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COVID-19 Updates

UPDATE as of 11:05 am on 8/23/2021

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Gets Full Approval From The FDA

The Food and Drug Administration has formally approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The widely anticipated decision replaces the emergency use authorization granted by the agency last December.

This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be subject to a full review by the U.S. regulator and to get an approval that puts the vaccine on par with other marketed vaccines. The FDA’s full approval applies to people 16 and older. Those between ages 12 through 15 can still receive the vaccine under the existing emergency use authorization.

UPDATE as of 8:20 am on 7/16/2021

L.A. County Community Transmission of COVID-19 Increases from Moderate to Substantial; Reinstating Masking Indoors for Everyone

Community transmission of COVID-19 has rapidly increased from Moderate to Substantial, based on the trend in daily new cases of COVID-19. The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified to require masking for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, as Los Angeles County sees more than a seven-times increase in new cases since the June 15 reopening. Wearing a mask when indoors reduces the risk of both getting and transmitting the virus. This additional layer of protection can help to slow the spread and does not limit business occupancy and operations.

The L.A. County indoor masking requirements for everyone will be effective Saturday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m.  Some exceptions will apply, similar to masking requirements that were in place prior to the June 15 reopening.

UPDATE as of 8:41 am on 7/5/2021

Highly infectious Delta variant spreading rapidly, now California’s dominant coronavirus strain

The highly infectious Delta has become California’s most identified variant of the coronavirus, a troubling development that underscores its danger to unvaccinated populations.

New data released by the California Department of Public Health say 35.6% of coronavirus variants analyzed in June have been identified as Delta, which was first identified in India. That’s a dramatic increase from May, when Delta accounted for just 5.6% of analyzed coronavirus cases in California and was the state’s fourth most identified variant.

Delta is now more widespread than the previous dominant strain, Alpha, which was first identified in the United Kingdom and accounted for 34.3% of analyzed coronavirus cases in June. Alpha was the state’s most dominant strain in April and May, outpacing the California variant, now known as Epsilon, which currently occurs in less than 2% of analyzed cases.

The rapid rise of Delta is prompting some public health officials to issue new warnings, urging more caution at a time when vaccinated people are putting away masks and getting back to normal life. Although those who have been fully vaccinated are believed to have high levels of protection, there is growing concern about the virus spreading among people who have not been inoculated.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been ticking up in Los Angeles County, where some 4 million people, including 1.3 million who are not yet eligible, have not had a single dose of vaccine. Delta might be twice as contagious as the initial variants of the coronavirus that spread rapidly around the globe last year.

Delta is also spreading rapidly nationwide. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said recent data show that 25% of analyzed coronavirus cases nationwide are of the Delta variant. In some areas of the country, nearly half of analyzed cases are Delta. By contrast, from May 9 to May 22, Delta made up less than 3% of analyzed coronavirus samples nationwide.

There are reports of rapidly increasing Delta cases confirmed in Los Angeles County too. The county started seeing upticks in early April. In May, the county had fewer than 20 identified Delta cases a week, but by June, there were 60 to 80. For the week that ended June 19, Delta made up nearly 50% of all cases analyzed in L.A. County; four weeks earlier, it accounted for less than 5%.

Delta has been identified in 245 coronavirus cases so far in L.A. County, with early clusters identified in Palmdale and Lancaster. Fourteen cases of Delta occurred among residents of a single household. The increase in the proportion of identified Delta cases comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations have started to rise again in L.A. County and across the state.

State officials say they don’t expect California’s hospitals to once again be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — there are simply too many vaccinated people around to imagine such a scenario. But officials noted that it remains crucial that more Californians get vaccinated.

Some officials, however, have said the science isn’t settled on whether some vaccinated people could be at higher risk of contracting the Delta variant and passing it to other people, while not getting severely sick themselves. That was the reasoning behind the L.A. County Department of Public Health’s latest recommendation that even fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks in indoor public settings until more definitive information emerges about Delta.

UPDATE as of 8:32 am on 6/29/2021

As Delta Variant Circulates, Public Health Recommends Masking Indoors as a Precaution

With increase circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health strongly recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places as a precautionary measure. In the week ending June 12, Delta variants comprised of nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the country, up from approximately one in every 10 the week before.

Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status. Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits.

Fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants, however people with only one vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna are not as well-protected. The smaller number of COVID-19 infections identified in people who are fully vaccinated have been mild illnesses.

For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose.  If you aren’t fully vaccinated, your mask is one of the most powerful tools you have to protect yourself and other unvaccinated people. This is especially true when you are in an indoor or crowded outdoor space. If you are not fully vaccinated and work in a setting where you have sustained close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown, consider wearing a respirator for additional protection.

UPDATE as of 8:14 am on 6/22/2021

L.A. County Modifies Travel Advisory

Los Angeles County’s travel guidance was modified and aligns with State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on travel. Please do not travel if you are sick, you have a recent positive COVID-19 viral test result, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 viral test after being exposed to the virus. You could spread COVID-19 to others.  For more information please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/traveladvisory.htm

UPDATE as of 8:18 am on 6/15/2021

L.A. County to Align with State June 15 Masking Guidelines

Los Angeles County will align with the State’s masking guidance that reflects CDC recommendations and prevents transmission at higher risk settings. Masks will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals, except in the following settings where masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings.
    • Note: This may change as updated K-12 schools guidance is forthcoming, pending updates for K-12 operational guidance from the CDC.
  • Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers

Masks will be required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).

Additionally, employers and workplaces must continue to comply with Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards.

L.A. County masking guidance will be amended to reflect the changes effective June 15.

UPDATE as of 8:15 am on 6/8/2021

CAL/OSHA Board Recommends New Requirements For Fully Vaccinated Workers

The Cal/OSHA standards board recommended relaxing physical distancing and masking requirements for fully vaccinated workers, and other adjustments to align with the June 15 reopening. If the standards are approved by the Office of Administrative Law in the next 10 calendar days, the standards are expected to go into effect no later than June 15.  The revised standards include the following:

  • Face Coverings: Fully vaccinated workers without COVID-19 symptoms do not need to wear face coverings in a room where everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms.  In rooms where everyone is not vaccinated, face coverings continue to be required for everyone regardless of vaccination status. Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms do not need to wear face coverings outdoors except when working at “outdoor mega events” with over 10,000 attendees, which may include events or theme parks.
  • Physical Distancing: When the revised standards take effect, employers can eliminate physical distancing and partitions/barriers for employees working indoors and at outdoor mega events if an employer provides respirators, such as N95s, to unvaccinated employees for voluntary use. After July 31, physical distancing and barriers are no longer required (except during outbreaks) provided all unvaccinated employees are offered respirators for voluntary use.
  • Exclusion from the Workplace: Fully vaccinated workers who do not have COVID-19 symptoms no longer need to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact.
  • Special Protections for Housing and Transportation: Special COVID-19 prevention measures that apply to employer-provided housing and transportation no longer apply if all occupants are fully vaccinated.

Employers will still be required to maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Program with the following changes:

UPDATE as of 8:32 am on 6/4/2021

L.A. County to Transition Four Large Vaccination Sites to Community Sites

On June 7, the County will close the California State University Northridge vaccination site and transition to providing vaccinations to nearby residents at the Balboa Sports Complex. Residents that received their first dose at California State University Northridge, have appointments for their second dose at Balboa Sports Complex which is located nearby. Public Health is assisting residents that need transportation with a free ride there and back.  If you need a ride, you can reach out to the Public Health call center at 1-833-540-0473 and you will be assisted with free transportation services.

After Sunday, June 13, the County will transition the other three large capacity vaccination sites located at The Forum, Pomona Fairplex, and L.A County Office of Education to nearby community sites.  Beginning on Tuesday, June 15, residents can go to the following community vaccination sites:

  • Ted Watkins Memorial Park

            1335 E. 103rd St.

            Los Angeles, CA 90002

            Hours of operation: Tues-Sat, 11am to 6pm

  • Commerce Senior Citizens Center

            2555 Commerce Way

            Commerce, CA 90040

            Hours of operation: Tues-Sat, 11am to 6pm

  • Norwalk Arts & Sports Complex

            13000 Clarkdale Avenue

            Norwalk, CA 90650

            Hours of operation: Tues-Sat, 11am to 6pm

UPDATE as of 8:32 pm on 5/24/2021

L.A. County to Align with State’s June 15th Reopening

Los Angeles County will align with the State’s June 15 plans that ease many capacity limits and distancing requirements and adopt CDC’s masking guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. People who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to wear masks in most situations. There are specific requirements for large capacity indoor events. The County will also follow the State on lifting current travel restrictions on June 15 to align with CDC travel recommendations.

Current County reopening protocols will be amended or retired on June 15 to reflect these changes.

UPDATE as of 4:12 pm on 5/21/2021

Masking Requirements Remain in L.A. County

While the County’s metrics continue to remain low and stable, there continues to be COVID-19 transmission in California, particularly among those who are not fully vaccinated. For that reason, the State will be keeping its current masking guidance until June 15, and L.A. County will do the same and remain in alignment with the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order of May 3. It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement last week was not meant to eliminate current safety modifications at local and state levels, and the CDC acknowledged the importance of maintaining local protections.

Masks are still required for everyone at:

  • Large events, public transportation, retail, and business establishments
  • Workplaces (under Cal/OSHA masking/distancing requirements)

Masks are still required for all unvaccinated people:

  • Outdoors anytime distancing cannot be maintained

Masks are still not required for fully vaccinated people:

  • Outdoors unless attending crowded events
  • Indoor and outdoor visits with other fully vaccinated people and with unvaccinated people from one household without high risk people
UPDATE as of 9:10 am on 5/17/2021

Studies Show Vaccines Appear to be Effective Against Variants

LA County Public Health continues to track and study variants of COVID-19 in the County. Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, changes constantly through mutation, and the more transmission there is of the virus, the more mutations there will be. The two most commonly circulating variants of concern in L.A. County have been, and remain, the UK (B.1.1.7) and California (B.1.427/429) variants. Of the 79 specimens analyzed by the L.A. County Public Health Laboratory in the past week, 35% were the UK variant and 6% were the California variant. The lab also detected 11 Brazil (P.1) variants last week, a significant increase from prior sequencing results.

The identification of these variants and the news of spreading variants from across the globe highlights the need for L.A. County residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves and others; this is particularly true for those who are not vaccinated who can end up unknowingly being incubators of variants of concern. If you are not yet vaccinated or unable to get vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of distance when around others not in your household and consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. All of the information currently available indicates that vaccines appear to be highly effective in preventing transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths, even with the increased presence of variants.

UPDATE as of 9:00 am on 5/11/2021

FDA Approves Emergency Use of the Pfizer Vaccine for Ages 12-15

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. The Pfizer vaccine is already authorized for people 16 years old and older. Los Angeles County will offer the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affirms the FDA recommendation, which can happen as early as this Wednesday. All adolescents 12-17 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get vaccinated.

UPDATE as of 9:00 am on 5/6/2021

LA County Enters Yellow Tier

The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order has been updated to reflect newly permitted activities allowed in the yellow tier, beginning today Thursday, May 6 at 12:01 a.m. Additional safety modifications are required or recommended for some sectors.

The modifications to the Health Officer Order include the following:

  • Amusement/Theme Parks/Fairs can increase capacity to 35%.  Fully vaccinated out of state visitors are permitted.
  • Bars that do not provide meals can operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Masking always required, except when eating or drinking; drinking and eating only while seated. Tables must be at least 6 feet apart and no counter seating/service. Maximum of 6 people from one household per table; if everyone in a group is vaccinated, 6 people can sit together from up to 6 different households.  TV viewing is permitted. No live entertainment permitted indoors. Outdoors tables can have a maximum 8 persons per table from up to 3 different households; if everyone in a group is vaccinated, 8 people sit together from up to 8 different households.  Live entertainment and TV viewing permitted outdoors. No counter seating/service.
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries that do not serve meals can increase indoors capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer. No live entertainment permitted indoors. These establishments will follow the same public health directives as bars for their outdoor areas.
  • Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% capacity with continued safety modifications. There must be 6 feet distancing between tables.  Maximum of 6 people from one household per table; if everyone in a group is vaccinated, 6 people can sit together from up to 6 different households
  • Cardrooms/Racetracks/Satellite Wagering Facilities can operate indoors at 50% capacity. There must be 6-feet of distancing between tables and masks are always required. Food and beverages remain banned at the tables.
  • Fitness Centers can operate indoors at 50% capacity. Masks are always required unless swimming.
  • Movie Theatres can operate at 50% capacity. Reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance between any other groups (in all directions); capacity is limited to ensure that there is at least 6 feet of distance between groups. Seating sections can be established for fully vaccinated people without 6 feet distancing requirements provided there is 3 feet of distance between these sections and other seats in the theatre. Eating is allowed in only designated areas or in your reserved seat.
  • Family Entertainment Centers can operate at 50% capacity, 75% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. Masks are required.
  • Grocery and Retail Stores capacity remains limited to 75% with continued requirement for distancing of at least 6 feet between customers.
  • Hair Salons, Barbershops and Personal Care Services can operate at 75% capacity with masks required, except for services where customers need to remove their masks. For services where customers must remove their face coverings, staff must wear a fitted N95 mask or a face covering with a face shield.
  • Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can be open indoors at 75% capacity with safety modifications.
  • Waterparks can operate at 40% capacity with safety modifications.
  • Youth and Adult Recreational Sports and Community Sporting Events can apply to Public Health for approval for athletic events, tournaments or competitions that involve more than two teams or multiple individuals.  Indoor moderate and high contact sports are permitted following Collegiate Sports Protocols, which includes regular testing.
  • Live Event and Performance Indoor venues up to 1,500 guests can operate at a maximum of 25% capacity or 50% if guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. Venues with 1,501 guests and above can operate at 10% capacity of 2,000 people; whichever is fewer or 50% capacity for tested or fully vaccinated guests.
  • Live Event and Performance Outdoor venues can expand to 67% capacity with safety modifications.
UPDATE as of 8:25 am on 5/4/2021

LA County Aligns with New CDC Recommendations

Los Angeles County has adjusted our Health Officer Order to align with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on when and where people need to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC new recommendations support the continued need for everyone, including those fully vaccinated, to wear masks while in crowds where 6-feet of distance from other persons is not possible, while at large events and gatherings, and in indoor settings where unvaccinated people may be present. Because COVID-19 can still easily spread, unvaccinated people, who remain at highest risk of becoming infected, need to continue wearing masks in all settings where they are around people not in their household.

While these changes are appropriate and science-based, they can create unintended risk if individuals not yet fully vaccinated discontinue wearing their masks in situations where they may become infected. More than 50% of the people living in Los Angeles County are not yet fully vaccinated and intermingling with others who are not vaccinated and unmasked increases the possibility of virus transmission. Given the continued threat of variants, masking and distancing are essential protections for those not yet vaccinated.  The only safe way for us to enjoy more activities without masking and distancing, is for everyone eligible to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they can. This week, people 16 and older living or working in Los Angeles can just show up at a County-run site during operating hours to get vaccinated.

UPDATE as of 9:25 am on 4/27/2021

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine Is Back In Play. LA County Says It Has Nearly 100K Doses On Hand

After a thorough safety review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they determined that the pause in the use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine can be lifted and that use of the vaccine should resume. Vaccine providers in LA County with doses of the Janssen vaccine can resume administration of the vaccine starting April 24, provided they distribute the updated Janssen fact sheets to any recipients of the vaccine.  Public Health has posted updated safety information about the Janssen vaccine.

The decision comes after CDC’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviewed data related to the recent reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot that occurred in individuals after receiving the vaccine.  Based on their review of all available data, both the CDC and the FDA determined that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.   We are grateful to the scientists and clinicians conducting this thorough review and are confident moving forward in distributing and administering the vaccine. 

UPDATE as of 9:25 am on 4/20/2021

California Aims to Fully Reopen June 15

As we reach 20 million vaccines administered and COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations have stabilized, California is looking to move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to fully reopening our economy. On June 15, all industries across the state can return to usual operations with common-sense risk reduction measures such as masking and vaccinations.

We will only progress to this stage if we continue to stay vigilant, keep wearing our masks and getting vaccinated. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access, and vaccine efficacy against variants with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.

What triggers our move Beyond the Blueprint?

On June 15, California will fully open its economy if two criteria are met:

1. Equitable vaccine availability: If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years or older who wish to be inoculated. 

AND

2. Consistently low burden of disease: Hospitalizations are stable and low, and specifically, hospitalizations among fully vaccinated individuals are low.

What happens beyond the Blueprint?

When California fully reopens the economy, the state will move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings. Additionally:

  • All sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations in compliance with ETS/Cal OSHA and other statewide agency guidelines and standards with limited public health restrictions, such as masking, testing, and testing or vaccination verification requirements for large-scale higher-risk events. In addition, the following restrictions apply (via a narrow public health order): 
    • Unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees, conventions will be capped at 5,000 persons until October 1.
    • International convention attendees will only be allowed if fully vaccinated.
  • Schools and institutions of higher education should conduct full-time, in person instruction, in compliance with Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards and public health guidelines.
  • Workplaces promote policies that reduce risk, including improved indoor ventilation, and mask wearing in indoor and other high-risk settings as well as remote work when possible without impacting business operations.
  • Californians and travelers will be subject to any current CDPH and CDC travel restrictions.

California will also need to maintain the public health and medical infrastructure in these five priority areas:

  1. Continue to provide vaccinations and be prepared for the vaccination of Californians under 16 years old. It is critical that vaccines remain effective against circulating strains.
  2. Conduct equity-focused monitoring and surveillance by maintaining adequate testing capacity and strategies for the early detection of cases including variants via genomic sequencing.
  3. Contain disease spread through timely investigation of cases, contacts, and outbreaks.
  4. Maintain a statewide plan to scale up resources for isolation or quarantine.
  5. Monitor hospital admissions and maintain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and healthcare surge capacity that can be easily mobilized.

The transition from Blueprint

Our strategy is to use various levers and incentives to increase protection of Californians and incentivize vaccination to move us towards community immunity. Since March we have adjusted the Blueprint to recognize the role of vaccines in reducing transmission. These strategies include:

  • Reopening and expanding the capacity of outdoor sectors
  • Adding the Vaccine Equity Benchmarks to adjust the case rate thresholds for Blueprint tiers
  • Allowing increased capacity or numbers of persons allowed, including indoors, with proof of testing or vaccination
  • Developing guidance or minimum standards to ensure equity, privacy, and ethical practices are integral in the deployment of vaccination and testing verification methods
  • Focusing on equity allocations and implementation plans to improve vaccination coverage in our least advantaged and hardest-hit communities 

The efforts Californians have taken to date have allowed us to fully reopen safely so we can move beyond the Blueprint. 

UPDATE as of 9:00 am on 4/13/2021

CDC and FDA Recommend US pause use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 Vaccine over Blood Clot Concerns

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over six reported US cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot. The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. Until that process is complete, the CDC and FDA are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

For people who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot, those who have developed severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. The blood clotting may be connected to how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus vector vaccine- the same type as AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine isn’t in use in the United States, but has been authorized in more than 70 countries. The European Medicines Agency recently concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as “very rare side effects” of the AstraZeneca vaccine. While advising the public to look out for the signs of clots, the regulators said the benefits of the shot were still worth the risk.

The two other Covid-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States — Pfizer’s and Moderna’s — are mRNA vaccines, which are a different type.

UPDATE as of 9:05 am on 4/12/2021

LA County Updates Travel Advisory and Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that individuals avoid out-of-state non-essential travel because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Because fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, persons who are fully vaccinated can now travel provided they take precautions and follow safety recommendations. Persons who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to Los Angeles County from other states or countries could easily introduce new sources of infection (potentially including new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus). It is imperative that LA County residents continue to take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection until we can achieve higher levels of vaccination in California and globally.

The County of Los Angeles is issuing the following guidance for travelers, which supersede the Travel Advisory and Guidance issued on February 3, 2021 and shall apply prospectively from April 5, 2021. Non-essential travel out-of-state or out-of-country is still not recommended. For those that must travel, the following applies:

  • All travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 1-3 days before travel. Travel should not be initiated until a negative test result is returned.
  • All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate and follow County isolation instructions. Do not travel when symptomatic or with a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of vaccination status.
  • All non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries must quarantine as described below.
  • Fully vaccinated persons may travel but should continue to take precautions. If asymptomatic, no quarantine or testing is needed upon return.

Fully Vaccinated Persons

Definition of Fully Vaccinated

A person is considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks following the receipt of:

  • the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna)
  • one dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson/Janssen).

Persons who don’t meet these requirements must follow the travel instructions for Persons Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated.

Persons who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States. While international travel poses additional risk, fully vaccinated persons may travel internationally provided they take precautions while traveling. In addition, the CDC requires that all international travelers coming into the United States (including U.S. citizens; regardless of vaccination status) have a negative COVID-19 viral test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months prior to boarding a plane to the United States. See CDC International Travel Recommendations for more information.

Fully vaccinated persons should continue to take precautions to protect others when they travel:

  • During Travel
    • Wear a mask. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
    • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • After Travel
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days upon return to Los Angeles County; isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.
    • With international travel only, a viral test 3-5 days post travel is recommended.

Persons Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated

Non-Essential Travel and Quarantine Requirements

  1. Until they are fully vaccinated, Los Angeles County residents should continue to avoid all non-essential travel outside of California, unless they are traveling for essential purposes. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains that are now present in California. “Non-essential travel” includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
  2. All non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering the County of Los Angeles and must adhere to the quarantine procedures described below in #4.
  3. All non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to the County of Los Angeles from other states or countries must*:
    1. Quarantine for 7 full days after travel if they get tested and get a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a specimen collected 3-5 days after their arrival.
    2. Quarantine for 10 full days after travel if they did not get tested with a COVID-19 viral test after their arrival.
    3. For 14 days after their arrival, continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness. They must isolate and should get tested if symptoms develop.

    Note: Persons who have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID in the past 3 months (90 days) and are asymptomatic do not need a viral test and do not need to quarantine. However, they must monitor their health for symptom of COVID-19 for 14 days after their arrival. Recovered from COVID-19 is defined as having completed isolation. (Click here for more info on isolation for COVID-19 and “When Does My Home Isolation End?”)

    *If the recent traveler is needed for urgent critical healthcare staffing needs or to otherwise engage in emergency response, they are permitted to work, but must quarantine when not doing their essential work.
  4. Persons who travel into Los Angeles County solely for essential work purposes may work but must comply with all requirements related to wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing. When not conducting essential work, they should take care to not mix with others.

Essential Travel

Essential travel is travel associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or otherwise required or expressly authorized by law (including other applicable state and local public health directives), including work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

Essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine if they engaged any of the following activities that placed them at a higher risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Close contact interaction (within six feet for a total of more than 15 minutes) with a person who was not fully vaccinated and not a household member when face masks were not consistently worn at all times;
  • They were indoors, including on a shared conveyance, such as a plane, train or bus, and either the individual or those around you were not wearing face masks at all times; or
  • Close contact interaction (within six feet for a total of more than 15 minutes), regardless of masking, with someone who was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours of their interaction with them.

