Your city leaders including the Mayor, City Council, city staff, local business community and the Greater Conejo Chamber of Commerce have been working over the last few weeks on behalf of Westlake Village businesses. The efforts were part of a plan to address the inequity of neighboring Ventura County businesses being allowed to open before L.A. County-based businesses.
Last week, Mayor Kelly Honig sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that the City of Westlake Village be granted a local variance to move deeper into Stage 2 recovery, with the intent of enabling local businesses to re-open. While the state established benchmarks allowing only counties to obtain variances, the request sought to extend beyond counties and create opportunities for cities, such as Westlake Village, that could also meet state health criteria to receive variances.
In an effort to build critical political support for creation of variances for municipalities located within counties that had not yet met state variance eligibility, a letter was also sent to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seeking a public health order variance for Westlake Village, which would allow our businesses to open up more quickly. The correspondence outlined the impact of state and county public health orders, which have closed businesses for over two months, while concurrently resulting in Westlake Village having extremely low COVID-19 cases.
City leaders directly advocated on behalf of local businesses before Supervisor Kuehl on Friday, May 22 to reinforce the earlier correspondence and advocate for a variance for our city that would enable local businesses to open more rapidly than other areas of the county. This issue became more critical with the state granting a variance to Ventura County earlier in the week, thus allowing certain business sectors to reopen on one side of the county line, while doors remained shuttered on the Los Angeles County side.
The City led a regional advocacy effort, in partnership with local businesses, at the May 26 Board of Supervisors meeting, calling for our businesses to be permitted to safely and responsibly re-open. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to immediately align County public health orders with State orders, resulting in retailers now being able to welcome customers back inside their stores. Furthermore, the County of Los Angeles believes it has now achieved the health metrics necessary to obtain a countywide variance and will be filing its application with the State of California. Please visit ReadyWLV.org for updates on this issue!