to show the very best of the Angeleno spirit. And I know that each of us will do our part to stay vigilant, stay informed, and help limit the spread of this virus.
We will get through this together –– in Los Angeles, we always do.