Recommendations for Travelers

Precautions for Persons Who Are Unable to Delay Travel

If you MUST travel, plan ahead:

  • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait 2 weeks after getting your second vaccine dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or after getting the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine to travel—it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
  • Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 1-3 days before travel, if not fully vaccinated. Do NOT travel if you test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19. Note: Testing is not recommended if you are currently without symptoms AND you have recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months.
  • This means you had a positive COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) test and you completed isolation. See When does my home isolation end for more details.
  • Recovery from COVID-19 means you have completed your isolation.
  • Know how widespread COVID-19 is in the area you must travel to. For cases in the last 7 days by state, see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days. For the risk assessment level for COVID-19 by country, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.
  • Find out where you can be tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your trip. For a list of symptoms, see http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/about-covid.htm.
  • People at high-risk of severe COVID-19 should be particularly careful about traveling, including:
    • People who are older, smoke or are overweight
    • Pregnant women
    • People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart problems, COPD, cancer, weakened immune systems, and sickle cell disease.
    See CDC webpage on People at Increased Risk for more information on who is at high risk of severe COVID-19.
  • Avoid travel to the extent possible if you will be traveling with someone who cannot wear a mask consistently, including children under 2 years old who should not be wearing face masks due to risk of suffocation.

While traveling, reduce your risk.

  • Wear a face mask over your nose and mouth and stay 6 feet or more away from people you do not live with, including family members you do not normally live with. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid spending time indoors with people you don’t normally live with, including family members, to the extent possible. The risk of getting COVID-19 is generally much greater indoors than outdoors because the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel in the air more than 6 feet and collects indoors and in enclosed spaces. If you must spend time indoors, choose a larger room that is well-ventilated or where windows and doors can be opened, and wear a face mask at all times.
  • Try to limit the number of people you interact with. For example, if you are traveling for work or you must travel to care for family, avoid in-person interactions with neighbors or friends.
  • Don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with. Vehicles are small enclosed spaces where COVID-19 can spread easily between people. If you must share a vehicle, try to ride with the same people each time, 1) make sure everyone wears a facemask, 2) open the windows, and 3) maximize outdoor air circulation as much as you can.
  • Avoid meals, drinks, or gatherings with people you don’t normally live with, including family members. Eating and drinking together is higher-risk because people must take off their masks to eat or drink, are more likely to touch their mouths while eating, often sit within 6 feet of each other, and talk while eating, creating more respiratory droplets or small particles. If you do have a meal or private gathering, it must 1) be limited to one or two other households with a maximum of 15 people, 2) be held outdoors only, and 3) be limited to two hours or less, and 4) follow the Social (Physical) Distancing requirements of the County Order Section 3a. It is safer for people in different households to sit outdoors at least 6 feet apart and to wear masks when they are not actively eating or drinking (such as when talking).

All Travelers Regardless of Vaccination

  • DO NOT travel if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. You could spread COVID-19.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms (see ph.lacounty.gov/covidcare), get tested and wait for a negative test result before you start your trip.
  • A negative test should not be interpreted as a safety clearance for traveling or for engaging in other high-risk activities or with others indoors, without wearing a face mask, and without practicing physical distancing. These tests assess for virus in your body the moment you were tested; you may actually have COVID-19 that won’t show up on a test until later that day or in subsequent days, and a negative test might create a false sense of security.

For additional information see CDC Information on Travel During COVID-19:

UPDATE as of 8:55 am on 4/5/2021

LA County Enters Orange Tier Effective Monday April 5th

The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order was updated today to reflect newly permitted activities allowed in the orange tier, beginning Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m. Additional safety modifications are required or recommended for many sectors. The modifications to the Health Officer Order include the following:

  • Bars that do not provide meals will be allowed to open outdoors with distancing, masking and infection control safety measures. Indoor operations are not permitted. Visits are limited to 90 minutes. Masks are required except when people are eating or drinking. There can be no counter seating and people can eat or drink only when they are seated. Tables must be 8 feet apart, with a maximum of 6 people from up to 3 different households. There can be no live entertainment, television is permitted outdoors only and hours of operations are from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries that do not serve meals can remain open outdoors and can also open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. These establishments will follow the same public health directives as bars for their outdoor areas, however, there are additional requirements for indoor spaces: reservations are required for indoor seating, there is a maximum of 6 people per table and they must be from the same household, and there is no live entertainment or television viewing indoors.
  • Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less with continued safety modifications.
  • Cardrooms can operate indoors at 25% capacity. There must be 8-feet of distancing between tables and masks are always required. Food and beverages remain banned from card tables.
  • Places of Worship can hold services indoors at 50% capacity.
  • Fitness Centers can operate indoors at 25% capacity and indoor pools can now re-open. Masks are always required unless swimming.
  • Movie Theatres can increase capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is less. Seats must be reserved, and each group must have 6 feet of distance from other groups in all directions. Eating is allowed in only designated areas or in your reserved seat.
  • Family Entertainment Centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for distanced activities, such as bowling or escape rooms. Masks remain required.
  • Grocery and Retail Stores can increase capacity to 75%, although Public Health strongly recommends grocery stores remain at 50% capacity until April 15 to allow as many grocery store workers as possible get vaccinated.
  • Hair Salons, Barbershops and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 75% with masks required, except for services where customers need to remove their masks. For services where customers must remove their face coverings, staff must wear a fitted N95 and goggles or a mask with a face shield.
  • Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can be open indoors at 50% capacity.
  • Youth and Adult Recreational Sports can apply to Public Health for approval for athletic events, tournaments or competitions that involve more than two teams or multiple individuals.
UPDATE as of 8:50 am on 3/29/2021

Vaccinations opening for all Californians aged 50 and up April 1st, and 16 and up April 15th

The State announced starting April 1, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will expand to individuals age 50 and older, and starting April 15, for individuals age 16 and older. The County hopes the expansion of eligibility includes increased doses of vaccine coming into L.A. County.  Public Health greatly looks forward to this expansion, however the success will be dependent on receiving a substantial increase in vaccine supplies.

UPDATE as of 8:10 am on 3/23/2021

What Can You Do Now that You are Fully Vaccinated?

These are new public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. They are based on guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They will be updated over time as we learn more about the impact of vaccination on the spread of COVID-19. What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? You are considered fully vaccinated when:
• Two weeks or more have passed since you received your second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna); or
• Two weeks or more have passed since you received your dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson& Johnson)
People Who Are Fully Vaccinated Can:
• Visit indoors with a small number of other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or physically distancing;
• Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without wearing masks or physical distancing, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19;
• Refrain from quarantine and testing if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 and they do not have symptoms.
People Who Are Fully Vaccinated Should Continue to:
• Take steps to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. These precautions should be taken whenever they are: in public, gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, or visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who lives with a person at increased risk.
• Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
• Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if after contact with someone who is sick. If they have symptoms of COVID-19, they should get test and stay home.

UPDATE as of 8:20 am on 3/16/2021

New Eligibility Opens Up for COVID-19 Vaccine

Starting March 15, people aged 16-64 who have underlying health conditions or disabilities are now eligible to receive vaccines, as their conditions put them at the highest risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19. These conditions include:

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or
  • cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%

OR 

  • If, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies:
  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability

Persons who are newly eligible and qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition should note that during registration for a vaccine appointment, they will be asked to state that they have a high-risk medical condition or disability. 

To protect confidentially, they will not be asked to disclose the specific condition.  People getting vaccinated must provide documentation at all appointments with either a letter from a healthcare provider, a personal physician or an agency providing services or, if not available, the eligible person or their caretaker will be asked to sign an attestation. 

All eligible persons will also need to provide identification (government ID not required) and proof that they live within LA County at their appointment.

UPDATE as of 9:20 am on 3/15/2021

LA County Enters Red Tier Today

The Los Angeles County enters the less restrictive red tier that allows for additional re-openings today. Newly permitted activities and modified safety protocols in the red tier will include the following:

  1. Museum, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.
  2. Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.
  3. Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
  4. Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
  5. Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions:  8 feet distancing between tables; one household per table with a limit of 6 people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased. Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield.  In addition, Public Health strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from 3 different households.
  6. Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
  7. Institutes of Higher Education can re-open all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester.
  8. Schools are permitted to re-open for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
  9. Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to 3 separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times.  People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing. 
UPDATE as of 8:30 am on 3/12/2021

LA County Announces Sector Safety Measures for Red Tier Re-openings

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health anticipates qualifying for the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy less restrictive red tier that allows for additional re-openings between Monday, March 15 at 12:01am and Wednesday, March 17. The exact date depends on when 2 million doses have been administered to people in the most under-resourced communities across the state.

The County is principally aligned with the state’s reopening framework for the red tier, with mandatory masking, distancing and infection control practices for every business and permitted activity. Additional safety modifications are required or recommended for certain sectors. 

Newly permitted activities and modified safety protocols in the red tier will include the following:

  1. Museum, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.
  2. Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.
  3. Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
  4. Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
  5. Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions:  8 feet distancing between tables; one household per table with a limit of 6 people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased. Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield.  In addition, Public Health strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from 3 different households.
  6. Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
  7. Institutes of Higher Education can re-open all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester.
  8. Schools are permitted to re-open for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
  9. Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to 3 separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times.  People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing. 
UPDATE as of 8:10 am on 3/9/2021

Residents Urged to Avoid Non-essential Travel as Spring Break Season Begins

The Spring break season this year has the ability to derail our recovery journey if it involves increased travel, gatherings and nonadherence to safety measures.   While COVID-19 numbers have decreased, transmission remains widespread here in L.A. County and in many states and countries.  Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 during this pandemic.  Los Angeles County residents should continue to avoid all non-essential travel and stay within 120 miles from their place of residence, unless they are traveling for essential purposes.

A Travel Advisory remains in effect in Los Angeles County.  Anyone who is arriving to Los Angeles County must self-quarantine for 10 days; please remain at your home or lodging for the 10 days and avoid contact with others. Please do not travel if you are sick.  If you have COVID-19 symptoms get tested.

UPDATE as of 8:50 am on 3/8/2021

CVS Expands COVID Vaccination Sites to 272 California Locations Including Westlake Village

The rollout of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccination triggered an expansion of inoculation sites in California.

CVS Pharmacy was already administering vaccines as part of the Federal Pharmacy Program, which means they receive doses directly from the federal government separate from the California allocation and now has begun receiving shipments of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

For more information please visit the CVS website.

UPDATE as of 8:20 am on 3/2/2021

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine is to be distributed in the U.S for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. 4 million doses are expected to be shipped to various areas today for immediate use.

UPDATE as of 8:27 am on 2/23/2021

L.A. County Department of Public Health Will Start Vaccinating Next Tier Starting March 1

At this time, vaccination continues to be only open to healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and people who are age 65 or older which account for approximately 2.2 million people in L.A. County.  Those eligible for the vaccine will continue to be eligible if they’ve not yet been vaccinated.  Three additional sectors become eligible for vaccine starting on March 1; education and childcare, food and agriculture, and first responders and law enforcement.  The County is working with partners to offer multiple opportunities for vaccinating the more than 1.8 million workers that will be eligible for vaccine beginning March 1.

UPDATE as of 8:20 am on 2/16/2021

L.A. County Department of Public Health Statement on Schools Reopening

The state permits elementary schools to reopen as soon as we reach an adjusted case rate of 25 per 100,000. Los Angeles County Public Health has announced that the county expects to have reached this threshold effective Tuesday, February 16.

This encouraging news means that dozens of elementary schools will be permitted to reopen for in-class instruction for students grades TK-6 as early as this week.

All schools wishing to reopen must submit plans to the County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health certifying that they have implemented a full range of safety measures to permit a safe reopening.

UPDATE as of 9:20 am on 2/11/2021

CDC Officials Say Double-masking Helps Reduce Exposure to COVID-19

Wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask significantly helps reduce exposure to the coronavirus, according to a new CDC study.

Researchers determined double-masking or wearing tightly fitted medical masks can reduce exposure to infectious aerosols by 95 percent — demonstrating that the better the masks fit, the better protection they provide.

Medical procedure masks don’t always provide robust protection alone because air can leak around their edges, according to the study, which CDC researchers conducted using dummies fitted with different types of masks.

If a medical procedure mask is worn alone, the CDC says modifications to improve the fit, such as knotting the ear loops and tucking in the sides of the mask, or wearing a cloth mask over it, can reduce exposure. Other options include using a “mask fitter” device or a sleeve made of nylon pantyhose to hold the mask tightly to the face.

The study is the latest to show evidence that masks can reduce transmission. The CDC last week released a pair of studies, including one that showed masks had helped slow hospitalizations in states that mandated their use.

The new research also comes as a growing number of experts — including Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci — have recommended double-masking to increase protection against Covid-19. The advice has been driven in part by the arrival in the U.S. of coronavirus variants that are more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus.

UPDATE as of 8:15 am on 2/10/2021

Public Health Officials Advise Against Holiday Travel to Prevent Another Surge as Additional Variant Cases Confirmed

Public Health has confirmed five additional cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7. (U.K. variant), totaling eight cases in Los Angeles County.  The B.1.1.7 variant is more easily transmissible, and verification of the variant in L.A. County means residents and businesses must be extremely diligent adhering to all public health safety measures, including  wearing face coverings, distancing from others, and handwashing; these measures protect against transmission of the virus and known variants.

Despite recent decreases in the current COVID-19 surge of cases and hospitalizations, COVID-19 transmission remains widespread here in L.A. County and in many states and countries.

Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.  Additionally, the risk may be greater with the prevalence of the more easily transmissible B.1.1.7 variant.

With the upcoming Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day, Public Health advises against non-essential travel and gatherings with people not from your household. COVID-19 surged after Thanksgiving and Christmas travel in November and December.  The more people travel, the more interactions they have with individuals outside of their household, the greater the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Shared transportation, including travel by air, bus, or rail, can not only put travelers at risk but also all members of the community if infected travelers spread COVID-19 to others after returning to Los Angeles County.

A travel advisory remains in effect for L.A. County. Anyone who is arriving to Los Angeles County must self-quarantine for 10 days; please remain at your home or lodging for the 10 days and avoid contact with others. If you must travel, please plan ahead. Know how widespread COVID-19 is in the area you must travel to. It is critical to not travel if you are sick. Residents should stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of illness, have not finished their isolation period after testing positive for COVID-19, or have not finished their quarantine period after being exposed or likely to have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19.  More guidance and information regarding the travel advisory can be found at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

UPDATE as of 9:24 am on 2/9/2021

California Shifts to Age-Based Vaccination System

The state’s new vaccination plan will prioritize people by age rather than by risk of infection beginning in mid-February.

After those 65 and older, health care workers and essential workers like first responders, teachers, and food and agriculture workers are inoculated, the state is moving to an age-based vaccine prioritization system. Moving to age-based eligibility will allow California to scale up much more quickly and get vaccines to impacted communities, much more expeditiously with a framework always on equity.

UPDATE as of 8:14 am on 2/4/2021

California Extends Evictions Moratorium Through June

An eviction moratorium extension and $2.6 billion in rental relief overwhelmingly passed both chambers of California’s legislature last week.  The state’s eviction moratorium was extended to June 30. Newsom’s office supported the legislation during last-minute negotiations among legislative leaders, tenant associations and the California Apartment Association.

UPDATE as of 8:23 am on 2/3/2021

Federal Government to Ship COVID Vaccines Directly to Retail Pharmacies Starting Next Week

The U.S. will begin shipping doses of the Covid-19 vaccine directly to retail pharmacies next week, as the Biden administration expands how and where Americans can get inoculated. The initial shipment of 1 million doses will go to 6,500 stores starting February 11.

Pharmacies that receive the vaccine directly from the federal government will still need to follow their state’s guidelines to determine which populations should receive the injections. Californians should check their local pharmacy’s website to make an appointment if they fall into one of their state’s priority groups.

The first pharmacies to receive the vaccine from the federal government will be those that are best situated to reach people at high risk for severe illness and “socially vulnerable” populations. Eventually, 40,000 pharmacies across the country will receive shipments of the vaccine.

CVS said Tuesday that it will receive 250,000 of those doses from the federal government next week. The nationwide chain plans to begin giving vaccinations at 300 of its stores, including 100 in California. Agoura Hills CVS has been determined to be one of the pharmacies to receive the vaccine. To make an appointment, you can register online at cvs.com or call 1-800-746-7287.

UPDATE as of 8:36 am on 2/2/2021

Effective Today, CDC Requires Face Masks to be Worn by All Travelers on Public Transportation

Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by bringing people in close contact with others, often for prolonged periods, and exposing them to frequently touched surfaces. Air travel often requires spending time in security lines and busy airport terminals. Travel by bus, train, and other conveyances used for international, interstate, or intrastate transportation poses similar challenges. Staying 6 feet away from others is often difficult on public transportation.  People may not be able to distance themselves by the recommended at least 6 feet from other people seated nearby or from those standing in or passing through the aisles on airplanes, trains, or buses.

Travel has led—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.  Wearing masks that completely cover the mouth and nose reduce the spread of COVID-19. People who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) or are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) might not know that they are infected but can still spread COVID-19 to others. Masks also offer protection to the wearer.

CDC has issued an order that requires face masks to be worn by all travelers while on public transportation (which includes all passengers and all personnel operating conveyances). People must wear masks that completely cover both the mouth and nose while awaiting, boarding, disembarking, or traveling on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares as they are traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories. People must also wear masks while at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports) and other locations where people board public transportation in the United States and U.S. territories.

Public transportation operators must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Depending on the circumstances, public transportation operators must take the following actions:

  • board only people who wear masks;
  • instruct people that wearing a mask on the conveyance is a requirement of federal law and that not complying with the requirement is a violation of federal law;
  • monitor the conveyance for any person who is not wearing a mask and seek compliance from such a person;
  • at the earliest safe opportunity, disembark any person who refuses to comply; and
  • notify people of the requirement to make sure they aware of and comply with the requirement to wear a mask. Examples of such notifications are messaging in apps, on websites or through email; posters in multiple languages with illustrations; and printing the information on tickets.

People are not required to wear a mask under the following circumstances:

  • while eating, drinking, or taking medication for brief periods of time;
  • while communicating, for brief periods of time, with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • if, on an aircraft, wearing of oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation;
  • if unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; or
  • when necessary to temporarily remove the mask to verify one’s identity such as during Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening or when asked to do so by the ticket or gate agent or any law enforcement official.

The following categories of people are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask:

  • A child under the age of 2 years;
  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability;
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.

People on board the following categories of conveyances are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask:

  • Private conveyances operated only for personal, non-commercial use;
  • Commercial motor vehicles or trucks, if the driver is the only person in the vehicle or truck;
  • Conveyances operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as long as the operator of the conveyance follows all DOD requirements to prevent spread of COVID-19.
UPDATE as of 4:02 pm on 1/26/2021

Los Angeles County to Align with State Health Officer Order Reopening Key Sectors, Including Outdoor Dining on Friday

The State lifted the Regional Stay Home Order and moved all counties back into the Blueprint for a Safer Economy color-coded tiers. Los Angeles County, along with the majority of the State, is in the most restrictive purple tier.

With the lifting of the Regional Stay Home Order, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order has been updated to more fully align with the sector openings permitted in the purple tier.

The following is allowed starting now with adherence to all of the sector specific directives to ensure distancing, wearing of face coverings, and infection control:

  • Private gatherings outdoors up to 3 households and up to a total of 15 people
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Cardrooms outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Miniature golf, go karts, batting cages outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Outdoor recreational activities are open
  • Hotels & motels for tourism and individual travel allowed
  • Fitness facilities open for outdoor operations
  • Personal care services open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Indoor mall, shopping center, lower-risk retail open at 25% indoor capacity; food courts and common areas closed

The following restrictions remain in effect until January 29:

  • Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out only.
  • Non-essential businesses closed from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others.

UPDATE as of 9:50 am on 1/25/2021

CA Public Health Officials Lift Regional Stay At Home Order for All Regions Effective Today

Officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today ended the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifting the order for all regions statewide, including the three regions that had still been under the order – San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California. Four-week ICU capacity projections for these three regions are above 15%, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order.

This action allows all counties statewide to return to the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates and test positivity. The majority of the counties are in the strictest, or purple tier. Individual counties could choose to impose stricter rules.

While there are positive signs that the virus is spreading at a slower rate across the state, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is still critical that Californians continue to wear masks when they leave their homes, maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet, wash their hands frequently, avoid gatherings and mixing with other households, follow all state and local health department guidance and get the vaccine when it’s their turn.

Nearly all the counties exiting the Regional Stay at Home Order today are in the Purple or widespread (most restrictive) tier. Services and activities, such as outdoor dining and personal services, may resume immediately with required modifications, subject to any additional restrictions required by local jurisdictions. See the county map to find the status of activities open in each county.

Because case rates remain high across most of the state, the state’s Hospital Surge Order remains in place to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limits non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expires with the Regional Stay At Home Order ending.

UPDATE as of 8:42 am on 1/19/2021

LA County supervisor signs order expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents 65 and older

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis signed an executive order on Monday making COVID-19 vaccines available to residents aged 65 and older. Solis’ order will allow residents 65 and older to start making vaccine appointments starting Thursday January 21, 2021. For more information go to VaccinateLACounty.com

The vaccine supply is still extremely limited, and Public Health urges patience as we work urgently with our federal and state partners to expand capacity and supply in the weeks ahead.

The five sites, which were chosen for their regional accessibility and their ability to handle large capacities of people, are: Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W McKinley Ave, Pomona, CA 91768, The Forum, 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90305, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330, L.A. County Office of Education, 12830 Columbia Way, Downey, CA 90242, and Six Flags Magic Mountain, 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355

These large-scale vaccination sites will be able to vaccinate approximately 4,000 people per day at each site.

UPDATE as of 8:24 am on 1/11/2021

Governor Newsom Proposes 2021-22 State Budget

Governor Gavin Newsom submitted his 2021-22 State Budget proposal to the Legislature – a $227.2 billion fiscal blueprint that provides funding for immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts where Californians need it most while making investments for an equitable, inclusive and broad-based economic recovery.

With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, the Governor’s Budget prioritizes key actions that will urgently help the California families and businesses impacted most. It proposes $372 million to speed up administration of vaccines across all of California’s 58 counties, bolstering the state’s all-hands-on-deck approach to swift and safe vaccine distribution. It also includes a $14 billion investment in our economic recovery and the Californians who most need relief – those who have lost their jobs or small businesses, or are facing eviction – advancing direct cash supports of $600 to millions of Californians through the Golden State Stimulus, extending new protections and funding to help keep people in their homes and investing in relief grants for small businesses. As part of this investment in California’s future, the Budget intensifies the Governor’s commitment to equity in and for our school communities, reflected by the highest levels of school funding – approximately $90 billion total – in California’s history. The commitment includes investments to target the inequitable impacts of the pandemic on schools and families, including $2 billion to support and accelerate safe returns to in-person instruction, $4.6 billion to help students bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic and $400 million for school-based mental health services.

In addition to these measures to support Californians through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget also advances long-term strategies for an equitable, broad-based economic recovery so the state can emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. Building on actions the state has taken to support California’s businesses throughout the pandemic, including emergency aid and regulatory relief, the 2021-22 State Budget makes investments across sectors and proposes supports for businesses of all sizes, including $777.5 million for a California Jobs Initiative, which focuses on job creation and retention, regional development, small businesses and climate innovation.

The Budget recognizes how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Californians who were already struggling before the pandemic, exacerbating decades-long inequalities. Accordingly, it works to expand opportunity for some of the hardest hit Californians and help them get ahead. The Budget also proposes one-time and ongoing investments totaling $353 million to support California’s workers as they adapt to changes in the economy brought about by COVID-19. It lifts up proven, demand-driven workforce strategies like apprenticeship and High-Road Training Partnerships and advances collaboration between higher education and local workforce partners.

The Budget makes new proposals to address the affordability of health care and housing, and supports the increase in the state’s minimum wage to $14 per hour. The Budget includes significant new strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change, with focused investments to support the state’s zero-emission vehicle goals and an additional $1 billion to address a comprehensive wildfire and forest resilience strategy.

Finally, the Budget promotes effective government with additional investments to improve the state’s ability to respond rapidly to emergencies and continues the critical work to improve government efficiency and bring government services into the digital age.

The Budget reflects $34 billion in budget resiliency – budgetary reserves and discretionary surplus – including: $15.6 billion in the Proposition 2 Budget Stabilization Account (Rainy Day Fund) for fiscal emergencies; $3 billion in the Public School System Stabilization Account; an estimated $2.9 billion in the state’s operating reserve; and $450 million in the Safety Net Reserve. The state is operating with a $15 billion surplus.

The Budget continues progress in paying down the state’s retirement liabilities and reflects $3 billion in additional payments required by Proposition 2 in 2021-22 and nearly $6.5 billion over the next three years. In addition, the improved revenue picture allows the state to delay $2 billion in scheduled program suspensions for one year.

For further information on these and other items in the Governor’s Budget, the full Governor’s Budget Summary is available at www.ebudget.ca.gov.

UPDATE as of 12:00 pm on 1/5/2021

Support for California’s Small Businesses

  1. COVID-19 Relief Grant Program Deadline Extended

The grant program is offering grants of $5,000 to $25,000 for California Small Businesses and Nonprofits, depending on their annual revenue. Due to high demand for the first round of funding, the deadline to apply has been extended to next Wednesday, January 13th. This grant is not first come, first served. All grants submitted by January 13th will be considered for the first funding round. Get more information and apply at careliefgrant.com

2. Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans

The new stimulus package provides additional funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) including a 2nd draw PPP option for eligible businesses, reopening of the $10,000 ELDL grant program, and expanded employee retention tax credit. 

The US Chamber of Commerce has put together a helpful guide that explains all of the details. See the US Chamber of Commerce PPP Guide here.

3. IRS

The IRS website has created a dedicated COVID-19 page with information regarding COVID-19 relief payments. For more information go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

UPDATE as of 8:40 am on 1/5/2021

California’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

After healthcare workers and long-term care residents,  the next to be vaccinated will be individuals who have higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors), who are unable to work at home, who live or work in geographic areas that have been highly impacted, or who are most likely to spread disease to other workers or to the public.

These individuals will be prioritized as follows:

Phase 1A

  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care residents

See CDPH Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a.

Phase 1B

1B Tier One:

  • Individuals 75 and older
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture

1B Tier Two:

  • Individuals 65 -74 years of age
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated and homeless

Phase 1C


  • Individuals 50 -64 years of age
  • People 16-64 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations / community-based essential functions

How vaccine decisions are made

A group of experts and a group of community representatives work together to make sure vaccines are prioritized fairly.

Drafting Guidelines Workgroup

A Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccines when supplies are limited.

See CDPH’s Workgroup page for the vaccine’s phasing and resource materials.

Community Vaccine Advisory Committee

The Community Vaccine Advisory Committee is providing input and feedback to the planning efforts and resolving barriers to equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making.

See CDPH’s committee activities page for the upcoming meeting schedule and all meeting materials.

UPDATE as of 2:00 pm on 12/29/2020

Southern California Stay-At-Home Order Extended

California’s regional stay-at-home order has been extended for Southern California. Both Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley remain at 0% capacity for intensive care units. The state’s order applies to any region where the ICU capacity has fallen below 15%, according to Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Here’s the current capacity by region:

  • Bay Area: 10.4%
  • Greater Sacramento: 19.1%
  • Northern California: 27.9%
  • San Joaquin Valley: 0%
  • Southern California: 0%

Ghaly noted that 0% does not mean there are no beds available. Instead, the state takes a more protective stance on capacity: if too many COVID-19 patients are occupying a hospital’s ICU beds, that hospital may be unable to provide adequate care for other urgent care patients. So the state caps the number of ICU beds that can be taken up by COVID-19 patients. It also measures capacity by region, so even though one hospital may have fewer COVID-19 patients, others may have more patients than beds. It may have to divert patients, which spreads the impact around.

In the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California in particular, the ICU capacity is not improving. A region can reopen once its ICU capacity rises above 15% again.

UPDATE as of 9:40 am on 12/29/2020

Public Health Officials Require All Travelers to Quarantine Upon Return to L.A. County

For those who traveled outside of L.A. County and recently returned, you may have had an exposure to COVID-19. The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people the virus causes no illness or symptoms. If you go back to work, go shopping or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others.

Because of the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling outside of L.A County, for everyone that traveled or are planning to travel back into L.A. County, you must quarantine for 10 days. If you start to experience any symptoms or have a positive test, isolate for 10 days and until you are fever-free for 24 hours. The best way to safely quarantine is to not leave your home or allow any visitors to your home, and to find others who can help you buy groceries and other essential necessities. If you need help during your self-quarantine, such as finding assistance to help get groceries, there are resources available by calling 211 or visiting the Public Health website.

UPDATE as of 2:10 pm on 12/21/2020

Congressional leaders reach $900 billion COVID relief deal

Congressional leaders have reached a deal on a nearly $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that includes individual checks, loans to small businesses and benefits to the unemployed struggling with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, ending months of gridlock in negotiations.  A vote is expected today to pass the measure.

Here are key provisions that will be included as part of the agreement:

  • A one-time payment of up to $600 for individuals making less than $75,000 per year.  This represents one-half of the amount approved as part of the CARES Act last March.
  • $300 per week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits for 10 weeks.
  • Extension of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for 11 weeks.  This program, as enacted by the CARES Act, was originally slated to expire next week.
  • Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for 11 weeks, benefitting self-employed and gig economy workers.  This program was also originally set to expire next week.
  • $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); a forgivable loan program targeting small businesses.  Businesses that previously received a PPP loan are eligible for another round of funding.
  • $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for small businesses.
  • $15 billion for cultural venues, including live event venues and movie theaters.
  • $28 billion for acquisition of vaccines and distribution.
  • $20 billion to states for continued COVID-19 testing.
  • $20 billion for health care providers.
  • $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • $45 billion for transportation; including $16 billion for airlines and $14 billion for transit systems.
  • $25 billion for rental assistance to families facing eviction.
  • $82 billion for schools; K-12 and colleges.
UPDATE as of 10:54 am on 12/16/2020

LA Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Townhall

There will be a COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Townhall, occurring this Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 6-7:30 pm (PST) that will be broadcast on Los Angeles County Public Health’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels, @LACOUNTYPUBLICHEALTH.

Questions can be submitted in advance here: https://tinyurl.com/askcovidtownhall

For translation:

Spanish: (888) 664-1453

Chinese: (888) 664-1459

Korean: (888) 664-1454

UPDATE as of 11:08 am on 12/15/2020

A COVID-19 vaccine is here

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 vaccine. More vaccines may be authorized before the end of the year. 

COVID-19 vaccines authorized by FDA have been carefully evaluated in clinical trials. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible.

To ensure the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements, California formed a Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to provide recommendations to California leadership and build public confidence in vaccine safety. The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed their concurrent and thorough review of the federal process and has confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious.

When can I get vaccinated?

California will distribute and administer vaccines as soon as they are available. California will be transparent, careful, and equitable in its vaccine distribution.

Initially vaccine supply will be very limited. At first, vaccines will be provided to healthcare workers and long-term care residents in accordance with the CDPH Allocation Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 1A. This will be followed by essential workers and others at highest risk of becoming infected or severely ill with COVID-19.

How COVID-19 vaccines work

Vaccines help our immune system fight infections in the future. COVID-19 vaccines will protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to get the illness. It typically takes a few weeks after the last dose in a series to become fully protected. Sometimes vaccination can cause mild fever or cold-like symptoms, but these are not harmful.

Benefits of getting vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are meant to prevent you from getting COVID-19 and from spreading it to others. The ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect us from spreading the virus to others is not yet known, but is being studied carefully.

Busting myths about vaccination

COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccination can’t cause COVID-19. The goal of the vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests

Vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated

People are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. This is due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible. At this time, we do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.

Vaccination can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19

While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you without having to get the disease.

UPDATE as of 11:37 pm on 12/6/2020

Southern California ICU capacity is below 15%. Effective TONIGHT, Sunday night at 11:59pm, the LA County Health Officer Order will align with the State Regional Stay Home Order to further prevent crowding & mingling among non-household members & overwhelming our healthcare system. Neighboring counties including Ventura will also be under the the State Regional Stay Home Order as of tonight.

Click here to view the Official Statewide Order.

The LA County Health Officer will be modifying the local Health Officer Order with terms specific to Los Angeles County. Details of this Order will be shared as soon as they become available.

UPDATE as of 1:47 pm on 12/3/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE DECEMBER 3

The Governor of California, following the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, has announced that a Regional Stay Home Order may be coming soon for some regions. The Order would be in effect for 3 weeks after the trigger and instructs Calfornians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (and travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians’ physical and mental health. This limited closure will help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity. 

In any region that triggers a Regional Stay Home Order because it drops below 15% ICU capacity, the following sectors must close: 

  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Indoor recreational facilities
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Personal care services
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums
  • Movie theaters
  • Wineries
  • Bars, breweries, and distilleries
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering
  • Limited services
  • Live audience sports
  • Amusement parks

The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Outdoor recreational facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.
  • Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. 
  • Shopping centers: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Allow only for take-out, pick-up, or delivery.
  • Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible. 
  • Places of worship and political expression: Allow outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment production including professional sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.

The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Critical infrastructure 
  • Schools that are already open for in-person learning
  • Non-urgent medical and dental care
  • Child care and pre-K
UPDATE as of 12:47 pm on 12/1/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE DECEMBER 1

In an effort to assist restaurants affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, Los Angeles County will launch the Keep LA County Dining Grant Program on Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 12:00 a.m.

The Keep LA County Dining Grant will provide $30,000 to use as working capital for employee payroll expenses, capital to continue operations, payment of outstanding business expenses, and adaptive business practices needed to remain open. Preference will be given to restaurants that provided outdoor dining as of November 24, 2020.

For more information, click here.

UPDATE as of 7:38 am on 11/30/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE NOVEMBER 30

Public Health Add Additional Safety Modifications to Health Officer Order

As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, a temporary Los Angeles County Health Officer Order has been issued to require additional safety measures across sectors. The temporary order will take effect Monday, November 30, 2020 and remain in effect through December 20, 2020.

On November 17, Los Angeles County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day. A new Health Officer Order would be issued for three weeks that offered additional safety modifications while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing or providing essential and permitted services to leave their homes.

In the new Order that goes into effect today, residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others.

The additional safety modifications in the order include the following changes to the existing Health Officer Order:

  • Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
    • Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
    • Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
    • Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
    • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
    • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools:
    • All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed non-essential businesses/activities:
    • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)
    • Cardrooms

Because of the high rates of transmission in the community, restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking, as customers are not wearing face coverings during their visit which results in an increased chance of transmission of the virus. Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out. Breweries and wineries remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.

Public Health reminds everyone to stay home as much as possible and avoid seeing people you don’t live with, even if you don’t feel sick. Residents are also reminded to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth whenever they are outside their home and around others, as COVID-19 can be unintentionally spread to other people. We can also reduce transmission by keeping a physical distance of at least 6-feet when outside and around others. Taking these simple safety precautions, in addition to washing your hands frequently, will save lives.

Additionally, it is very important that if you are even mildly sick or think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 that you stay home and away from other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and consider being tested for COVID-19.

UPDATE as of 11:35 am on 11/23/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE NOVEMBER 23

Public Health to Modify Health Officer Order to Restrict Dining at Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries and Bars Amid Surge in Cases – 5-Day Average of New Cases is 4,097

As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified to restrict dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars as the five-day average of new cases increased to more than 4,000 cases. The modified order will take effect Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m.

To reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive thru, and delivery services. Wineries and breweries may continue their retail operations adhering to current protocols. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next 3 weeks.

Last week, Los Angeles County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases is 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, to restrict in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars.

If the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a Targeted Safer at Home Order will be issued for three weeks. The Order would offer additional restrictions while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.

Public Health reminds everyone to stay home as much as possible for the next two to three weeks to change the trajectory of surging cases and save lives. COVID-19 can be unintentionally spread to other people unless we all practice the simple safety precautions that prevents spread. Virus transmission can be significantly reduced if we all keep distance from others who we don’t live with, always wear a face covering properly over our nose and mouth, and wash our hands frequently.

Additionally, it is very important that if you are even mildly sick or think you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 that you stay home and away from other people, especially those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and consider being tested for COVID-19.

UPDATE as of 2:24 pm on 11/20/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE NOVEMBER 20

The County Of Los Angeles Department of Public Health has provided a more focused Health Officer Order and Protocols incorporating the State’s new directives. For more information click here.

UPDATE as of 4:40 pm on 11/19/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE NOVEMBER 19

Earlier today, the State of California Department of Public Health issued a Limited Stay at Home Order, which among other items, imposes a limited curfew on non-essential activities. At this time, the City anticipates additional action from the County Of Los Angeles Department of Public Health which will provide a more focused Health Officer Order and Protocols incorporating the State’s new directives. This revised LA County Health Officer Order is expected within the coming days. For the revised health order please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/Coronavirus/

UPDATE as of 4:30 pm on 11/17/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16-20

The Governor of California has recently updated the small gatherings and travel guidance due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The holidays usually mean gathering with friends and extended family, attending parties, hosting dinners, traveling, and celebrating time-honored customs. But some holiday activities promote congregating and mixing of households, which increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Reduce your risk this holiday season. Follow guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and plan safer celebrations.

Tips for a healthier holiday season

The spread of COVID-19 is increasing across the country and in California as colder weather drives more people indoors. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, follow the guidelines for small gatherings. Here are some extra tips on how to celebrate the holidays more safely.

  • Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, shopping and in stores, and anywhere you will be around people who do not live with you.
  • Wear a mask not only with people you do not know, but with anyone you don’t live with including close friends and family.
  • Keep your distance – especially from older family members and those with chronic health conditions.
  • Do not gather indoors with other households 
  • Don’t share utensils or drinks with anyone. 
  • Commit to keeping gatherings short, whether inside or outside. Shorter is safer.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. If you gather with older people or those with chronic conditions, make sure they wear a surgical or N95 mask.
  • It is safest to celebrate the holidays with the people who already live with you, but if you invite others, only invite a maximum of two other households to your gathering. 
  • Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading the virus. Incoming travelers from out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival before mixing indoors with others. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home if you are sick.

These holiday tips are derived from CDPH’s Small Gathering Guidance.

Travel advisory

Traveling to see friends and family during the holiday could increase your risk of infection and spread COVID-19 in your community.

CDPH strongly recommends:

  • Californians stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel.
  • Anyone arriving into California should voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.

For complete details and requirements, read CDPH’s Travel Advisory.

UPDATE as of 4:16 pm on 11/10/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF NOVEMEBER 9-13

Traveling During the Holidays

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can get COVID-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Wear Masks During Travel

CDC strongly recommends everyone wear a mask on public transportation. This recommendation includes passengers and workers on airplanes, trains, ships, ferries, subways, taxis, and ride shares, and at transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Click here for more information.

Before you travel, consider the following:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination?
    The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return.
  • Check Each State’s Cases in the Last 7 Days
  • Travel Recommendations for Destinations Around the World
  • Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
    If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers?
    Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.

If You Travel

During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

Traveling Abroad? Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.

Considerations for Types of Travel

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling also depend on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from people outside your household (social distancing). Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, the more likely you are to get infected.

Air travel

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.

Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.

Bus or train travel

Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet of others, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. If you choose to travel by bus or train, learn what you can do to protect yourself on public transportation.

Car travel

Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces.

RV travel

You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but RV travel usually means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.

Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 on different types of transportation

UPDATE as of 1:15 pm on 11/3/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF NOVEMEBER 2-6

Holiday Guidance

As families start to plan for the holiday season it is important to consider how to celebrate safely in order to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Planning early and identifying safe alternatives to some of the more traditional but risky methods of celebration will be key. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has provided guidance on how to take part in the holiday season in a manner that reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.

For more information on the holiday guidance click here

UPDATE as of 2:07 pm on 10/28/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF OCTOBER 26-30

Health Advisory: High Risk of COVID-19 Transmission at Gatherings and Public Celebrations

Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH is issuing a Health Advisory for private gatherings and public celebrations advising Los Angeles County residents that the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission at such celebrations is high based on the increasing rate of COVID-19 community transmission in Los Angeles County.

Since early October, Los Angeles County’s average number of daily cases has increased from around 940 per day to almost 1,200 per day. Additionally, recent contact tracing interviews over the course of 3 weeks showed that 55% of the people who knew of a possible exposure had attended an event or gathering where 2 or more people were sick.

To prevent future spread of COVID-19, it is best to celebrate at home with your household, however, if you are going to host or attend a private gathering, it must adhere to the following Public Health protocols:

  • Held outdoors with physical distancing between households;
  • Limited to 3 households, including the host and all guests;
  • Cloth face coverings being worn when not eating or drinking;
  • Food served in single-serve disposable containers;
  • Two hours or less.

Additionally, it is recommended we all do the following throughout this week and beyond:

  • If you are sick, stay home. Isolate from others and consider being tested for COVID-19.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when outside your home and around others.
  • Stay at least 6-feet or more apart from others not in your household.
  • Do not share utensils, cups, food or drinks.
  • Disinfect frequently touched items often.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Isolate if you are positive for COVID-19.
  • Quarantine if you have been a close contact of someone who is positive for COVID-19.
UPDATE as of 2:22 pm on 10/21/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF OCTOBER 19-23

California’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

From the start of this pandemic, data and science have guided our state’s response to COVID-19. That will continue to be true when it comes to a possible vaccine. While there is no proven vaccine yet, California is putting everything in place to distribute and administer vaccine doses as quickly as possible, but only after vaccine safety has been reviewed and approved by a panel of top health experts.

California’s planning process for the eventual distribution and administration of COVID-19 is guided by the overarching principles of ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements; ensuring that the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably, at first to those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19; and transparency, by bringing in community stakeholders from the outset.  

California will leverage its well-established existing immunization framework and emergency response infrastructure to coordinate efforts between state, local, and territorial authorities and administer the vaccine. The state is building on lessons learned from previous vaccination campaigns and seasonal influenza efforts to prepare and plan for the receipt and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and its implementation across the state.

The recruitment and enrollment of COVID-19 vaccine providers are critical processes with extensive collaboration between the state, local health departments, immunization coalitions and statewide organizations and associations. Allocation decisions will be data driven with an emphasis on equity and on protecting vulnerable populations.

California’s COVID-19 vaccination plan will be implemented in several phases: Pre-vaccine; limited doses available; larger number of doses available; and sufficient supply of doses for entire population.

To accomplish the twin principles of safety and equity, California established the COVID-19 California Governor’s Vaccine Task Force and a COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Working Group with leadership and subject matter expertise. Additionally, California will draw upon the knowledge of many to ensure the following:

  • To ensure the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements, California will form a Scientific Safety Review Work Group comprised of nationally recognized immunization, public health, academic and other subject matter experts. The work group will be charged with staying abreast of vaccine candidate(s) trials, evidence of safety and efficacy, and other information to independently provide recommendations to California leadership and vaccine planning efforts as well as ensure public confidence in vaccine safety, efficacy, and implementation efforts.
  • To ensure the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably, California will create two work groups: a Drafting Guidelines Workgroup charged with developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccine when supplies are limited, and a Community Advisory Vaccine Committee to provide input and feedback to the planning efforts and solve barriers of equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making.
UPDATE as of 2:04 pm on 10/14/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE UPDATE WEEK OF OCTOBER 12-16

Holidays usually mean gathering with friends and extended family, attending parties, hosting dinners, traveling, and celebrating time-honored customs. But some holiday activities promote congregating and mixing of households, which increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Enjoy the holidays safely by following the guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and plan safer, alternative celebrations that don’t spread coronavirus to your family and in our community.

Halloween

Plan lower-risk celebrations, like:

  • Joining online parties for costume contests or pumpkin carving
  • Enjoying activities from your car like drive-through Halloween displays or drive-in movies
  • Having fun at home with scary movies, a candy scavenger hunt, or turning your home into a haunted house
  • Putting on costumes and going on a physically distanced walk with your household
  • Dressing up your home or yard with Halloween decorations

Many traditional Halloween celebrations – such as parties and in-person, door to door trick-or-treating – pose a high risk of spreading COVID-19 and could put your family and loved ones at risk. These activities involve face to face interactions with people from different households, and if an infection is detected among a participant, it will be very difficult to find and notify those who may have been exposed.

For more low-risk Halloween activities, read CDPH’s Guidance for Safer Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Celebrations during COVID-19.

Día de los Muertos

For safety, celebrate Día de los Muertos only with other members of your household, or online.

Some low-risk activities are:

  • Placing altars outside or in a front-facing window so they can be seen from a distance
  • Creating virtual altars online that can be shared through email or social media
  • Creating altar cards that can be sent in the mail
  • Visiting cemeteries only with your household. Wear masks and physically distance from others. Limit time you spend there.

For more low-risk Día de los Muertos activities, read CDPH’s Guidance for Safer Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Celebrations during COVID-19.

UPDATE as of 2:22 pm on 9/29/2020

STATE ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR REOPENING OUTDOOR PLAYGROUNDS AND OTHER OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES.

The California Department of Public Health has issued new guidance authorizing the reopening of outdoor playgrounds and other outdoor recreational facilities.  The state guidance creates the authorization for outdoor facilities to reopen, but the final decision rests with county public health officials.

The state authorization applies to outdoor playgrounds located in parks, campgrounds, and other publicly accessible locations.  Indoor playgrounds or family entertainment centers must remain closed.  In general terms, an outdoor playground is defined as located outdoors, publicly accessible, operated by a government entity and designed primarily to serve nearby residents. Locally issued protocols may further refine the definition and authorized activities.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY REMAINS IN TIER 1

The California Department of Public Health conducted its Blueprint for a Safer Economy weekly assessment and moved nine counties into advanced tiers.  Unfortunately, Los Angeles County does not yet meet the health metrics for changing tiers.  While Los Angeles County’s case positivity rate is at 2.9%, the number of cases per 100,000 population has increased from 7.0 reflected in last week’s assessment to 7.3 this week.  In order for a county to be eligible to move from Tier 1 to Tier 2, the cases per 100,000 population must fall within the 4.0% – 7.0% range.  It will be a minimum of two weeks before Los Angeles County may again be eligible for movement into Tier 2.

This week’s assessment enabled seven counties to move from Tier 1 to Tier 2.  The new Tier 2 counties are Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara and Yolo.  Two counties, Amador and Calaveras, moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3.  While remaining in Tier 1, Ventura County is meeting the metrics for movement into Tier 2, as early as October 6.  No counties were returned to a more restrictive tier.

UPDATE as of 3:32 pm on 9/25/2020

CENSUS 2020 DATA COLLECTION AT THE CENTER OF FEDERAL COURT FIGHT

Yesterday, a federal judge in the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction to extend collection of census data by one month through October 31, 2020.  In July, it was determined that the final date for census data collection would be Wednesday, September 30.  The Trump Administration is appealing the federal court ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Since the last day for CENSUS 2020 data collection is uncertain, Westlake Village residents are encouraged to complete the national head count this weekend, if your household has not already done so.  The national household self-response rate stands at 66.3%, with California slightly above that at 68.8%.  Los Angeles County households have responded at a rate of 64.1%.  Westlake Village residents are doing an outstanding job, as 81.2% of local households have self-responded to the census.

The once-every-ten-years national population count is used to determine federal, state and county redistricting for the ten year period of 2022-2032.  Furthermore, many federal and state funding allocations are made based upon per capita formulas.  If Westlake Village experiences an undercount, tax dollars that should be coming back into our community for vital services and programs will end up going into other communities.  Please taker a few minutes this weekend to go online and complete the simple nine question 2020 Census.

UPDATE as of 2:10 pm on 9/24/2020

CONGRESS STILL CONSIDERING NEW CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE

In May, the House of Representatives passed the $3.4 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and sent the bill to the Senate for consideration.  Senate leadership, concerned with some of the bill’s provisions and price tag, declined to act on the measure.  In July, Senate Republican leadership outlined a $1.2 trillion alternative relief package.  Over the summer representatives of the Trump Administration negotiated with Senate and House Democrat leadership in an effort to reach agreement on a compromise relief package.  House leadership indicated they would lower the cost from $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion, provided Senate leadership increased their commitment to that level.  Senate leadership refused the offer and formal negotiations broke off.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin their fall recess at the end of next week.  Many members are reluctant to leave Washington without a new coronavirus relief package. While overall unemployment continues to fall, many new unemployment claims are being filed, as businesses struggle to stay afloat under restrictive operational guidelines implemented by state and local health authorities.  Many small businesses are still unable to reopen.

The Westlake Village City Council has been proactive in assisting local businesses through such activities as facilitating opportunities for businesses to conduct outdoor operations in conformance with L.A. County health orders and allocating $50,000 to assist local small businesses through the Small Business Relief Fund.  The City Council has also been actively lobbying Members of Congress to enact a new round of coronavirus relief legislation, including providing direct allocations to cities.

It appears that Congress may finally be moving forward as the House Committee on Ways and Means has begun drafting a new relief bill. This latest effort will hopefully become the catalyst for action; providing relief to communities like Westlake Village, which are still feeling the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE as of 3:40 pm on 9/23/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ON TRACK TO MOVE TIERS IN TWO WEEKS

During today’s briefing, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer noted that Los Angeles County is on track to potentially move into a new tier in two weeks.  The County’s case positive rate per 100,000 population has reached 7, which is the top number for Tier 2 eligibility.  The case positivity rate stands at 2.8%, which meets Tier 3 health metrics.  Currently, Los Angeles County is in Tier 1.

In order to move into the next tier, for two consecutive weeks Los Angeles County must consistently demonstrate numbers that place the case rate per 100,000 population within the 4 – 7 range and case positivity within the 5% – 8% or better zones.  If the local numbers stay where they are or improve, the County of Los Angeles could move into Tier 2 as soon as Tuesday, October 6.  However, Dr. Ferrer did highlight that the past few days have shown an uptick in positive cases coming from potential exposures over the Labor Day weekend.  If the increase in positive cases continues, it could delay the movement from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

The State of California announced yesterday that nail salons throughout California may reopen, subject to final approval from local health authorities. Dr. Ferrer stated that the County Health Department is evaluating the California Department of Public Health’s new authorization and will be making a decision shortly relative to nail salons reopening in Los Angeles County.  Therefore, nail salons located within Los Angeles County are not yet allowed to reopen.

UPDATE as of 2:50 pm on 9/22/2020

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCES NINE MORE COUNTIES MOVING INTO NEW TIERS

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted that California’s coronavirus numbers are demonstrating continued improvement.  The statewide 7-day positivity rate is 2.8%, with the 14-day average at 3.1%.  Testing sites, some of which had been temporarily closed due to wildfires, are returning to more normal testing capacity; currently averaging 123,800 daily tests per day.  Hospital rates throughout California have decreased to 23% over the past 14-days; with intensive care unit admissions decreasing by 25%.

The California Department of Public Health’s weekly reassessment of counties has resulted in nine counties being moved into new tiers.  The counties of Alameda, Riverside, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo and Solano have moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2.  El Dorado, Lassen and Nevada counties have advanced from Tier 2 to Tier 3.  Los Angeles County and Ventura County remain in Tier 1.

However, Los Angeles County is now meeting the eligibility thresholds for Tier 2.  If the COVID-19 case numbers remain within that zone for two consecutive weeks, L.A. County should be able to move to the next level in early October.  State and county health officials are closely tracking the county’s positive case numbers as a result of Labor Day weekend, which are showing an increase.  Hopefully, the numbers will remain low and enable Los Angeles County to move forward into Tier 2 early next month.

UPDATE as of 2:22 pm on 9/21/2020

GOVERNOR’S EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT STRIKE TEAM ISSUES REPORT CONTAINING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS FILING AND PROCESSING

On Saturday, the Governor’s Strike Team issued their report, which contains approximately

70 recommendations for improvements to the Employment Development Department’s unemployment claims process.  The Strike Team was formed in late July in response to ongoing complaints that California’s unemployment claims process is antiquated, inefficient and unable to properly respond to the volume of unemployment insurance claim filings brought about by COVID-19.

Earlier today, Governor Newsom highlighted three critical recommendations that are already in the implementation phase.  First, new automatic identification verification software is being installed.  Second, experienced EDD staff members are being redeployed to process backlogged unemployment claims; immediately working through the oldest and most complex claims. Third, new EDD staff will be focusing on more timely responses to regular mail and e-mails, while outreaching to claimants to obtain key information, leading to expedited processing of their unemployment claims.  The short-term goals include reducing the backlog and making online access easier.  Long-term goals include minimizing delays in claims processing and moving more unemployment claimants into the automated processing system.

The recommendations incorporate a two week “reset” that will cause short-term delays in the processing of first time claims with EDD.  Overall, the initial delays for new claimants will give way to a more efficient process.  Additional information related to unemployment claims may be obtained at edd.ca.gov.

UPDATE as of 3:36 pm on 9/18/2020

GOVERNOR SIGNS COVID-19 RELATED BILLS AFFECTING WORKERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newson signed two bills into law that impact employers and employees related to COVID-19 exposure.

The first bill, Senate Bill 1159, creates a rebuttable presumption under workers’ compensation that if a worker contracts COVID-19, the exposure to the disease happened while on the job.  This creates an eligibility to file a workers’ compensation claim. The legislation is an extension of an Executive Order issued by Governor Newsom in May, which expired in early July.  SB 1159 is an urgency bill, meaning that it became effective upon the Governor’s signature-into-law.

The second bill, Assembly Bill 685, requires employers to notify workers when someone at their worksite tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19.  Once a worker is identified as case positive and notifies their employer of their confirmed case status, the employer has one business day to notify in writing other employees who may have been exposed to the case positive worker.  The new law also requires employers with three or more cases of COVID-19 at a worksite to notify the local health department.  This does not represent a change in current practices in Los Angeles County, as the Department Public Health already requires employers to provide this information.  The provisions of Assembly Bill 685 will become effective on January 1, 2021.  The provisions of this measure are repealed two years after that on January 1, 2023.

UPDATE as of 4:21 pm on 9/17/2020

COVID-19 VACCINE DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES ACROSS THE GLOBE

Development of a COVID-19 vaccine continues around the world, with over 150 vaccines in various phases of the process.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating the global effort.  WHO’s goal is development of approximately 2 billion doses for international distribution by the end of 2021.  In the United States, Operation Warp Speed is looking to secure development of a vaccine by the end of 2020 or early 2021.  Over 300 million doses are the forecast need in the United States.  There are presently eight vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials, which involves thousands of individuals around the world to ensure safety and efficacy.

Yesterday, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield provided written and verbal testimony before the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.  During his verbal presentation, the CDC Director noted that a vaccine is anticipated to be approved by the end of the year.  Administration of one or more successful vaccines in the United States will likely begin in early 2021, with widespread distribution occurring in the spring-summer 2021 time fame.

A distribution protocols are being developed to ensure the vaccines rollout reaches frontline health responders, vulnerable populations and general public in a systematic and thoughtful approach that successfully battles continued disease exposure and spread.  Dr. Redfield noted that it typically takes 6-9 months after vaccine approval by government regulators to reach broad-based distribution.

During his testimony, Dr. Redfield reminded members of the Senate committee and the general public that wearing a face covering is one of the most effective ways of preventing spread of COVID-19.  

UPDATE as of 3:13 pm on 9/16/2020

CALIFORNIA’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS IMPROVING

During today’s briefing, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted that the statewide coronavirus case rate is trending favorably.  Over the past two weeks, the case positivity rate is averaging 3.6%.  While some testing centers have temporarily closed due to various wildfires throughout California, approximately 100,000 daily tests continue to occur.

Yesterday, the counties of Inyo, Marin and Tehama were moved from Tier 1, the most restrictive level, to Tier 2.  Currently, 30 counties remain in Tier 1, 17 counties in Tier 2, 9 counties in Tier 3 and 2 counties in the least restrictive Tier 4.  State officials believe that more counties will move into less restrictive tiers next Tuesday, when the next weekly assessment occurs by the California Department of Health.  Concurrently, San Diego County, which is in Tier 2, is trending numbers that may push it back into the more restrictive Tier 1.

Los Angeles County continues to remain in Tier 1.  Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer stated this afternoon that she anticipates the state’s most populous county may move to the next tier “sometime in October.”  This assumes that current case numbers continue their uninterrupted decline.  Public health officials remain concerned that there may have been higher levels of case exposures during the Labor Day three-day weekend.  It will take another 7 to 10 days to fully understand exposure levels from the holiday weekend.

As of today, the County’s 7-day positivity rate is 3.2%, representing a significant reduction from 5% during the mid-August time frame.  The second metric of cases per 100,000 population, currently at 8.1, is still higher than the under 7 case rate necessary to move into a less restrictive tier.  However, the current rate represents a significant decline from a higher case rate, just a few short weeks ago.

Health officials remind people to continue practicing appropriate social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing or sanitizing hands often, as the best methods for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

UPDATE as of 2:03 pm on 9/15/2020

CENSUS DATA COLLECTION HEADS INTO FINAL TWO WEEKS

The United States Census Bureau is heading into the last two weeks of data collection.  Two weeks from tomorrow, September 30, 2020, data collection activities for the once-every-ten-years population count are scheduled to conclude.  California households have responded at the rate of 68.3%, with Los Angeles County slightly below that number at 63.6%.  Westlake Village residents have far exceeded state and county totals, with 80.9% of Westlake Village households responding.

A high response rate is critical to the success of the Census.  State and local officials remain concerned that an undercount will cost California in terms of congressional representation and federal funding allocations over the next decade.  The 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of representatives for each state in the House of Representatives during the period of 2022-2032.  Furthermore, population data is often used by the federal and state governments to allocate funding to local governments.  An undercount in Westlake Village may result in our community not receiving its fair share of tax dollars.  As the community continues to meet the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate federal and state funding will be essential in our recovery.

Please don’t let other states, counties and cities end up with your tax dollars that rightfully should be coming to Westlake Village.  Please complete the 2020 Census today.  It’s only nine questions. Please go online to 2020Census.gov.

UPDATE as of 3:20 pm on 9/14/2020

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REVISES PAID LEAVE REGULATIONS UNDER THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RELIEF ACT

As a result of a recent federal court ruling, the United States Department of Labor has issued clarifying regulations to paid leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act.  The revisions clarify both employee and employer rights and responsibilities under the federal leave act, which grew out of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the announcement, the Department of Labor outlines the following revisions:

  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Revise the definition of “health care provider” to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, prevention services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medial leave to their employers.

As more small businesses, defined as less than 500 employees, reopen and return to more traditional staffing levels and workers’ children return to school, family leave will become a larger issue for both employers and employees.

UPDATE as of 3:00 pm on 9/11/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ESTABLISHES COVID-19 SAFETY COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health has established the Safety Compliance Certificate Program for business owners and employees.  The voluntary program provides free online training regarding public health orders and compliance requirements.  Upon successful completion of the training, business owners will receive a certificate, which can be displayed at their business to inform patrons of the business’ commitment to compliance with government directives and worker and customer safety.

As businesses reopen, the County has experienced an increase in workplace COVID-19 outbreaks.  The Public Health Department has been inspecting businesses to ensure compliance with health orders and sector guidance.   For example, over Labor Day weekend, health inspectors visited 331 businesses; including restaurants, markets, hair salons, barbershops, hotels and gyms.  While overall compliance was good, inspectors did note some general trends around the county.  Hotels and gyms need to focus on ensuring that patrons are wearing face coverings.  Restaurants need to be mindful of physical distancing of tables.

While public health inspectors may issue citations, their primary focus is to educate business owners and employees on how best to implement health sector guidelines at their individual workplaces.  In an effort to enhance overall compliance, the new COVID-19 Safety Compliance Certificate Program is being launched.

UPDATE as of 3:17 pm on 9/10/2020

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR SAFELY CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued guidance outlining safe ways to celebrate Halloween.  Unfortunately, due to the continued presence of COVID-19, some traditional ways of celebrating the holiday are not permitted under health officer orders.  Carnivals, festivals and go-through haunted houses are not permitted.  Traditional door-to-door trick or treating or trunk or treating activities are not recommended, although they are not prohibited.  Health officials encourage celebrating via car parades and enjoying outdoor decorations at a safe distance among the recommenced activities. 

Los Angeles County residents have been making steady progress toward lowering the coronavirus positivity case rate and placing our region on a favorable trajectory; which will lead to easing restrictions and facilitating community recovery.  Event though we may not be able to celebrate Halloween as in past years, there exists a great opportunity to start some new, fun and safe holiday traditions.

UPDATE as of 8:57 am on 9/9/2020

BIOPHARMA LEADERS ISSUE STATEMENT REAFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO FOLLOWING SOUND PRACTICES IN VACCINE DEVELOPMENT

Yesterday, leaders of nine pharmaceutical companies issued an unprecedented joint statement outlining their commitment to following ethical, sound and proven practices in the development of one or more potential coronavirus vaccines.  In recent weeks, coronavirus vaccine development has moved into the clinical trial phase for soundness and efficacy testing.  As the international effort to bring vaccine options to market has accelerated, it is alleged that shortcuts may be taken in development and distribution of preventative treatments.

The pharmaceutical leaders pledged that development of vaccines by their companies will be based upon sound science and follow appropriate and proven vaccine development and distribution protocols.  The collective goal of all the Pharma companies is to develop one or more safe and effective vaccines that enjoy the trust of the general public.

UPDATE as of 8:43 am on 9/8/2020

EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT BEGINS PAYING SUPPLEMENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS THROUGH LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Beginning yesterday, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) started issuing checks containing supplemental unemployment funds authorized by Presidential Memorandum.  The Lost Wages Assistance Program provides $300 per week supplemental unemployment assistance for individuals experiencing job loss or reduced hours due to COVID-19.  The new program is retroactive to July 26, 2020.  Among the eligibility criteria is meeting a $100 minimum in state approved unemployment benefits.  This is a new requirement that did not apply during the previous federal supplemental program under the CARES Act.  Please check with EDD regarding eligibility and other considerations under the new program.

UPDATE as of 11:23 am on 9/4/2020

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH URGES CAUTION OVER LABOR DAY HOLIDAY

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reminding county residents of the importance of avoiding traditional holiday gatherings, as summer comes to a close.  With record breaking hot temperatures predicted over the next few days, coupled with a holiday where family and friends traditionally gather for backyard BBQs or at the beach, health officials are emphasizing the importance of staying safe and taking precautions to limit spread of coronavirus.  Los Angeles County has been experiencing a marked decline in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks and health officials want to avoid the post-holiday weekend case spiking that occurred after the Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday weekends. 

The Department of Public Health has issued Top 10 Tips for a Safe Labor Day Weekend that recommends only hanging out with people in your household, avoiding large gatherings, appropriate physical distancing and wearing a face covering.  The good news is that beaches will be open this holiday weekend.  However, with the predicted heat, large crowds are expected, which can make crowd avoidance and physical distancing a challenge.  Beachgoers are required to wear masks while not in the water or eating.  Additionally, some beach communities have enacted mandatory face covering requirements that include fines for individuals not wearing masks, as required by local ordinances.  Before heading out this weekend, please be sure to check with the community in which the beach you are visiting is located.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OPENS EMERGENCY COOLING CENTERS BEGINNING TODAY

Beginning today, the County of Los Angeles will be opening cooling centers around the region.  More information regarding the hours of operation and locations of cooling centers may be found here.  The two closest centers to Westlake Village in L.A. County are located at the Canoga Park Senior Center, 7326 Jordan Avenue, Canoga Park and the Topanga Library, 122 N. Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga.  The County of Ventura is also operating cooling centers with the closest location at the Oak Park Library, 897 N. Kanan Road, Oak Park.  Please call 818-889-2239 for hours of operation and other important information regarding the center’s operations.   The ready.lacounty.gov website also contains excellent information regarding ways to stay cool and safe during the anticipated heatwave.

UPDATE as of 2:49 pm on 9/3/2020

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ALLOWS HAIR SALONS AND BARBERSHOPS TO REOPEN INDOOR ACTIVITIES AT 25% CAPACITY

Yesterday afternoon, the County of Los Angeles announced that hair salons and barbershops may reopen for indoor activities at 25% capacity beginning today.  Shop owners are reminded that they may not reopen until they are in full compliance with operational protocols established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis recommends that to the extent possible, hair salons and barbershops retain outdoor activities to enable the limited indoor capacity to accommodate customers needing services not previously authorized for outdoors.

The County also announced that beginning September 14, schools may offer on-campus services to small, stable cohorts of students needing special learning support.  These students will include special needs students with Individualized Education Plans and English Learners.  Otherwise, schools will remain closed for on-site learning for the general education population.

Dr. Davis highlighted that Los Angeles County is continuing to experience a decline in both the 7-day case average and positivity rate.  As of today, the case average rate has fallen to 10 per 100,000 population, which is still in excess of the Tier 1 threshold of 7 cases per 100,000 population.  The regional 7-day positivity rate is 4.7%.  Once both metrics fall into or below the Tier 2 range of 4-7 new cases per 100,000 population and 5%-8% positivity rate for a consecutive 14-day period, the County will be eligible to move into the next less restrictive tier, leading to additional businesses reopening and easing of restrictions.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Pro Tem Hilda Solis urged county residents to be mindful of the favorable progress achieved to date and not let disregard of health protocols over the upcoming holiday weekend sabotage the road to recovery, as was the case following the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.  Residents are urged to avoid BBQs and other gatherings that traditionally bring people together with those outside of their households.  With hot weather forecast for the weekend, the beaches will be crowded, making social distancing and mask wearing a challenge. 

UPDATE as of 10:04 am on 9/1/2020

GOVERNOR SIGNS LEGISLATION EXTENDING EVICTION AND FORECLOSURE PROTECTIONS

Late yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 3088 into law, extending protections for renters against eviction and protecting homeowners from foreclosure, as a result of economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  The new statute also provides a pathway for landlords to recover unpaid rents.  The bill became law last night, immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

The new law provides that no tenant may be evicted before February 1, 2021, due to rent owed resulting from a COVID-19 related hardship accrued during the period of March 4 – August 31, 2020.  The legislation specifies that tenants must provide a declaration of hardship within specified timelines and meet other requirements, in order to be eligible for eviction protections.  Going forward from September 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, tenants will be required to meet specified conditions, including payment of at least 25% of rent amounts to avoid eviction.  Landlords may pursue evictions under any lawful basis, other than non-payment of rents or other charges.

Tenants are still responsible for paying all unpaid amounts, but those accrued unpaid rents may not form the basis for evictions.  Beginning on March 1, 2021, landlords may begin receiving unpaid rent through small claims court determinations.  The legislation expands the jurisdiction of small claims court on a temporary basis to accommodate landlord filings, including those in excess of the traditional small claims court limit of $2500. Landlords moving forward with evictions at that time will be required to meet very stringent filing and process requirements.

The legislation also makes provision for anti-foreclosure protections in the Homeowner Bill of Rights.

AB 3088 authorizes existing local ordinances to remain in place.  However, local ordinances that expire during the period of August 19, 2020 – January 31, 2021 may not be renewed, modified or new ordinance adopted.  Furthermore, the state measure prohibits local ordinances from being less restrictive than the new state law.  The City of Westlake Village does have a residential and commercial eviction moratorium in place.  City staff is currently reviewing the local ordinance to ensure conformity with new state requirements.

UPDATE as of 3:04 pm on 8/31/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY NOT YET READY TO AUTHORIZE REOPENING OF HAIR SALONS AND BARBERSHOPS FOR INDOOR ACTIVITIES

Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy for tracking counties’ progress toward reopening.  The new four-tier, color-coded system replaces the County Monitoring List.  Concurrent with the announcement of a new tracking system, the chief executive announced that beginning today hair salons and barbershops, as well as indoor malls, could resume indoor operations, subject to the approval of local health officers.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the state establishes industry guidance and protocols for reopening, subject to implementation at the local level.  While local public health officers may not impose less restrictive measures than the California Department of Public Health, they may enact stricter directives based upon local conditions.  Currently, all Southern California counties, with the exception of the County of Los Angeles, have authorized hair salons, barbershops, and indoor malls to resume indoor activities in conformance with state issued guidelines.

Earlier today, Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis stated that the 7-day case positivity rate in Los Angeles County remains at 13.1 per 100,000 population.  This is almost twice the level of 7 cases per 100,000 population, which serves as the threshold for placement in Tier 1.  The good news is that the county’s 7-day positivity rate is 5%, which places that metric within Tier 2.

As the case rate remains high, the Public Health Officer is not yet authorizing hair salons and barbershops to reopen.  Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer will be meeting with the Board of Supervisors tomorrow morning to discuss how best to move forward.  Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger indicated that some form of announcement would be made tomorrow afternoon.

UPDATE as of 1:50 pm on 8/28/2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN COUNTY MONITORING CRITERIA

During today’s media briefing, Governor Newsom unveiled a new coronavirus four-tier, color monitoring system for counties, which will replace the current County Monitoring List.  While there were generally no changes in most industry sector guidance, hair salons and barbershops are being permitted to conduct indoor activities.

Beginning today, the COVID-19.ca.gov website has been refreshed to incorporate the new four-tier county ranking system.  Counties that are currently on the County Monitoring List will start out in the new system’s Tier 1 (Purple), which allows for only outdoor activities with modifications.  Tier 2 (Red) allows for indoor activities utilizing a 25% maximum capacity.  Tier 3 (Orange) allows for indoor activities utilizing a 50% maximum capacity.  Tier 4 (Yellow) allows for indoor activities without capacity restrictions.  Each tier will continue to require wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand washing or other hygiene directives. 

Under the new reopening framework, counties will remain on each tier for a minimum of three weeks.   In order to move to the next less restrictive tier, a county will need to demonstrate that it meets the goals of the less restrictive tier for a minimum of two weeks, before being formally moved into that space.  The primary metric to be utilized in determining movement from higher tiers to lower tiers will be new cases per 100,000 population; Purple: more than 7 cases per 100,000 population or higher than an 8% positivity rate; Red: 4 to 7 new cases per 100,000 population or 5% – 8% positivity rate; Orange: 1 to 3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 population or 2% – 4.9% positivity rate; and, Yellow: Less than 1 daily new case per 100,000 population or less than 2% positivity rate.

Currently, 38 California counties are classified as purple, 9 are red, 8 are orange and 3 are yellow.  Orange County, which recently had been moved off the State’s County Monitoring List is now grouped within the more restrictive purple tier.  San Diego County is the only Southern California County to not be listed within Tier 1.  Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties have been placed within the Tier 1 Purple designation.

A new feature on the refreshed COVID-19.ca.gov website is the ability to search by county and activity to learn specific restrictions and requirements.  While counties may not issue public health orders less restrictive than the State of California, local health officers are authorized to enact more restrictive guidance or protocols reflecting local conditions.  While it is anticipated that there will be questions as the new framework rolls out, Governor Newsom indicated that state health officials will be making minor modifications over the next few weeks to quickly resolve unanticipated issues and questions regarding the new framework.

LA REGIONAL COVID-19 RECOVERY FUND TO OPEN NEXT ROUND OF GRANT FUNDING NEXT WEEK

The LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund currently includes $3.2 million in grants which will be made available to small businesses, non-profits and micro-enterprises impacted by the coronavirus.  Beginning on Monday, August 31, 2020, the grant program will begin taking the fourth round of applications.  The program is funded by the County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles and the Union Bank Foundation.  Eligible applicants may receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.  More information may be obtained by calling 833-238-4450 or by visiting LACOVIDFund.org.

CURRENT APPLICATION PERIOD FOR COVID-19 RENT RELIEF CLOSES ON MONDAY

The Los Angeles County COVID-19 Rent Relief program application period will be closing on Monday, August 31, 2020.  The program provides qualified renters with assistance.  For information regarding eligibility and income qualifications, please visit https://wwwa.lacda.org/programs/rent-relief.

UPDATE as of 2:30 pm on 8/27/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH NOT YET READY TO CONSIDER SCHOOL WAIVERS

While coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County are on the decline, public health officials are not yet ready to reopen the school waiver process.  State guidelines require that in order for Los Angeles County to be removed from the State of California’s County Monitoring List, the 14-day case rate per 100,000 population must stay below 100 for three consecutive days.  Currently, the County’s 14-day case rate is 198.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer acknowledged that while a key component of recovery is getting students back into classrooms, additional work must be done by public health and education officials to ensure sustainable student and school site staff safety.   Dr. Ferrer stated, “We will be closely reviewing the new guidance from the state and will be working with the Board to ensure that our Health Officer Orders are adjusted to ensure that when schools open for any new activities, they do so with as much safety as possible for all children and staff. Given the need to review the implications of the new state guidance on school re-opening plans, at this point, we are not ready to open up our waiver process for schools.”

Please continue to stay in touch with your local school officials for the most up-to-date information regarding your child’s education.

UPDATE as of 1:45 pm on 8/26/2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR INCREASED TESTING

As counties are moving toward removal from the State of California’s County Monitoring List and businesses begin re-opening throughout the state, a critical component for a safe and sustainable recovery is access to increased testing.  Governor Newsom announced during today’s briefing that the State of California has entered into a partnership with PerkinElmer to substantially enhance testing availability throughout the state.

Currently, the number of coronavirus tests being conducted statewide is averaging 100,000 per day.  The timeframe to receive test results is averaging seven days.  Under the new contract, which will be fully operational within the next eight to ten weeks, an additional 150,000 tests per day will be available, with guaranteed results within 24 – 48 hours.  The increased testing, coupled with rapid turnaround times, will enable contact tracing to be far more effective and also limit unwitting spread of the deadly disease by those who are positive, but have not yet received their test results to be informed of their status. 

The contractual partnership between the State of California and PerkinElmer will also significantly drive down testing costs.  The average COVID-19 test is costing $150 – $200.  Under the new contract, tests will cost $47.99 for the first 40,000 tests; with a price reduction to $37.78 for 100,000 tests; followed by another price cut to $30.78 occurring at 150,000 tests.  The contract also contains a best price guarantee clause should there be a significant change in overall testing pricing dynamics during the coming months.

The testing protocols will also allow for flu tests to be administered.  As flu season is approaching and with early symptoms of COVID-19 and flu mirroring each other, it is critical that health care providers and patients know which disease they may have contracted.  The Governor is encouraging Californians to get a flu shot this year.

As the mechanics of the ground breaking contractual partnership between the State of California and PerkinElmer moves forward, additional information will become available.

NEW SECTIONAL GUIDELINES TO BE ISSUED BY STATE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 28

Governor Gavin Newsom provided a preview of upcoming state actions relative to COVID-19 by stating today that new sectional guidelines and “other announcements” will be issued on Friday, August 28.  As more counties come off the County Monitoring List, new state guidance for a sustainable recovery will be issued.  Currently, 35 of California’s 58 counties are on the list.  The good news is that almost every day, one or two counties are taken off the list.  Amador and Glenn counties in Northern California are the most recent to drop-off the list.

The 14-day statewide positivity rate stands at 6.1%, with the 7-day rate at 5.8%.  Supervisor Hilda Solis reports that Los Angeles County’s rate has dropped from 9% in July to 5% this week.  Additionally, the case rate per 100,000 population has dropped below 200; now standing at 197.  Los Angeles County continues trending in the right direction.

UPDATE as of 11:20 am on 8/25/2020

STATE RECEIVES APPROVAL TO PARTICIPATE IN FEDERAL LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The State of California has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program.  This new program provides supplemental unemployment benefits to those provided by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).   The LWA program authorizes an additional $300 per week in benefits to eligible claimants receiving a minimum of $100 in state benefits.

This is one-half of the supplemental unemployment benefits previously paid under provisions, which expired on July 25, 2020, of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Additionally, under the CARES Act, eligible claimants received the supplemental federal money as long as they were eligible for at least $1 in state unemployment benefits.  Therefore, some beneficiaries under the expired program will no longer be eligible under the new program, which was enacted by Presidential directive issued on August 8, 2020.

To determine eligibility and when the new funding will be available, please contact the EDD, as they can confirm your status to receive both state unemployment and federal supplemental benefits, based upon your unique circumstances. 

UPDATE as of 2:51 pm on 8/24/2020

COVID-19 CASES TRENDING DOWN

During today’s regular briefing, Governor Gavin Newsom stated that the most recent statewide 14-day COVID-19 case metrics are improving.  California’s case positivity rate is 5.6% over the past seven days, with a 6.5% fourteen day average.  The number of tests administered has dipped to approximately 102,000 per day.  The reduction in tests reflects the impact of fires throughout California, resulting in temporary closures of some testing centers and labs.  Hospitalizations have decreased over 20% during the past fourteen days, with intensive care unit admissions falling 19% over the same period.

In Los Angeles County, the recovery metrics are also trending favorably.  In early June, Los Angeles County coronavirus cases were approximately 1300 per day.  By late July, reported cases were in the 3200 daily average range; but with the implementation of business closures and operating modifications over the past month, the case load has returned to numbers last seen in early June.  The County’s positivity rate is currently in the 5-6% range.  This is in sharp contrast to the 8-9% positivity range experienced in late July.  Hospitalizations have declined significantly over the past month from a daily average high of 2000 to the 1300 range within the past few days.

While Los Angeles County has not yet met the required health metrics for removal from the State of California’s county monitoring list, local officials are beginning to look toward that happening.  Within the past week, San Diego County and Orange County have been removed from the monitoring list, with 35 California counties remaining on the list.

As difficult as it has been at times over the past six weeks, the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19 is being achieved.  While the recovery metrics are looking favorable, Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis notes that we must remain vigilant.  Businesses must continue to adhere to state and local health directives.  While identified as guidance and protocols, these health orders are enforceable requirements which must be continuously met.

Westlake Village residents are embracing the “One Small Ask…Please Wear A Mask” campaign.   Our community’s COVID-19 cases are very low compared with the rest of Los Angeles County because our residents and businesses have been vigilant in taking the steps necessary to slow spread of this deadly disease.  By continuing to work together, we are doing our part in the fight against COVID-19 and in the journey to re-opening and recovery.

UPDATE as of 12:57 pm on 8/21/2020

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FALLS WHILE STATE APPLIES TO PARTICIPATE IN FEDERAL LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Employment Development Department (EDD) reports that California’s unemployment rate for July has fallen to 13.3%.  This represents a decline from the state unemployment high rate of 16.4% in April and June’s report of 14.9%.  The Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate stands at 18.2%, while Ventura County is at 11.3%.

The State of California has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to participate in the $300 per week supplemental payment program for eligible unemployed Californians.  Under the new federal supplemental program, individuals who are entitled to receive at least $100 in state unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive the $300 weekly supplemental amount. Additional information regarding unemployment eligibility and benefits may be found at edd.ca.gov.

UPDATE as of 2:57 pm on 8/20/2020

COUNTY RESIDENTS ASKED TO BE MINDFUL OF WEST NILE VIRUS

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health reminds all County residents to take precautions to limit the spread of West Nile virus.  The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and is most prevalent during periods of warm weather.  With the warm weather months upon us and particularly during this week’s heat wave when we are watering more than normal, please check to be sure there is no standing water in your yard, which can serve as a breeding area for mosquitoes.  Additional information about West Nile virus may be found at

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/westnile/.

LA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH PODCASTS AVAILABLE

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has made their regular media briefings, as well as additional topical information from health experts, available as podcasts.  The regular briefings contain daily coronavirus case counts and hospitalization rates, as well as breakdowns by age, income and racial demographics.  Health experts also speak to current issues, such as testing rates and availability and progress toward meeting the health metrics necessary for Los Angeles County to be removed from the state’s monitoring list.  Check it out at https://lapublichealth.podbean.com.

UPDATE as of 11:38 am on 8/18/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY COVID-19 CASES TRENDING DOWNWARD — COUNTY STILL REMAINS ON STATE’S MONITORING LIST

County of Los Angeles public health officials are reporting that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units are in decline.  As of yesterday, LA County reports 221,950 coronavirus cases, with 24 cases occurring in Westlake Village.  While local officials have not yet received backlog case data from the California Department of Public Health, local officials are pleased with the directional trend throughout Los Angeles County.

The State of California is currently monitoring 42 out of 58 counties.  Yesterday, Santa Cruz County was removed from the monitoring list and San Diego County is anticipated to be removed as early as today.  Los Angeles County’s health metrics will likely keep it on the monitoring list in the foreseeable future.  However, the trends are looking favorable.

Business owners and business operators are reminded that they must continue to follow health officials’ directives and take the necessary steps that protect workers and customers. Businesses must also immediately alert the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health when there are three or more cases at a worksite. Directives and checklists for all businesses to follow are posted at: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/.

Residents are also encouraged to report non-compliance and dangerous conditions at businesses. Tips may be submitted anonymously at 888-700-9995.

Individuals are reminded to continue wearing face coverings, maintain physical distancing and engage in frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers as the best methods for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES CLOSING EARLY TO SAVE ENERGY

The Department of Motor Vehicles is closing all offices throughout the State of California at 3:00 pm today and tomorrow in an effort to conserve energy during the current statewide heatwave.  Individuals without appointments will be admitted to DMV offices until 2:30 p.m. both days.  Individuals with appointments during the 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm frame will be contacted by the DMV to schedule a new appointment date and time. 

UPDATE as of 9:27 am on 8/17/2020

LA COUNTY COVID-19 RENT RELIEF TO LAUNCH AUGUST 17, 2020

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents Westlake Village on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, is sharing the following information regarding a new rent relief program.   The program is set to launch today, Monday, August 17, 2020, and will remain open for a two-week period, closing on August 31, 2020.  The program’s goal is to assist between 8,000 to over 9,000 households with up to $10,000.

The program is open to renters in Los Angeles County; however the identified target areas are prioritized for 50% of the available funding. Renters not listed in targeted areas may still apply if they meet the eligibility requirements, with the exception of residents living in the City of Los Angeles, as the City also received its own allocation of CARES Act funds and has its own programs for Los Angeles residents.

Link to learn more and apply: https://wwwa.lacda.org/programs/rent-relief.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCES THAT UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES MUST LIMIT ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced last week that universities and colleges will be limited in their ability to conduct on-campus activities.   This action follows recent issuance of interim Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education by the California Department of Public Health

State guidelines allow public health officials in counties on the state’s watch list to implement more restrictive measures.  Los Angeles County continues to be one of 38 counties on the state’s monitoring list.  Therefore, County officials are implementing additional protocols related to institutions of higher education.

Higher education institutions will need to conduct distance learning during the upcoming first quarter or first semester.  On-campus activities will be limited to essential basic operations or to conduct lab work or other hands-on practicums that cannot be accomplished via distance learning.  Collegiate athletics must conform to state guidelines and directives issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  On-campus student housing will be severely  restricted to those students who do not have alternate housing available.

UPDATE as of 12:51 pm on 8/13/2020

SUPERVISOR KUEHL CHEERS ON WESTLAKE VILLAGE HOUSEHOLDS FOR EXCELLENT CENSUS RESPONSE NUMBERS

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recently highlighted the Census 2020 response rates for the eleven communities within her supervisorial district.  Westlake Village is in first place with a 77% household response rate, followed by Agoura Hills (76%), Calabasas (68%), Hidden Hills (63%), Santa Monica (61%), San Fernando (59%), West Hollywood (57%), portions of Los Angeles (55%), Santa Monica Mountains (54%), Beverly Hills (53%) and Malibu (36%).

In the latest edition of her online newsletter, Kuehl Happenings, Supervisor Kuehl noted the importance of every household participating in the 2020 Census.  She writes:

This is a critical time!  We need you to step up for your community – and you don’t even need to leave your home.  Some of our cities have excellent response rates (keep it up Westlake Village!), but there are still many Third District residents that need to be counted for the 2020 Census.  I’m looking at you, Malibu!

Every single person counted makes a difference.  A full count in our county means better schools, roads, parks, and health care for your neighborhood.   Visit my2020census.gov to be counted TODAY!

Participation in the 2020 Census is critical.  Redistricting will take place next year, which will determine the legislative districts at the county, state and federal levels for the next decade.  Furthermore, cities receive certain federal and state funding allocations based upon population, as determined by the decennial Census.  For every uncounted person in Westlake Village, some of our community’s tax dollars will end up going to other communities; rather than being returned to Westlake Village for services and programs benefiting our residents.

Thank you Westlake Village residents for completing the Census and making our community first!  Thank you Supervisor Kuehl for the recognition!  For those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to complete your Census 2020 questionnaire, please take Supervisor Kuehl’s advice and complete the 2020 Census online today.

UPDATE as of 1:44 pm on 8/11/2020

GOVERNOR SAYS STATE UNABLE TO MEET 25% SHARE OF SUPPLEMENTAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT REQUIRED UNDER PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ORDER

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the State of California does not have the $700 million weekly that will be necessary for meeting the 25% state participation requirement for unemployment benefits outlined under the President’s Executive Order issued over the weekend.  The Executive Order provides for a $400 per week supplemental unemployment benefit; with the federal government being responsible for 75% of the amount and states paying 25% of the total.  The previous federal supplemental unemployment benefit of $600 per week, which was authorized under the CARES Act, expired on July 25.

The new federal directive is based upon the premise that states still have unused CARES Act funding or other revenues available to provide their share.  The Governor indicated that while California received approximately $15 billion in CARES Act funding, over 75% of that money has been allocated and distributed.  Additionally, the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) overburdened computer system will need to be modified to accommodate a split-source payout.  That could result in a delay of several weeks in processing benefit payments.

It is being reported that the Department of Labor has issued guidance to allow for existing state payments to be counted toward the $100 match requirement.  This means the actual supplemental payment would be $300 per week.  It also raises the issue of whether those who are eligible to receive less than $100 per week from the state would be eligible to receive the $300 federal supplemental unemployment benefit. 

It appears that additional details regarding implementation of the new program still need to be clarified.  In the meantime, experts recommend that while the details of the program authorized under the Executive Order are worked out, if you need unemployment benefits, file a claim with the Employment Development Department.  EDD will determine eligibility and the appropriate level of benefits authorized under existing law.

UPDATE as of 9:45 am on 8/10/2020

FEDERAL RECOVERY BILL NEGOTIATIONS AT AN IMPASSE; PRESIDENT ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDERS

During the past three weeks, Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration have been negotiating provisions to be included within the next federal recovery bill.  In May, the House of Representatives passed the $3.4 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and sent the bill to the Senate for consideration.  In the intervening three months, the Senate has not voted on the HEROES Act proposal.

In late July, Senate Republicans introduced a package of bills, known collectively as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act.  The HEALS Act is valued at approximately $1.1 trillion.  The $2.3 trillion gap between the two proposals became the focal point of negotiations between Congressional Democrats and Republicans and the Trump Administration.  Unfortunately, after almost three weeks of intense negotiations, final compromise has yet to be reached.

On Saturday, President Trump, citing frustration with the lack of progress in the negotiations, issued executive orders related to renter and homeowner assistance and providing for continuation of federal unemployment supplemental benefits. The renters and homeowners assistance order states that it is the policy of the federal government to minimize evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It further directs the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid evictions and foreclosures. The broad language provides discretion and flexibility to the Secretary for implementation of a variety of programs, rather than specific program directives.

Another executive order provides for a $400 per week supplemental unemployment benefit.  This represents a $200 per week reduction from the federal supplemental benefit of $600 per week provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that passed in March.  The federal supplemental unemployment benefit allocation expired at the end of July.  The new $400 benefit is predicated on states providing 25% of the amount or $100 per week per recipient.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have denounced the executive orders as non-comprehensive and urged a return to the bargaining table.  State and local government leaders continue to be frustrated that long promised relief has been stalled.  Elected officials across the nation have indicated that states, already reeling from revenue losses and spending significant amounts of money providing coronavirus responses, do not have the funds to meet the 25% state share for supplemental unemployment benefits.  Additional allocations to state and local governments has been a contentious issue during the latest recovery act negotiations. 

At this point, it is unclear how negotiations for a recovery bill will move forward.  Furthermore, it is widely anticipated that there will be legal challenges to the executive orders. In either scenario, financial relief to governments, businesses and individuals will be further delayed.

UPDATE as of 2:55 pm on 8/7/2020

EDD WARNS INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES ABOUT RISING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) has become aware of an increase in unemployment benefits related fraud being perpetrated against individuals and businesses.  California is one of many states in which fraudulent activity is growing and as such, the state is joining with the federal government to investigate potentially fraudulent activity.

For example, last month, EDD sent out approximately 200,000 more notices requiring additional documentation than the same time last year.  Unfortunately, if identify thieves have enough personally identifiable information, it can cause a fraudulent claim to be processed. Individuals are warned to be on the lookout for the following, which can indicate potential fraudulent activity:

  • You have not applied for benefits, but receive unemployment insurance documents.
  • People coming to your home and claiming to be EDD representatives.  EDD does not send its staff to people’s homes.
  • Receiving unsolicited inquires related to unemployment benefits.  EDD will contact claimants directly about any outstanding need for additional information.
  •  Individuals or entities requiring payment of a fee for filing or determining eligibility for unemployment benefits.  EDD does not charge any fees for determining eligibility or filing claims.
  • Websites offering unemployment claims filing assistance other than edd.ca.gov.

While the unemployment claims process can be frustrating at times, it is critical that individuals keep close tabs on their personal information and work within the official state unemployment system to avoid the potential for fraud.

Businesses are also fraud targets, so employers are reminded to closely scrutinize claims made on behalf of current and former employees.

EDD urges Californians to report suspicious activity right away. The best way to do so is online through AskEDD at edd.ca.gov. Fraud-related information may be sent to EDD via FAX at 916-227-2772.

UPDATE as of 1:20 pm on 8/6/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CLARIFIES RULES REGARDING ALLOWABLE ACTIVITIES THROUGH UPDATED FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR EVERYDAY LIVING

In recent weeks, public health officials have made changes in operating protocols for various business sectors and everyday activities.  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has created Frequently Asked Questions for Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control of COVID-19 Health Officer Order.  This information is intended to help Los Angeles County residents keep up-to-date with rapidly changing rules, health guidance and protocols.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reminds us that we have a shared responsibility in the battle against the virus.  Business owners are required to follow applicable state and local health guidelines and protocols to keep their employees and customers safe.  Customers are required to be in compliance with health orders when patronizing establishments.  Businesses are regularly inspected by state or local health and regulatory officials to ensure adherence to health directives.

An area of COVID-19 spread that is on the rise are small gatherings of people with others who are not part of their household.  In some instances, larger gatherings at private homes or other spaces have become problematic.  While County officials are evaluating additional potential enforcement options, Dr. Ferrer notes that each person must take responsibility for their own behavior in contributing to virus spread.

What hasn’t changed over the past few months are the basic requirements for slowing the spread of COVID-19; wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and frequent hand washing or sanitizing.  There are activities that we can all do to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

UPDATE as of 2:55 pm on 8/5/2020

STATE AND COUNTY ISSUE GUIDANCE FOR RESUMING YOUTH SPORTS

On Monday, the State of California issued Interim Guidance for Youth Sports.  As fall approaches and many youth sports programs are looking ahead to a new season, the California Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines.  Under the state directive, local public health officers may provide specific additional guidance for program re-openings in each county.

The Department of Public Health issued a new protocol yesterday for youth sports programs in Los Angeles County.  All youth sports activities must be conducted outdoors.  The new protocol speaks only to youth sports leagues, club sports, travel sports and sports sponsored by public and private schools serving students in grades TK-12.  The new protocol does not apply to adult sports leagues, which remain closed.

Youth sports programs must full comply with the requirements outlined in the State Interim Guidance for Youth Sports and the checklist issued by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.  These compliance guidelines must be fully met prior to instituting programs and while programs are in operation or until such time as the health directives are modified.

Indoor sports activities and outdoor tournaments, events or competitions are still not permitted.  Physical distancing, health screenings, face coverings (as appropriate), and stable cohorts of players are critical elements of maintaining safety under the new health orders.

UPDATE as of 2:01 pm on 8/4/2020

DEVELOPMENT OF CORONAVIRUS VACCINE ENTERS NEW PHASE

Last Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, updated Members of Congress on the status of coronavirus vaccine development.  During an appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Dr. Fauci testified that a vaccine may be ready by the end of 2020 and available for public distribution starting in early 2021.

Active clinical studies are moving into Phase 3 development; meaning testing on larger groups of people to determine effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing new infections.  Individuals interested in being considered for participation in the Phase 3 clinical trials may submit applications to volunteer by visiting coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org.

Dr. Fauci noted that the various vaccine studies are still in early phases and while there are no guarantees, initial findings do look promising for the development of a vaccine by the end of the year.  At this point, it has not yet been determined how the vaccine will be distributed and individuals prioritized to receive the vaccine.

LA REGIONAL COVID FUND OPENS THIRD ROUND FUNDING CYCLE

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced yesterday that the third round of the regional recovery fund is available for application this week.  The latest cycle application period opened on Monday and closes on Friday, August 7, 2020.

The program is designed to provide assistance to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits throughout Los Angeles County.  The recovery fund partnership is built on providing grants, loans and technical assistance for certain businesses that were unable to take advantage of various federal relief programs.  Additional information regarding the current application cycle and eligibility may be found at the LA Regional COVID Fund website or by calling 833-238-4450.

UPDATE as of 2:58 pm on 8/3/2020

STATEWIDE COVID-19 CASES TRENDING DOWN; 38 COUNTIES STILL ON WATCHLIST

During today’s briefing, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the downward trend of statewide coronavirus cases.  Currently, 38 of 58 California counties are on the state’s watchlist.  As of yesterday, while 5,739 new cases were reported, the seven day average has fallen to 7,764.  This represents a 21.2% reduction from the seven day statewide average.

Approximately 127,000 Californians are tested daily.  The fourteen day positivity rate is currently 7.0%, which is down from 7.5% during the previous two week period.  Hospitalizations over the past fourteen days demonstrate a 10% decline.  Intensive Care Unit admissions have decreased by 5%.  The statewide seven day positivity rate is 6.1%, while the Los Angeles County rate is at 8.8%.  However, both numbers are trending down.

While all these numbers reflect a favorable trend, the Governor cautioned that several more weeks of data will need to be evaluated.  The Chief Executive cautioned that these are statewide numbers and may not reflect trends in certain parts of the state.   For example, the eight counties of the Central Valley are experiencing a spiking of cases and the State of California will be working with local officials to aggressively respond to the increase.

The Governor also highlighted that representatives of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Cal/OSHA have been visiting businesses throughout the state, in addition to local level inspections.  Governor Newsom commended businesses owners and customers for improved adherence to re-opening protocols and guidelines.  He noted that fewer citations are being issued and that overall, businesses are working hard to comply with health requirements.  The Governor noted that long-term stabilization in case numbers is his metric for considering re-opening various industry sectors.

UPDATE as of 9:32 am on 7/31/2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS PROCESSING DELAYS

Yesterday afternoon, the Assembly Committee on Budget’s Subcommittee #4 on State Administration held the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding processing delays for unemployment claims filed with the Employment Development Department (EDD).  The oversight panel received testimony from representatives of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Department of Finance and Employment Development Department.

The Employment Development Department has processed 9.3 million claims, paying out approximately $55 billion.  During testimony presented to the committee, the Legislative Analyst’s Office highlighted the increased volume of claims that EDD is processing.  The number of claims has jumped from approximately 50,000 per week during typical pre-coronavirus periods to an average of 400,000 claims per week since March.  One in five California workers is receiving some form of unemployment benefits; with approximately 3.4 million workers collecting traditional unemployment benefits and 1.1 million self-employed workers receiving benefits under the expanded federal authorizations for unemployed workers.

EDD Director Sharon Hilliard shared that the majority of claims are processed through the department’s online automated system.  For most claims, the information entered is verified with various state databases, which facilitates payment within 21 days after receipt of the initial claim.  In California 62% of all first-time claims are being processed within the three week window.

Unfortunately, too many filings are delayed and must be processed by hand.  Reasons for claim processing delays range from mistakes in completing the online forms to an antiquated computer system to the lack of trained personnel to work with applicants.  For example, misspellings of names, wrong social security numbers or incomplete information can cause claims to be kicked-out of the automated system and referred for special handling.  The unemployment insurance claims process also requires that recipients continue to certify for benefits every two weeks.  Failure to do so can result in delays for receiving benefits.

While the department expects to issue a new contract for overhauling its 30-year old computer system on October, it will be several months before the more modern system is operational.  In the meantime, the department is hiring over 5000 new employees to assist with the volume of claims, but slow procedures in hiring and training are exacerbating the processing delays.

Committee members expressed frustration with the ongoing problems that their constituents are facing.  EDD’s Director pledged to work more closely with legislators in implementing their recommendations for system changes and prioritizing the backlog of claims; some dating back to March.  Director Hilliard also promised that eligible claimants will receive the $600 per week federal add-on to state unemployment benefits for claims dating back to the period between March and July, even though that benefit has now expired.  Congress is still debating whether to continue the $600 weekly benefit or some lesser amount in the next recovery bill, currently under consideration.

Members of the committee also reiterated their willingness and that of their colleagues not on the committee to assist constituents with navigating the EDD process.  Senator Henry Stern and Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, who represent Westlake Village in the California Legislature, have expressed their desire to help residents in their districts, in the event that individuals encounter problems or experience delays in filing unemployment claims with EDD.

UPDATE as of 2:02 pm on 7/30/2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES STEPPED-UP EFFORTS TO ASSIST UNEMPLOYED

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a series of efforts designed to assist unemployed individuals in receiving help from the Employment Development Department (EDD).  Since March, EDD has struggled with the unprecedented volume of claims.  Over the past five months, EDD has processed more than 8 million unemployment insurance claims and distributed more than $49 million in unemployment benefits.

State officials have pointed to the extraordinary number of claims, resulting from business closures, layoffs and reductions in hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a key reason for the claims processing backlog.  Additional contributors include lack of updated technology, the need for more trained EDD staff and EDD’s limited hours of operation.  While the department has sought to increase staffing levels and increase customer service hours, many claimants are continuing to express frustrations with California’s unemployment benefit system.

The Governor outlined the formation of an Employment Development Department strike team and an enhanced focus for processing unpaid unemployment claims.  The strike team, led by Government Operations Agency Secretary Yolanda Richardson, will create a blueprint for improvements at EDD, including evaluating and recommending changes to the department’s technology systems.  By mid-September, the strike team will develop the roadmap that outlines short-term, mid-term and long-term recommendations for transforming the customer experience.

Governor Newsom also directed the department to rapidly process the growing backlog of unpaid claims.  While acknowledging that the number of claims has overwhelmed the “antiquated system” the Governor noted the real-life impacts of quickly resolving claims.  The department will prioritize the oldest claims and seek to obtain required information to complete the claims process.

EDD and California legislators will work more collaboratively to improve communication with individuals seeking unemployment.  Many claimants have become frustrated with the delayed or unresponsive unemployment benefits claims process and have reached out to their legislators for assistance.  Both Senator Henry Stern and Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, who represent Westlake Village in the California Legislature, have received assistance requests from their constituents.  Our community’s legislators welcome the opportunity to assist their constituents in resolving claims issues and identifying areas of needed improvement at EDD.

Finally, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #4 on Administration held a hearing earlier today to learn more about the challenges of filing unemployment claims from both the department’s and claimants’ perspectives.

UPDATE as of 12:20 pm on 7/29/2020

FDA ISSUES NEW WARNING ABOUT UNSAFE HAND SANITIZERS

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its list of unsafe hand sanitizers containing methanol.  The FDA has tested and identified 87 hand sanitizer products for recall and consumer warnings.  

Absorption of hand sanitizers containing methanol, or wood alcohol, through the skin can be life threatening. Use of hand sanitizers containing methanol can cause blindness, cardiac issues, effects on the central nervous system or death.

While these products are primarily manufactured outside the United States and strong efforts are being made to prevent their entry into the U.S. marketplace, some hand sanitizer products have made it onto store shelves.

In most cases, product labels do not contain any reference to methanol, although the FDA has found the substance within the listed products.  Consumers should check hand sanitizers against the FDA list to identify tainted products.  While this is not a widespread concern, it is worth taking a few minutes to ensure that you or your family members are not potentially using contaminated products.

UPDATE as of 11:37 pm on 7/24/2020

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO HAVE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

The Small Business Administration issued its latest report on the status of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The PPP is designed to assist small businesses, which have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in retaining their employees and meeting certain overhead obligations.  The program is administered by local ending institutions and had $131,344,933,156 available for lending as of July 17, 2020.

With the closures of businesses in March, subsequent re-openings and new shut-down orders, small business owners may wish to consult with a lender regarding eligibility and assistance in applying for a PPP loan.  PPP loans may be converted to grants by meeting certain criteria. For purposes of this program, under existing requirements, a small business is considered to have less that 500 employees.  Local lending institutions administering the program can provide the most updated information.

CENSUS 2020—HAVE YOU BEEN COUNTED?

The 2020 Census is still underway and you are encouraged to file your census form, if you have not already done so.  The most recent statistics show that 76.7% of Westlake Village households have completed the Census.  This response rate is significantly higher than Los Angeles County at 58.6%, State of California at 63.5% or the national response rate of 62.3%.   In 2010, 79.5% of Westlake Village households completed the decennial census questionnaire.

Census figures will be used for the next decade to determine congressional and state legislative representation, as well as certain federal, state, regional and local funding allocations to the City of Westlake Village. To ensure that our community receives its fair share of per capita funding and tax dollars return to our community for the benefit of our residents, it is essential that everyone residing in Westlake Village is counted!  If you have not already done so, please go online to Census2020 and complete your questionnaire

UPDATE as of 5:17 pm on 7/23/2020

CITY COUNCIL CONTINUES TO PARTNER WITH BUSINESS COMMUNITY TOWARD RECOVERY

At last night’s meeting, the Westlake Village City Council reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to partnering with local businesses.  Last week and earlier this week, Governor Newsom announced that while some business sectors were being closed for indoor activities, those same business sectors could perform select functions outdoors.

The State of California and County of Los Angeles have developed sector guidance for a number of business activities that can be moved outdoors.  The requirements of the guidance or protocols must be met before outdoor activities may commence.  Additionally, the City Council has authorized the development of requirements for temporary outdoor operations for affected businesses in Westlake Village; similar to what was done to accommodate restaurants being able to provide outdoor service by expanding their footprint onto adjacent sidewalks and parking lots.

Every situation is unique and the City wants to work with businesses to re-open safely and conduct businesses in appropriate outdoor settings, whenever possible.  Local businesses, such as gyms, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage services and houses of worship that wish to expand into outdoor settings should reach out to the City of Westlake Village at 818-706-1613 or wlv.org.

The City Council also received a report last night regarding the Small Business Relief Fund, which the City has joined in partnership with a number of public and private sector entities and is managed by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce.  The City Council authorized $50,000 to be used for grants to community small businesses of 25 employees or less.  To date, $37,500 has been awarded to Westlake Village small businesses to assist them through the pandemic.  If you are interested in receiving a grant of up to $2500 to support your business in getting through the COVID-19 emergency, please visit the Small Business Relief Fund’s application page to view eligibility criteria and submit a grant application.

Finally, the City Council appointed a COVID-19 Ad-Hoc Committee comprised of Mayor Pro Tem Susan McSweeney and Councilmember Ned Davis.  The committee will convene periodically to work with City staff in developing policies for consideration by the full City Council regarding matters specific to the COVID-19 pandemic and the City’s management of and response to those issues.

UPDATE as of 1:33 pm on 7/22/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS APPROVES $1.22 BILLION CARES ACT SPENDING PLAN

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved the allocation of $1.22 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding directly received by the County.  The plan covers four main expenditure areas:

  • $656 million for public health measures, including testing and contact tracing.
    • $200 million for financial support for residents in the form of assistance for rent relief, food and child care.
    • $160 million in grants to support small businesses.
    • $150 million to support the County of Los Angeles workforce in responding to the pandemic.

Additionally, the expenditure plan provides $54.7 million for contingencies; including health care system surges and other unanticipated specific needs that may arise as the emergency continues. 

Specific appropriations are going to Project Roomkey, which provides temporary housing for medically at-risk individuals experiencing homelessness, in the amount of $148 million; $100 million for rent relief assistance; $15 million for child care vouchers for low income and essential workers; $15 million for the Great Plates Program;  $10 million for the L.A. Regional Food Bank; and $60 million for other food insecurity programs.

A substantial allocation of $226 million is directed to community based COVID-19 testing.  Furthermore, the Registrar-Recorder’s office will receive $7 million to support vote-by-mail preparation and administration, as a direct result of COVID-19.

The $160 million allocation in support of small businesses will be managed by the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, Workforce Development and Community Services and County’s Development Authority.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents the City of Westlake Village on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors made the following statement after voting to support the CARES Act allocations,  “It’s extremely important that the County make these commitments to our emergency health response, including strengthening our testing and contact tracing efforts, as well as for rent relief and to bolster and sustain our food security programs.”  The Supervisor continued, “COVID-19 has knocked many vulnerable communities to their knees, and these investments will allow us to continue to help people as we work to bring the pandemic under control.”

UPDATE as of 12:11 pm on 7/21/2020

CALABASAS IMPLEMENTS FINES FOR FAILING TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS

The City of Calabasas has become the fourth municipality in Los Angeles County to implement fines against individuals for failing to wear face coverings in public.  The other cities enforcing face covering requirements with fines are Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.  In a Letter to the Community, Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub outlined the concerns of City leadership in moving toward more aggressive enforcement and other challenges related to COVID-19 in the community.

The City of Calabasas has created the Face Mask: Wear It or Pay It campaign.  Starting yesterday, residents and visitors may be ticketed for not wearing face coverings in public in the City of Calabasas. The fine for the first offense is $100.  More information may be obtained by contacting the City of Calabasas.

UPDATE as of 3:21 pm on 7/20/2020

BARBERSHOPS AND HAIR SALONS NOW PERMITTED TO MOVE SOME ACTIVITIES OUTDOORS

In response to requests from personal hair care practitioners desiring to move some of their activities outdoors, Governor Newsom announced today that State of California guidelines have been modified to allow some personal care activities to occur in outside locations.  Prior to the issuance of new guidelines, barbershops and hair salons were required by the State of California to remain closed.  State law and regulations required that certain personal care services must occur within an indoor licensed setting.

Other personal care services, such as nail salon services and massages, are also authorized by the State for re-opening.  Piercing, tattoo and electrolysis services are still prohibited from re-opening in outdoor settings.

The new guidelines outline the State of California’s requirements that must be met before an establishment may re-open in conformance with local regulations.  The City of Westlake Village is working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to develop the appropriate local protocols and looking at specific circumstances in our community to ensure that personal care services can re-open safely, as soon as possible.

UPDATE as of 3:03 pm on 7/17/2020

CITY ANNOUNCES NEW WEBSITE TESTING HUB

The City of Westlake Village is pleased to announce an important addition to the readywlv.org website.  A new hub related to testing provides information about COVID-19 symptoms, when and where to get tested in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and other important resources.  Currently, over 124,000 daily coronavirus tests are being conducted throughout the State of California.  More testing will enable local health officials to better track cases occurring among our community’s residents, as well as our success in fighting this deadly disease.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES GUIDELINES FOR SAFELY RE-OPENING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS

During today’s COVID-19 media briefing, Governor Newsom announced guidelines the State of California has issued relative to K-12 public and private schools re-opening.  While acknowledging the general preference is to have students attend schools in person, current California health metrics point to many districts needing to safely re-open with virtual learning.  The guidance does not mandate virtual or in-person learning, but establishes metrics for schools to use for determining when in-person and virtual learning may occur.

Local health data will drive the decisions in each community.  For example, in counties that are on the state’s monitoring list or have not been off the list for 14 consecutive days, schools will be required to offer online learning exclusively.  There are currently 32 of California’s 58 counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura counties, which are on the State’s monitoring list.

In counties that are not on the monitoring list or have been off the monitoring list for more than 14 consecutive days, schools may welcome students back into classrooms, but must follow specific health and safety protocols.   In those situations, masks or face shields will be required for all teachers and students in 3rd grade and above.  Physical distancing will be enforced.  The Governor also expressed that schools and students will be expected to meet rigorous education standards, whether the learning occurs in-person or online.

LAS VIRGENES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT TO BEGIN 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR WITH ONLINE CLASSES

In a notice sent to the community yesterday, Las Virgenes Unified School District (LVUSD) Superintendent Dan Stepenosky, Ed.D. advises district staff, parents, students and stakeholders that schools will re-open on August 19 with virtual learning only.  Los Angeles County is currently on the State’s monitoring list.  In case you have not yet had an opportunity to read Dr. Stepenosky’s message, it is reproduced below:

Dear LVUSD Staff & Families,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying a restful, safe summer vacation.  Last week we shared our potential LVUSD reopening plan that was carefully designed to create an optimum, in-person learning model for students.  I, like so many of you, have continued planning with the hope and intent that our school district would be in a position to safely reopen all of our campuses on August 19th for our students and staff.  

We recognize that there are countless benefits to students participating in on-campus learning. There is nothing we want more than to restore that sense of community, connection, and learning.  We absolutely want all of our students and staff on our campuses.  

We have made significant investments in safety and health upgrades, and we were preparing to welcome students and staff back to campuses in August.  The California Department of Education Coronavirus Response and School Reopening Guidance states, Schools should not open unless there is a sustained decrease in new cases of COVID-19.”  Unfortunately, we are in quite the opposite situation in our county and region, with cases rising significantly each day.

The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community come first.  


Given the recent public health trends, the School Board and I have made the difficult decision to start the school year, August 19th, with all students engaged in a virtual learning format.  We hope we can allow students to return to campus possibly as soon as after Labor Day.  I also want to acknowledge that this is an optimistic goal, and it depends on improving public health data.

As I shared last week in the video message, we need to remain flexible and nimble.  Things will change.  We will be working hard and communicating frequently in the next five weeks to ensure we have an excellent start to the year.  We have learned much about how to effectively provide virtual learning and we will aggressively apply those best practices to ensure learning.  We will provide clear and consistent schedules of class time.    

We are still asking families to select either the Virtual Academy or the on-campus option through our online form at http://lvusdupdates.org prior to 5:00 pm on Friday, July 24th.  Students who are in the Virtual Academy will have a 100% virtual experience for at least a trimester (elementary ) or a semester (secondary).  

Students who request the on-campus option will be assigned a regular school schedule and classroom assignment as they would during an in-person school year. While their school experience will begin with their teacher(s) virtually, they will exit the virtual learning model and return to their school campuses with the same classroom teacher(s) as soon as safely possible.

Our team will continue to offer scheduled update webinars on July 30th and August 4th. Additionally, continued updates will be sent regularly through This Week in LVUSD and our Social Media platforms. Please check our website at www.lvusd.org for updates.

Reopening our schools is a herculean task. Lets continue to stay positive, take care of one another, and follow health and safety guidelines.   

Dr. Dan Stepenosky
Superintendent
Las Virgenes Unified School District 

UPDATE as of 2:47 pm on 7/16/2020

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL LAUNCHES NATURAL DISASTERS AND COVID-19 RESPONSE WEBSITE

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) launched a new website that provides information related to natural disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we have experienced in our own community, wildfires and earthquakes require advance preparation by everyone; given these emergencies come quickly and often without warning.

While early planning for natural disasters is essential, the added layer of COVID-19 makes preparation critical.   For example, the website contains practical information regarding the supplies you will need to have in your evacuation kit, should you need to leave your home and go to an emergency shelter.  Face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are new and necessary additions to your personal emergency supplies.  The website also provides safety tips for you and your family members to observe while staying at a shelter.

UPDATE as of 11:47 am on 7/15/2020

STATE OF CALIFORNIA UNVEILS NEW SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES

Earlier this week, the State of California unveiled a new website designed to provide additional resources for small businesses and to encourage residents and businesses to shop local.  The Shop Safe Shop Local website provides a variety of resources; including, general advice, online sales and marketing tools, shipping and delivery information, training programs and links to a wealth of state agency resources.

The State’s efforts are meant to complement regional and local business programs, such as those being administered in our community by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce.   For example, the Westlake Village City Council recently authorized a $50,000 contribution to the Conejo Valley Small Business Relief Fund, which is designed to assist community businesses with less than 25 employees.

With the increase in coronavirus cases in our region and statewide and the resulting changing health orders, it’s more important than ever for our business community to have access to and take advantage of trusted and knowledgeable resources.

UPDATE as of 6:01 pm on 7/14/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ISSUES REVISED HEALTH OFFICER ORDER

Moments ago, the Los Angeles County Health Officer issued a revised Health Officer Order incorporating the mandated changes issued at the State level yesterday.

The revised Health Officer Order can be viewed here.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ISSUES HEALTH ORDER TO EXPAND TESTING

Last week, the Los Angeles County Public Health Officer issued an order directing that all health care facilities operating within the County begin offering COVID-19 testing effective July 31, 2020, and continuing to a yet-to-be-determined date.  The goal of the order is to substantially broaden diagnostic testing opportunities throughout Los Angeles County.

Health care facilities are defined in the order as follows:

“Health Care Facility” means (1) any clinic or urgent care facility located in the County that is owned, directly or indirectly, by an entity that also owns or operates an acute care hospital, regardless of where that acute care hospital is located; (2) any acute care hospital located in the County, and (3) any free-standing clinic (e.g., Federally Qualified Health Center, commercial urgent care clinic, or private provider) at such locations where the clinic (a) maintains staff trained to administer diagnostic tests, and (b) administers diagnostic tests services to its patients or members of the public.

UPDATE as of 4:08 pm on 7/13/2020

GOVERNOR ORDERS CERTAIN BUSINESS SECTORS TO CLOSE DOWN AGAIN

Earlier today, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the immediate statewide closure of indoor operations at dine-in restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers (i.e., bowling alleys, arcades and batting cages), movie theaters, zoos, museums and cardrooms. Bars, breweries and pubs must close both indoor and outdoor operations.

In counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days or more, additional business sectors must close indoor activities.  The affected sectors include barbershops, hair salons, personal care services (i.e., nail salons, waxing salons and tattoo parlors), gyms, fitness centers, indoor malls, offices in non-essential sectors and worship centers. These additional closure orders also take effect immediately and will last for an indefinite duration in 30 California counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

This action was taken response to the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases throughout California.  Over the past 14 days, almost 110,000 new cases have been identified, resulting in a statewide positivity rate of 7.4%.  Over the past two weeks, coronavirus hospitalizations have jumped by 27.8% and Intensive Care Unit cases by 19.9%.

Public health officials continue to stress the importance of physical distancing, wearing face coverings and frequent hand washing, as effective actions that everyone can take to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

UPDATE as of 9:35 am on 7/13/2020

HEALTH OFFICIALS REQUIRE WEARING OF FACE COVERINGS AS A PROVEN WAY TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases across the nation and throughout California, public health officials are requiring the wearing of face coverings.  The simple act of wearing face coverings has been consistently cited as a critical component in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their

How to Wear Face Coverings guidelines.  Wearing face coverings, in combination with social distancing and everyday preventative actions, such as frequent hand washing, have been shown to be most effective in limiting the spread of this deadly virus.

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom launched the “Wear A Mask” public awareness campaign.  The statewide effort is designed to focus attention on the importance of wearing face coverings.  The chief executive stated, “We all have a responsibility to slow the spread. It is imperative – and required – that Californians protect each other by wearing masks and practicing physical distancing when in public so we can fully reopen our economy.  We all need to stand up, be leaders, show we care and get this done.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Los Angeles County officials have led the effort for encouraging the use of face coverings.  This week’s movement of the County’s COVID-19 positivity rate into the double digits highlights the need for vigilant actions to slow the disease and ensure that our health care system has the capability to appropriately respond to cases.  The Department of Public Health’s guidance regarding the use of face coverings has consistently been updated, as more has become known about the virus.

UPDATE as of 3:38 pm on 7/9/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY EXPLORES ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST BUSINESSES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH RE-OPENING GUIDELINES AND PROTOCOLS

Last Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion directing the Department of Public Health, in consultation with County Counsel, to develop a plan for incorporating fines and other actions into its enforcement work.  The motion, authored by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn, recognizes that currently a significant level of non-compliance with Department of Public Health required guidelines and protocols exists by  businesses.  The report is due back to the Board of Supervisors at their July 21 public meeting.

Currently, environmental health inspectors may visit a business multiple times in an effort to educate the owner and workers regarding compliance with public health directives.  Even though Department of Public Health inspectors do possess code enforcement authority to issue fines for non-compliance, the practice has been to not issue fines.

However, the Board of Supervisors is concerned that given the tens of thousands of businesses affected by public health orders, inspectors do not have the capability of visiting businesses multiple times to ensure compliance.  The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been traced back, in part, to businesses that are out of compliance with re-opening mandates.  Therefore, a fine component and potential revocation of businesses’ operating permits for non-compliance is under consideration.

Businesses are required to comply with Department of Public Health Orders and specific sector guidelines and protocols.  The best way to avoid fines or other punitive action is to ensure that all of the health and safety requirements are being met.

AVOID HAND SANITIZERS CONTAINING METHANOL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have issued health advisories warning people to not use any hand sanitizer manufactured by “Eskbiochem SA de CV” in Mexico due to the potential presence of methanol, a “toxic alcohol.”  This active ingredient can cause blindness and/or death when absorbed through the skin or swallowed.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health advises “most commercially available alcohol-based hand sanitizers or rubs contain either ethanol or isopropanol as active ingredients and are safe to use.”

UPDATE as of 2:19 pm on 7/8/2020

2019 INCOME TAXES ARE DUE ONE WEEK FROM TODAY

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders issued in mid-March, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued three month extensions for filing 2019 taxes.  The original filing date of April 15 was extended three months until July 15, 2020.  Neither the IRS nor FTB issued additional extensions of the tax filing deadlines.  Therefore, federal and state income taxes are due one week from today, on Wednesday, July 15.

The Internal Revenue Service is requiring all filers of series 1040 forms to submit their 2019 taxes by July 15.  As in previous years, filing extensions may be requested until October 15.  The deadline for making contributions to individual retirement accounts (IRA) for taxable year 2019 is also July 15, 2020.

Individuals and business entities filing with the California Franchise Tax Board for 2019 must also meet the July 15 deadline.  These submissions include 2019 tax returns, 2019 tax return payments, 2020 first and second quarter estimated payments, 2020 LLC taxes and fees, and 2020 non-wage withholding payments.

For additional information, please consult your tax professional, IRS or FTB.

UPDATE as of 2:45 pm on 7/7/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES UPDATED REQUIREMENTS FOR WORKPLACES

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued updated guidance for helping to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the workplace.  As more sectors re-open as part of the County’s economic recovery, it is critical that employers and employees follow best practices.

Public health officials require that when three or more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed at a workplace within a fourteen day period, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health must be immediately notified at 888-397-3993 or 213-240-7821.

One of the critical challenges occurring statewide with many sectors re-opening is proper adherence to guidelines and protocols issued by the California Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Following the guidance is required for businesses to re-open safely. 

Unfortunately, some businesses have not strictly adhered to the directives, which has led to increases of COVID-19 cases.  Statewide health inspections have increased.  For example, the State of California initiated 441,755 contacts with businesses throughout the state during the period of July 2-5, 2020.  These contacts were made in-person, via e-mail and by phone with the intent of bringing businesses into compliance with health guidelines and protocols through education, rather than through punitive enforcement.  If you have questions related to compliance issues, please reach out to the County Department of Public Health for assistance.

UPDATE as of 2:41 pm on 7/6/2020

SUPERVISOR SHEILA KUEHL HIGHLIGHTS LA REGIONAL COVID-19 RECOVERY FUNDS

In the latest edition of her online newsletter Kuehl Happenings, Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents Westlake Village on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, highlights a new assistance program for small businesses located within Los Angeles County.

Supervisor Kuehl writes, “Small businesses and non-profits have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but LA County is here to revitalize our local economy and lift up underserved businesses.  Although there are a number of federal COVID-19 relief programs, financial, technical, and cultural barriers have left many of our neighborhood businesses behind. The County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles, in partnership with institutional and corporate philanthropy, have come together to create the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and address those gaps in aid. The regional fund will offer loans and grants to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits. This recovery effort is three-fold, providing grants, loans, and coaching and technical assistance.”

Applications for the first round of funding begin today.  More information about the program may be found at LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

FEDERAL PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM APPLICATION PERIOD EXTENDED UNTIL AUGUST 8, 2020

In one of their final actions before returning to their states and districts for the Fourth of July work period, Members of the Senate and House of Representatives approved an extension for submission of applications under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  The program is administered by local lenders on behalf of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The program’s previous application period expired on June 30, 2020.  At that time, approximately $130 billion remained available for grants and loans; which are designed to enable small businesses to retain their employees and meet overhead obligations during the period they are closed.  With the recent closure of some previously re-opened businesses and money still available, Congress extended the application period through August 8, 2020.  Additional information may be found at sba.gov.

UPDATE as of 11:19 am on 7/3/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE COMMUNITY PARK CLOSED THROUGH HOLIDAY WEEKEND

In light of the revised Public Health Officer Orders issued this week, the Westlake Village Community Park will be closed beginning 8pm tonight through 6am Monday morning. Please help us slow the spread of COVID-19 by following all Public Health Orders and avoiding crowds, confined spaces, and close contact this holiday weekend. Remember that gatherings with individuals outside of your household are still prohibited. All firework shows and events are also prohibited in the County, all the more reason to celebrate the 4th of July safely #RightAtHomeInWLV!

BEACHES IN LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES NOW CLOSED FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY WEEKEND

As a reminder, beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties are closed for the holiday weekend.  In the wake of recent and significant COVID-19 case increases and to avoid further spread brought about by traditional large gatherings of people at the beach over the Independence Day holiday, public health officials have closed beaches and parking areas in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. The closures went into effect this morning and will remain in effect until Monday, July 6 at 5:00 a.m.

The State of California has also closed state beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in conformance with local health orders.  Several counties in other parts of California are closing or limiting beach access over the weekend.

UPDATE as of 4:40 pm on 7/2/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE COMMUNITY PARK CLOSED THROUGH HOLIDAY WEEKEND

In light of the revised Public Health Officer Orders issued this week, the Westlake Village Community Park will be closed beginning 8pm tonight through 6am Monday morning. Please help us slow the spread of COVID-19 by following all Public Health Orders and avoiding crowds, confined spaces, and close contact this holiday weekend. Remember that gatherings with individuals outside of your household are still prohibited. All firework shows and events are also prohibited in the County, all the more reason to celebrate the 4th of July safely #RightAtHomeInWLV!

GROCERY STORES NO LONGER REQUIRED TO PROVIDE FREE SINGLE USE BAGS

On April 22, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order suspending imposition of the retail store charge of at least $.10 per bag for single use grocery bags.  The order was in effect for 60 days, expiring on June 22.  The provisions of the Executive Order related to single use bags have not been renewed.  Grocery stores are now able to resume charging customers for single use bags.

At the time the order was issued, health officials were unsure of COVID-19 surface transmissibility. Public health officials now believe that the risk of transmission on reusable grocery bags is low.  They further recommend washing or cleaning reusable grocery bags between each use.

Some stores are continuing to provide single use bags at no charge, while others have started or soon will be implementing the bag fee.  Check with your local store for specific details.

UPDATE as of 1:45 pm on 7/1/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE CONTINUES MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS

Today is the first day of a new month and the day that residential and commercial rents are typically due.  Since mid-March, many of our community’s residents have lost their jobs, seen their hours cut back, have been placed on furlough, or just recently returned to their jobs and haven’t yet collected a paycheck, and as such, may be unable to pay their rent.

Small business owners have closed their doors or watched their revenues drop and may be unable make their rent payments. While some businesses remain closed, for those that have been authorized to reopen, business has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The Westlake Village City Council understands these situations and continues to provide a relief mechanism.

On March 17, 2020, the City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 278-U20  establishing a temporary eviction moratorium.  The ordinance allows for the deferment of rent payments under specified conditions and prohibits eviction of residential or commercial tenants due to non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related circumstances.  The urgency ordinance requires that tenants communicate in writing with their landlords.  Furthermore, the local statute enables rent payments to be postponed, not eliminated.  Residents and businesses are encouraged to communicate with their landlords and make rent payments, as they are best able to do so.

Please read the ordinance to determine how the City’s rent eviction moratorium may apply to your individual situation.   Should you require additional assistance, City staff is happy to assist you at (818) 706-1613. 

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-71-20, which extends the  eviction moratorium period until September 30, 2020.  The City of Westlake Village moratorium runs concurrent with the state moratorium outlined in the Executive Order.

GOVERNOR ORDERS “DIMMING” OF ACTIVITIES IN 19 CALIFORNIA COUNTIES

During today’s special media briefing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced several significant changes to existing protocols, which are to remain in effect for the next three weeks.  These changes apply to the 19 California counties that have been on the state’s “watch list” for three or more consecutive days.  The counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara are among the affected counties.

The following indoor activities are directed to close in all 19 affected counties: indoor operations, activities and dining at restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, bars, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, movie theaters and cardrooms.  The state is also working with tribal leaders regarding closure of indoor activities at casinos.  Restaurants are being ordered to close indoor dining only. They may continue to operate with outdoor dining and take-out/delivery service.

Additionally, state beach parking lots in Southern California and Bay Area counties will be closed for the 4th of July weekend.  State beaches located in Los Angeles County and Ventura County will be closed in conformance with public beach closures ordered by local health officials.  Other state parks in all counties will remain open in conformance with state issued protocols.

Governor Newsom is recommending the cancellation of fireworks shows or other 4th of July events that create large gatherings.  The Governor also cautioned individuals hosting holiday weekend gatherings of family and friends to reconsider those activities, as small gathering COVID-19 spread has continued to grow.

Finally, the state will be more involved in enforcing public health orders through the creation of Enforcement Strike Teams.  Strike teams will consist of representatives of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC), California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA), Department of Consumer Affairs, California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Department of Business Oversight.  State agencies will initially focus on education rather than heavy-handed enforcement.  These activities will be done in partnership with local enforcement agencies.

The best COVID-19 prevention strategies to minimize spread of the disease continue to be wearing face coverings, physical distancing and frequent hand washing.

UPDATE as of 11:47 am on 6/30/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CLOSES BEACHES OVER UPCOMING HOLIDAY WEEKEND

The County of Los Angeles has announced that all beaches in the County will be closed from Friday, July 3 through Monday, July 6.  Beaches will re-open to the public on Tuesday, July 7.  Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an updated beach protocol outlining the closures. All public beaches, piers, bike paths and beach access points will be closed over the four day period. Parking lots will also be closed.

The Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station shared the following on Facebook, “The Malibu/Lost Hills Station Beach Team will be patrolling the beaches throughout the weekend and late into the evening.  This new order makes it illegal to trespass at these locations and is punishable by law to include, but not limited to, a $1,000 fine.” The Department of Public Health’s action comes as COVID-19 cases top the 100,000 mark.  County health officials reported the highest daily total yesterday, spiking at 2,903 new infections. Westlake Village’s reported case total remains at eight.  The closure action is being taken to prevent large gatherings and limit spread of the deadly disease.

UPDATE as of 2:43 pm on 6/29/2020

LAST CALL: BARS IN L.A. COUNTY CLOSED

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued immediate closure orders for bars in Los Angeles County and six other counties in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The bar closure orders affect the counties of Los Angeles, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Tulare.  The Governor recommends that county health officers in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties also consider taking action to close bars, based upon local health metrics.

The closures impact counties that have been on the state’s “watch list” for 14 days or more, as a result of experiencing significant increases in COVID-19 cases.  The recommended closures are in counties that are on the state’s “watch list” for three days or more, but less than 14 days, and are also experiencing dramatic case spikes.

On June 15, the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate was 4.4%.  Over the past two weeks, the state positivity rate has gone up to 5.5%.  In Los Angeles County the current seven day positivity rate is over 8%.  Hospitalizations throughout California have increased by 43% and ICU admissions have grown by 37% during the same fourteen day period.  The mandated and recommended closures reflect an effort to manage hospital bed capacity. 

The California Department of Health has identified bars as the highest risk of businesses currently open, due to the lack of mask use and social distancing; combined with consumption of alcohol, which can impair patrons’ judgement related to appropriate physical distancing.  Throughout Los Angeles County, public health inspectors recently found that 49% of bars and 33% of restaurants are not adhering to physical distancing guidelines.  All businesses are reminded that the County issued health protocols are requirements, not merely suggestions.

The closures apply to bars that serve alcohol as their primary business, even if they offer some food service, which is not their primary business.  Restaurants, which serve food as their primary business, and have on-site bars may remain open in conformance with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health updated protocols.

UPDATE as of 12:00 pm on 6/26/2020

LAS VIRGENES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT PLANS FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR

The Las Virgenes Unified School District (LVUSD) is planning for the 2020-21 school year.  The district anticipates offering two learning pathways; on-campus and virtual.  In an effort to assist families in choosing the program that will work best for them, LVUSD updated its website to provide information about each option.  Furthermore, the school district is holding a series of webinars throughout the summer to share news and guidance regarding each option and the district’s plans for the new school year.  LVUSD has scheduled webinars for July 7, July 30, and August 4.  A webinar held on June 22 may be viewed on the district’s website.

UPDATE as of 3:36 pm on 6/25/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY UPDATES SEVERAL RE-OPENING PROTOCOLS

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has updated several protocols related to car dealers, car washes, libraries open for curbside pick-up , and retail establishments. Car dealers may now offer test drives for a single customer with the salesperson sitting in the back seat, while both are wearing face coverings.   The other protocols relate to reporting employee COVID-19 cases to the Department of Public Health and updated guidance regarding workplace exposures.  As new information becomes known about spread of the virus in certain situations, county health officials will continue to refine re-opening protocols.  Updated protocols and other pertinent information may be found on the Department of Public Health’s website.

UPDATE as of 2:37 pm on 6/24/2020

ONE WEEK REMAINING TO APPLY FOR PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application period ends next week on June 30.  The program, which was originally authorized under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is designed to assist eligible small businesses, non-profit organizations and veterans organizations retain their employees, hire back workers that may have been laid off and maintain overhead.  The PPP is administered by local lending institutions on behalf of the federal government.  The program has evolved significantly since it was first created in March.  Many of the changes and improvements to the small business relief program are the direct result of applicants sharing their experiences with Members of Congress and the Small Business Administration.

Currently, over 5500 lending institutions across the United States are participating in the program, which has awarded over $500 billion.  Approximately $130 billion remains unallocated.  Under existing law, the last day to apply for PPP funding is Tuesday, June 30, 2020.  While created as a loan program, eligible applicants who meet specified guidelines are able to have the loan converted to a grant.

UPDATE as of 2:16pm on 6/23/2020

METRO INCREASES BUS SERVICE TO PROMOTE SOCIAL DISTANCING

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is increasing bus service as a means of promoting social distancing.  The schedule changes started on Sunday, June 21, 2020.  Metro Route 161, serving Westlake Village, is one of the 95 routes throughout the Metro service area to receive enhanced bus service, which includes more buses and service frequency.  Riders are reminded to board and exit the buses through the rear doors and to always wear a face covering while waiting for and riding the bus.  Disabled riders may continue to board through the front doors.  Additional information regarding trip planning may be found at metro.net.

UPDATE as of 4:37pm on 6/22/2020

CDC UPDATES INFORMATION REGARDING FOOD SAFETY

As restaurants, bars and other establishments serving food are re-opening across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is providing updated information regarding food safety.  CDC notes that the primary method of transmission is through person-to-person contact and the risk is very low for getting COVID-19 from food or food packaging.

Health professionals remind us that the best ways to fight the spread of COVID-19 are to wear a face covering, practice physical distancing and frequently was our hands.  Restaurants and other food service establishments are required to follow strict protocols as part of the re-opening process.

The CDC states:

The risk of getting COVID-19 from food or food packaging is very low

  • The risk of getting COVID-19 from food you cook yourself or from handling and consuming food from restaurants and takeout or drive-thru meals is thought to be very low. Currently, there is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • The risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low. Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.
  • Although some people who work in food production and processing facilities have gotten COVID-19, there is no evidence of the virus spreading to consumers through the food or packaging that workers in these facilities may have handled.
UPDATE as of 4:03pm on 6/19/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY REVISES SAFER AT WORK AND IN THE COMMUNITY TO ALLOW PERSONAL CARE SERVICES, CARDROOMS, BARS, WINERIES AND BREWERY TASTING ROOMS TO RE-OPEN BEGINNING TODAY

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised its Safer at Work and In the Community Order to allow for re-opening of Personal Care Services, Cardrooms, and Bars, Wineries and Brewery Tasting Rooms starting today.  The new guidelines allow for the re-opening of nail salons, body art, waxing and massage establishments.  The directives for bars, wineries and tasting rooms contain diagrams to assist in creating appropriate physical distancing between customers.

Although the County Health Officer has authorized the latest industry sector re-openings, businesses may not welcome back customers until they complete all of the requirements outlined in the protocols and complete a checklist for the protocol that applies to their particular business.  Therefore, while some businesses may re-open today, others will take longer to welcome patrons.  Please check with the individual business regarding their status.

UPDATE as of 2:52pm on 6/18/2020

CALIFORNIA HEALTH OFFICIALS ISSUE NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR WEARING MASKS OUTSIDE OF THE HOME

The California Department of Public Health announced new guidance today requiring Californians to wear face coverings when venturing outside of their homes.  Previously, each county’s public health officer made that determination based upon the health metrics of that particular county.

Health officials have consistently noted that wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate physical distancing and frequent hand washing are the most effective methods for slowing the spread of COVID-19.  As businesses re-open and people are brought together more frequently, these safety protocols become increasingly important to follow.

The new rules apply to most indoor public spaces and while in-line to enter those spaces.  The mandate also applies in outdoor settings when six-foot physical distancing cannot be achieved.  The face covering requirement is applicable to work spaces where physical distancing is difficult or work spaces that are visited by members of the public.

UPDATE as of 4:57pm on 6/17/2020

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES DEVELOPS DINE-IN RESTAURANT TOOL KIT

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has developed a Toolkit for dine-in restaurants.  While designed for restaurant owners, the document is an excellent reference for customers to learn about guidelines that restaurants are following to re-open.  

Last weekend, the Department of Public Health conducted approximately 2000 restaurant inspections throughout Los Angeles County.  It is currently unknown if any Westlake Village restaurants were inspected.  Approximately 50% of inspected restaurants were out of compliance with one or more requirements under Public Health Department restaurant protocols.  However, none of the issues resulted in closures.  The identified issues appeared to call for making minor refinements to procedures for ensuring strict adherence to the new rules.

Whether you choose to dine-in, take out or receive a delivery, our local restaurants are depending on your support.  Many of Westlake Village’s restaurants are locally owned and operated.  Our neighbors owning and working at local restaurants value your patronage.

IRS ISSUES CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS

Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service today alerted nursing homes and other care facilities that Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) generally belong to the recipients, not the organizations providing the care.  The payments are intended for the recipients, even if a nursing home or other facility or provider receives the person’s payment, either directly or indirectly by direct deposit or check.

Additionally, the IRS announcement states “The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued FAQs on this issue, including how representative payees should handle administering the payments for the recipient. SSA has noted that under the Social Security Act, a representative payee is only responsible for managing Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. An EIP is not such a benefit; the EIP belongs to the Social Security or SSI beneficiary.”

UPDATE as of 4:35pm on 6/16/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY TOPS 75,000 COVID-19 CASES

As of today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has identified 75,084 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, since the pandemic began.  A total of 2,959 people have died, with ninety-three percent having had underlying health conditions.  In Westlake Village the total number of positive cases remains at 7 with no deaths reported.

As more sectors of the economy re-open, health professionals remind us to wear a face coverings when going out or interacting with people who are not part of our household, practice physical distancing and frequently wash our hands.

As summer gets underway, our neighbors in Malibu are pleased to welcome everyone back to the beach, stores and restaurants.  Since Malibu and other beach communities are destination locations for many from throughout Southern California and it can get crowded at times, our neighbors request that everyone follow the health guidelines and protocols, so that we can all remain safe.

GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER EXTENDING WAIVERS AND DEADLINES IN A VARITY OF AREAS

Governor Gavin Newsom’s office reports that yesterday he signed an executive order addressing a variety of issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Copies of earlier executive orders referenced in the new directive may be found at gov.ca.gov.

The order extends permission for commercially licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas, in compliance with temporary permits issued by Caltrans, to ensure essential infrastructure workers have access to food; suspends face-to-face visits for eligibility for extended foster care; and extends deadlines related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.

Among other provisions, the order also extends waivers temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, allowing for self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility, and waiving in-person identification requirements.

UPDATE as of 3:59pm on 6/14/2020

EDD KEEPING IN TOUCH VIA TEXT MESSAGES

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has set-up a text notification option for individuals to receive updates about their unemployment insurance claims.  There is no cost to use the text service, but standard rates from your wireless carrier will apply.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WARNS OF NEW CONTACT TRACING SCAM

As COVID-19 contact tracing efforts are ramping-up across the state, Attorney General Xavier Becerra warns all Californians to beware of scams.   In recent days, a new fraud scheme involving phony COVID-19 contact tracers is becoming known to law enforcement officials.

Contact tracing is an important tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. Local public health departments are using contact tracing to identify people who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual.  In this new fraud scheme, scam artists pretend to be contact tracers to trick Californians into divulging their private personal information such as Social Security numbers, financial information, or health insurance information. These scam artists are contacting Californians by phone, email, or text. If you believe you have been the victim or target of a scam related to COVID-19, please immediately file a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/report.

UPDATE as of 4:58pm on 6/13/2020

BRING YOUR CHAIR, CANOPY AND COOLER TO THE BEACH

The County of Los Angeles has updated its public beach protocol to now permit beachgoers to bring chairs, canopies and coolers with them while enjoying the sand, water and sunshine.  Please remember to practice physical distancing, wear face coverings while out of the water and use sanitizer and sun screen.  Beachgoers are reminded that portable grills are still not allowed to be used on the beach.

NEED FOR BLOOD DONATIONS

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and American Red Cross are calling for blood donations.  According to CDPH, existing blood supplies have “drastically decreased in recent weeks.”  If you are healthy and able to give blood, please contact the American Red Cross.

UPDATE as of 4:53pm on 6/12/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MODIFIES SAFER AT WORK AND IN THE COMMUNITY PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

Late yesterday, the Los Angeles County Public Health Officer issued a revised Safer at Work and In the Community Public Health Order, which permits a number of new sectors to re-open starting today.  The new Health Order is highlighted to identify changes from earlier directives.

The revised Health Order includes guidance for re-opening Music, Television and Film Production; Day Camps; Gyms and Fitness Establishments; Museums, Galleries, Zoos and Aquariums; Professional Sports Leagues and Training Camps (without spectators); Campgrounds and RV Parks; Hotels, Lodging and Short Term Rentals.  Additionally, new protocols for public swimming pools, outdoor recreation equipment rental services and small water vessel charters have also been released.

While these sectors are authorized to re-open beginning today, some businesses may take longer to welcome back workers and patrons.  Please check with the individual business regarding their status.

The following businesses remain closed in Los Angeles County:

  • Bars / Wineries / Breweries Tasting Rooms
    • Cardrooms / satellite wagering facilities / racetrack on-site wagering facilities
    • Public Entertainment Venues, including: movie theaters / live performance theaters / concert  venues / theme parks / festivals
    • Family Entertainment Centers, including: bowling alleys / arcades / miniature golf courses /batting cages
    • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children; except those located within a school or child care center
    • Hot tubs / Saunas / Steam rooms not located on a residential property
    • Personal Care Establishments including: nail salons / body waxing services / massage establishments /body art studios
UPDATE as of 8:11pm on 6/11/2020

REOPENING MOVING INTO STAGE 3: Just moments ago, the LA County Health Officer issued a revised Health Officer Order allowing additional sectors, businesses and activities in Stage 3 of the California Pandemic Resilience Roadmap to conditionally reopen TOMORROW!

Some of the sectors allowed to reopen include day camps, fitness facilities, museums and more.

Click here to view the full revised Health Officer Order

UPDATE as of 7:30pm on 6/11/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES INCREASE TO 7 TOTAL

Today, as the LA County Department of Public Health provided the daily update for COVID-19 cases throughout the County, it was noted that confirmed cases in the City of Westlake Village have increased to 7. The number of confirmed cases remained at 6 for the past several weeks in the City and saw it’s first increase today. The number of confirmed deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Westlake Village remains at 0.

For more information on the daily case updates, please visit: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/

UPDATE as of 6:40pm on 6/10/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY WILL MODIFY HEALTH ORDER TOMORROW TO FACILITATE MORE SECTOR RE-OPENINGS BEGINNING FRIDAY

During today’s press briefing, Los Angeles County officials stated that a modified Public Health Officer Order will be issued tomorrow, Thursday, June 11; allowing several new sectors to re-open as early as Friday, June 12.  The sectors appear to be in alignment with the various State sector guidelines issued last Friday.

The business sectors that will be permitted to re-open include gyms and fitness centers, day camps, hotels, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, museums, zoos, pro-sports leagues without spectators and film/TV production.  Nail salons are not included in this most recent round of re-openings.  Businesses that are eligible to re-open must be able to meet the checklist requirements outlined in the State guidance prior to re-opening.

GREAT PLATES SENIOR MEALS PROGRAM EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 10

The Great Plates senior meals program has been extended until July 10.  It was previously set to expire today.  The meals program links qualifying seniors, age 65 or older or ages 60-64 that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are at high risk, with meals from local restaurants.  The program’s goals are to reach as many seniors as possible to ensure their daily nutritional needs are met, while providing local restaurants with business opportunities in their communities.  More information may be obtained by Los Angeles County residents by calling 211or email greatplates@wdacs.lacounty.gov, or https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/greatplates/.

UPDATE as of 5:26pm on 6/9/2020

STATE ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR MOVIE THEATRE RE-OPENINGS

Yesterday, the State of California issued guidance for re-opening movie theaters, as soon

as Friday, June 12, 2020.  Among the requirements are limitations on attendance to 25% of theatre capacity or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.

The specific schedule for re-opening theaters is left to the County Department of Public Health to determine and the application of any additional restrictions based upon local health metrics.

The State guidance contains the following statement to remind attendees of increased risk of exposure to COVID-19: 

Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a setting bringing multiple different households to engage in the same activity carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations.

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION RELEASES GUIDEBOOK FOR RE-OPENING CALIFORNIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has issued guidance for re-opening California schools.  The fifty-five page Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools is designed to provide information and answer questions for administrators, teachers, administrative staff, parents and teachers. Even though the current school year has just ended, the guidelines are designed to provide education stakeholders with guidelines for re-opening classrooms, in some cases, just two short months away.

The guidebook is the collaborative product of education and health care professionals, in consultation with key stakeholders.  Local school districts will ultimately make decisions based on the health metrics of their individual communities and considerations unique to their communities.  The Las Virgenes Unified School District is already planning for the 2020-21 school year, which will include on-site learning and virtual learning.  More information may be found here.

UPDATE as of 4:58pm on 6/8/2020

STATE ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR DAY CAMPS AND SCHOOLS

Last Friday, the State of California issued industry guidance for a number of sectors, including day camps and schools and school based programs.  The guidance recommends an implementation date not sooner than Friday, June 12 and is at the discretion of local authorities.  Los Angeles County officials have indicated that they are currently reviewing the State guidance.  Ultimately, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will determine an implementation date and whether additional conditions beyond those imposed by the State of California are necessary.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FAMILY FRIENDLY PRACTICES FOR EMPLOYERS

During the past three months, the overall economy and individual workplaces have been significantly impacted.  As businesses begin to re-open, employers and employees are encountering new challenges.  Employers continue to face the need for recruiting and retaining a well-trained, productive, and high-quality workforce.  Employers also need to determine how and when to safely re-open workplaces; to keep employees safe and be responsive to their needs, while ensuring continued productivity and well-being.

As stay at home orders are eased and retracted, employees want to ensure that they are returning to safe and sustainable work environments.  Many workers will require both child care support and workplace flexibility. Work-life balance policies will become even more important as the state moves into different phases of COVID-19 response.

The State of California has been hearing these concerns and has developed recommendations for Family Friendly Practices for Employers.

UPDATE as of 7:02pm on 6/7/2020

LA COUNTY UPDATES PROTOCOLS FOR OUTDOOR MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Los Angeles County has issued updates for its previously distributed protocols relating to outdoor museums and galleries.  The new guidance now allows for restaurants and retail facilities associated with outdoor museums and galleries to re-open, consistent with prior directives for similar industry sectors.  The County is continually evaluating its protocols and restrictions to ensure that they are regularly updated to reflect current health data.

SUPERVISOR KUEHL HIGHLIGHTS RISE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS A RESULT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In a recent edition of her e-newsletter Kuehl Happenings, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl shares important information about domestic violence.

Isolation, stress, and economic hardship all increase the potential for domestic violence. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, LA County has seen a significant and heartbreaking increase in calls to our domestic violence hotline. 

Read: Los Angeles Domestic Violence Hotline Calls Double Since Shutdown

Domestic violence is never ok, and I want to make sure that anyone experiencing abuse in their home knows that our services are still operating. Please, if you are experiencing violence in your home and need resources, you can visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/dvcouncil. If you do not feel comfortable using the computer, or it is not safe to do so, call the DV Hotline at (800) 978-3600 or through 211, or text 52-211. Through these resources, you can locate a shelter, or just get the support you need from highly-trained advocates. 

You are not alone, and help is available. Supervisor Kuehl’s website may be found here.

SELECT DMV OFFICES OPEN ACROSS CALIFORNIA

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has re-opened 71 offices throughout the state, including the Thousand Oaks Office.  While many transactions can be done online, certain activities must be accomplished in person at a field office.  DMV outlines in-person transactions and safety precautions that are being undertaken at open offices here.

EDD UPDATES FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has updated its

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to assist unemployed workers understand their benefits and answer the most often asked questions.  Additional information regarding unemployment claims and how to file for benefits may be found at edd.ca.gov.

UPDATE as of 9:36am on 6/6/2020

LA COUNTY REVIEWS NEW STATE GUIDELINES THAT COULD MOVE LA COUNTY INTO STAGE 3 OF ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

Los Angeles County is reviewing new guidelines from the State of California that could move LA County into Stage 3 of the Roadmap to Recovery and permit the reopening of key sectors including schools, day camps, museums, entertainment industry production, camping and spectator-free sporting events — as early as June 12.

The Department of Public Health will review the newly issued state guidance, evaluate the County’s COVID-19 metrics and data and consult with the Board of Supervisors to determine how sectors can re-open with safeguards and directives in place to ensure essential physical distancing and infection control.

At this time, Los Angeles County is still under a Safer At Work and In The Community Order. Public and private gatherings of people outside of a single household unit are not permitted except for public protests and faith-based services with limited numbers of participants.

Everyone needs to continue to follow physical distancing and infection control protocols and wear a cloth face covering when in contact with others not in your household.

At this time, still closed are:

  • Nail salons
  • Tattoo shops
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Campgrounds
  • Entertainment venues including arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, live performance theaters, concert halls, stadiums, arenas, theme parks, gaming facilities and festivals
  • Brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, and wineries that do not offer sit-down, dine-in meals.
  • Indoor museums, galleries and zoos

Click here for a detailed list of what’s open and closed in L.A. County

UPDATE as of 5:02pm on 6/5/2020

SUPERVISOR BARGER SEEKS CLARITY REGARDING SCHOOLS, SUMMER CAMPS AND YOUTH RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

On Thursday, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting support and assistance for re-opening schools, summer camps and youth recreational activities.  As more businesses and other sectors of the economy bring employees back to work, many parents are struggling to find appropriate programs for their children.  As this time of year turns to summer school, summer camps and other recreational programs that welcome school age children, Supervisor Barger requests that the Governor facilitate the issuance of guidance in this arena to enable a smooth return to recovery.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SAFER AT WORK AND IN THE COMMUNITY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In recent weeks, the County of Los Angeles has been issuing new guidelines and updating previous protocols, as more businesses and other sectors of the economy re-open.  The quickly changing COVID-19 landscape for economic recovery and re-openings can be confusing.  In an effort to provide clarity, the Department of Public Health has created Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Safer at Work and In The Community Public Health Orders.

UPDATE as of 4:14pm on 6/4/2020

SELECT LOS ANGELES COUNTY LIBRARIES TO OFFER SIDEWALK SERVICE BEGINNING MONDAY, JUNE 8

The Los Angeles County Library system has announced that Sidewalk Service will begin at twenty-four libraries throughout the county, starting Monday, June 8.  There are a total of eighty-five facilities operated by the Los Angeles County Library.  The closest library in our region participating in the Sidewalk Service program is the Agoura Hills Library, located at 29901 Ladyface Court in Agoura Hills. 

While the Westlake Village Library continues to remain closed, beginning Monday, June 8 materials previously checked out may be returned to that location.  All returned materials will be quarantined before being reissued, as recommended by health and safety officials. All due dates on existing checkouts have been extended to July 15.  City staff continues to work with County Library staff to facilitate re-opening of the Westlake Village Library at the earliest opportunity.

VENTURA COUNTY EASES VISITATION RULES AT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

In recognition of the isolation that residents of long term-care facilities are experiencing and the anxiety that families and friends are feeling by not being able to visit with loved ones in-person, the Ventura County Public Health Officer has issued new visitation guidance.  The guidance is designed to allow modified visitations of residents living in long-term care facilities, while continuing to protect the health of those most vulnerable to COVID-19.  Ultimately, it is up to the individual facility to determine whether it is able to allow visitations and adhere to the procedures for welcoming visitors, as outlined in the county-issued guidelines.  Please check with the facility you wish to visit to determine whether they are welcoming visitors. 

UPDATE as of 4:52pm on 6/3/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY IMPOSES FOURTH NIGHT OF COUNTYWIDE CURFEW AND SETS LATER START TIME

The County of Los Angeles has announced that while there will be a fourth curfew imposed for tonight, the curfew times have changed from previous nights.  Tonight’s curfew will begin at 9:00 p.m. and remain in effect until 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 4.  The curfew applies to all cities within Los Angeles County, including Westlake Village.

Residents are asked to remain in their homes.  The countywide curfew order does not apply to the following individuals: peace officers, firefighters, National Guard or other military personnel, emergency medical services personnel, individuals traveling to and from work, individuals working on public works construction projects, credentialed news media, people experiencing homelessness without access to a viable shelter, and individuals seeking medical treatments.

PAYROLL PROTECTION PROGRAM LOAN FORGIVENESS

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which was created under the CARES Act, contains the opportunity for recipients to receive loan forgiveness.  Language within your loan documents should include instructions regarding the eligibility requirements for loan forgiveness.

As Congress continues to consider new economic relief legislation, there are proposals to extend the forgiveness period and possibly increase the percentage of non-payroll eligible expenses.  At this point, these are only proposals and have not yet been voted on and approved.

For example, among the provisions of the bill that passed the House of Representatives on May 15 was an extension of the forgiveness period from eight to twenty-four weeks and an increase of the non-payroll expenses from 25% to 40% of the loan proceeds. A consideration in the Senate is to double the forgiveness period from eight weeks to sixteen weeks, but retaining the 25% limit for non-payroll items.  It is currently anticipated that the new economic recovery legislation will be enacted in late June or early July. A potential change in PPP requirements may impact your situation.  Please keep in close contact with your lender and/or the Small Business Administration for the most updated information.

UPDATE as of 5:16pm on 6/2/2020

CITY’S WEBSITE HIGHLIGHTS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP AND RESOURCES

For almost three months, the City of Westlake Village has been regularly updating its website and providing information related to COVID-19.  A critical partnership throughout the pandemic is with the business community.  Businesses in our region have been hard hit by the COVID-19 emergency. The City Council and City staff are continuing their unwavering commitment to working with Westlake Village businesses to maximize recovery opportunities. 

In recent weeks, the State of California and County of Los Angeles have authorized the strategic re-opening of certain sectors of the economy and developed industry specific protocols.

The City of Westlake Village’s Reopening Your Business webpage provides a single stop resource for residents and businesses to access accurate and timely information related to businesses re-opening in our community.  If you have not done so already, please check it out.

PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR HEALTH

During the early days of the COVID-19 emergency, hospitals and health care providers rushed to ensure their ability to properly deal with the anticipated caseload.  As part of that successful response effort, elective surgeries were delayed and routine medical screenings were deferred.

Westlake Village residents, businesses and other stakeholders embraced state and local stay-at-home orders and contributed favorably to the larger effort of managing the spread of COVID-19, so that our health care system was not overwhelmed.  As a result of the singular focus toward COVID-19, many routine health care appointments and even some more acute medical situations were delayed or deferred.

Health care experts and professional are now recommending maintaining a close dialogue with your health care providers and setting up those deferred appointments to ensure that your health remains at its best.  Hospitals are now able to perform elective surgical procedures and screenings and many providers are now accepting regular health care appointments.

UPDATE as of 8:15pm on 6/1/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS CONTINUES

Today is the first day of a new month and the day that residential and commercial rents are typically due.  Since mid-March, many of our community’s residents have lost their jobs, seen their hours cut back, have been placed on furlough, and as such, may be unable to pay their rent.  Small business owners have closed their doors or watched their revenues drop and may be unable make their rent payments. While some businesses remain closed, for those that have been authorized to reopen, business has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The Westlake Village City Council understands these situations and continues to provide a relief mechanism.

On March 17, 2020, the City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 278-U20  establishing a temporary eviction moratorium.  The ordinance allows for the deferment of rent payments under specified conditions and prohibits eviction of residential or commercial tenants due to non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related circumstances.  The urgency ordinance requires that tenants communicate in writing with their landlords.  Furthermore, the local statute enables rent payments to be postponed, not eliminated.  Please read the ordinance to determine how it may apply to your individual situation.   Should you require additional assistance, City staff is happy to assist you at (818) 706-1613. 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE COMMUNITY PARK RE-OPENS TODAY

Effective today, Westlake Village Community Park has re-opened for limited use.  The park, located at 31107 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for activities such as walking, jogging and running.  Park users are reminded to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and wear cloth face coverings when in close contact with others who are not part of your household.

Facilities at the park, including playgrounds, restrooms, drinking fountains and picnic areas remain closed until further notice.  Group activities on the sports fields are prohibited and the skate park also remains closed.

UPDATE as of 11:15pm on 5/31/2020

LEGISLATIVE ANALYST’S OFFICE EVALUATES GOVERNOR’S MAY REVISION

The independent California Legislative Analyst’s Office has released initial comments regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revise for the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget.  While depicting the Governor’s proposal as generally balanced, the Legislative Analyst believes that the Legislature will need to actively deliberate a variety of undefined budget reduction proposals, such as a ten percent reduction for state employees.  For example, should the ten percent be straight across the board or should a more surgical approach be taken in consideration of specific department functions, with the end result still being an overall ten percent reduction.

The Analyst also notes that Governor Newsom is requesting significant delegated authority, which would eliminate the Legislature’s traditional consultation, authorization and oversight roles.  The chief executive’s proposal also relies on $15 billion in “trigger cuts” that will occur in the absence of receipt of federal funding through a new relief package or other legislative vehicle.  The Legislature is presently holding hearings regarding the proposed budget.  By law, the Legislature must pass a budget by June 15 in order to allow time for the Governor to consider the final proposal; with the goal of having a new budget in place by the state of the fiscal year on July 1.

UPDATE as of 5:42pm on 5/30/2020

GOVERNOR HIGHLIGHTS CALIFORNIA’S PROGRESS IN FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday outlined significant progress that the State of California is making in the fight against COVID-19.  In the area of testing, over 50,000 daily tests can now be conducted statewide, compared to just 2,000 daily tests ten weeks ago.  The state is increasing its contact tracing capabilities by adding an additional 10,000 trained individuals to the ranks of professional contact tracers by July 1.

The Governor reports that 48 of California’s 58 counties have received state approval to move into Stage 2 of California’s Resilience Roadmap.   Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders and other workers throughout California continues to grow every day.  As California continues to transition from the emergency response phase to a sustained response stage, Governor Newsom and public health officials remind us to continue practicing physical distancing, use face coverings and practice personal hygiene through frequent hand washing.  These three simple actions are some things that each of us can do to limit spread of this deadly disease.

UPDATE as of 5:52pm on 5/29/2020

DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND HAIR SALONS/BARBERSHOPS MAY RE-OPEN

Earlier this afternoon, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued protocols for on-site restaurant dining and hair salons/barbershops to re-open. Included within the new protocols are checklists, which must be fully met before re-opening.   There are no public health or other inspections, or attestations required prior to re-opening.

Once a business can fully meet the performance metrics outlined on individual sector checklists, the facility may re-open.  That is authorized to occur as quickly as today, once the protocols are posted on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov and all benchmarks outlined on the checklists are achieved.  Public health inspectors will continue to be performing their inspections, as they have in the past, and will be adding checklist compliance to their inspections.

The restaurant sector protocol will include sample diagrams, which may be helpful in determining appropriate floor plan configurations.  Department of Public Health staff members are available to assist, should business owners encounter unique situations not contemplated in the protocols.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY RECEIVES COUNTYWIDE VARIANCE

Last Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to authorize the Department of Public Health to submit a countywide variance request to the State of California. The request included the County’s Attestation that it meets a variety of state established health benchmarks. The request was submitted on Wednesday and approved this morning by the California Department of Public Health.  Los Angeles County now becomes California’s 48th county (out of a total of 58 counties) to secure a variance for advancing into Stage 2 recovery. 

As Governor Newsom noted, the role of the state is to issue the guidance on how various sectors of the economy may open, but it is the determination of local health officers as to when that may occur.  California counties are expected to look at the health metrics for their regions and determine the appropriate path forward for reopening businesses.

UPDATE as of 6:06pm on 5/28/2020

GUIDANCE FOR SWIMMING POOL USE

With the weather warming and arrival of summer, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued considerations for owners and operators of aquatic facilities, including homeowners associations or membership clubs.  Some of the information may also be applicable to home pools. While the CDC acknowledges that locally issued public health guidelines should always be followed, the considerations may be useful in establishing protocols and practices that will help keep everyone safe while enjoying their favorite water activities.  Furthermore, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued new protocols for Reopening of Swimming Pools in shared residential facilities, which includes apartments, condominiums and homeowners associations.

I’M CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT’S OPEN IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Over the last few days, the County of Los Angeles has made great progress toward authorizing the re-opening of certain business sectors and recreational venues.  The Department of Public Health issued a one page summary of the Reopening Safer At Work and In the Community health order and sector specific protocols to help residents and business owners sort through the confusion.  If you need additional help, please call the Los Angeles County Information Line at 2-1-1, which is available 24 hours per day/7 days per week.  To provide additional clarity, the City is updating our website to share information specific to Westlake Village.

TIME TO SAFELY CELEBRATE WITH A VEHICLE BASED PARADE: REVISED PROTOCOLS

With social distancing guidelines in place, many of our favorite gathering activities now have a different look.  Many of us are celebrating graduations, birthdays, retirements and other milestone events with vehicle parades.  Earlier this week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued revised protocols for organizing and participating in vehicle parades.  This information updates requirements put out by the department last week.  To avoid an unanticipated problem and keep everyone safe, please check out the amended protocols.

UPDATE as of 6:52pm on 5/26/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO SEEK COUNTYWIDE VARIANCE

Earlier today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to seek a countywide variance from the State of California.  If approved, this action will enable Los Angeles County to join 47 other California counties in moving at an accelerated pace into economic recovery.

In addition to filing the request for a countywide variance tomorrow, Los Angeles County will also be aligning more closely with state health orders.  On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that retailers and houses of worship may re-open statewide under guidelines approved by their respective counties.  An updated Los Angeles County public health order sets out specific guidelines under which local retailers may welcome customers back into their stores and faith based organizations may resume congregational activities.

Unfortunately, in-restaurant dining in Los Angeles County is not yet permitted, but once the State approves the County’s request for a variance, new guidance will be issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health related to that sector.

This action is a modification of a motion that was considered by the Board of Supervisors during their meeting today.  Chair Kathryn Barger and Supervisor Janice Hahn authored a motion last Friday for today’s Board meeting that would have permitted cities within Los Angeles County to seek an in-county variance, provided appropriate health metrics were achieved.

The City Council supported the motion; with Mayor Kelly Honig writing to Supervisor Kuehl and the other Members of the Board of Supervisors outlining that Westlake Village clearly meets the health metrics for receiving an in-county variance. Council Member Ned Davis provided testimony at today’s Board meeting.

Between last Friday and today, Los Angeles County’s health care metrics have improved to the point where the Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Health believe that Los Angeles County meets the benchmarks established by the State of California for issuing a countywide variance.  While there is no set time frame for the State to respond, the typical turnaround in Sacramento is within a day or two.

Click here to view the full Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control of COVID-19 Order.

UPDATE as of 1:35pm on 5/25/2020

MAYOR KELLY HONIG REQUESTS LOCAL VARIANCE FOR WESTLAKE VILLAGE

This week, Mayor Honig sent a letter to Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, respectfully requesting that the City of Westlake Village be granted a variance so that our businesses could begin the process of reopening, on par with businesses in Ventura County that are located literally across the street from Westlake Village businesses.  You can read that letter here.

LA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER LOCAL VARIANCE ISSUE

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will be considering a motion tomorrow to direct “the County Health Officer, working in collaboration with the Chief Executive Offer and County Counsel to work with the State to obtain a partial variance on behalf of interested cities and/or regions within the County.”

Over the weekend, City of Westlake Village Mayor Kelly Honig sent a letter to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who represents our district on the Board of Supervisors, urging her to support the motion. 

Small businesses throughout Westlake Village continue to suffer during the prolonged closures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The City Council has heard the concerns of local businesses and residents, who expressed frustration that other counties are able to move further into Stage 2 recovery, while Los Angeles County is moving at a slower pace.  Last Friday, the City Council held a special Study Session and again heard from local business owners, who now face unfair competition and further economic devastation, as result of Ventura County having received a variance from the State last week.

Unfortunately, time is short to weigh-in on the motion.  The Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 9:30 am, tomorrow—Tuesday, May 26, 2020.  Residents and businesses are urged to contact Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and the members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to express your thoughts regarding the motion.

Supervisor Kuehl may be reached via e-mail at sheila@bos.county.gov or by phone at 213-974-3333 or via her website at https://supervisorkuehl.com/contact/.

If you would like to participate in the meeting, information may be found here.

UPDATE as of 1:05pm on 5/24/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CHANGES COVID-19 DAILY BRIEFING SCHEDULE

The County of Los Angeles has announced a new schedule for their COVID-19 press conferences.  Instead of daily briefings, as has been the practice over the past several weeks, Los Angeles County officials will be conducting media briefings only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  There will not be a press conference due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25.  The next press briefing will be on Wednesday, May 27 beginning at 1:00 p.m.  They are regularly broadcast on most Los Angeles area television stations.  Updated information regarding COVID-19 will continue to be done daily at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov.

UPDATE as of 7:30pm on 5/23/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MODIFIES SAFER AT HOME ORDER

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced yesterday that in anticipation of the Memorial Day holiday and upcoming graduations, Safer At Home restrictions have been modified in three subject areas.

Beach bike paths are now open for active use.  Retails stores and restaurants located within indoor shopping malls are now able to open and offer curbside delivery or take-out only.  Additional information may be found at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/.

Finally, with graduations almost here, but not being conducted in traditional ways, vehicle parades honoring graduates will be permitted.  Parade plans and compliance protocols must be developed by an event host.  Among other requirements, plans will be reviewed by traffic safety professionals at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or California Highway Patrol to ensure safety of parade participants and other users of impacted public roadways.

GOING TO THE BEACH THIS WEEKEND?  SUPERVISOR KUEHL SHARES SOME TIPS.

With great weather expected this weekend, many Southern Californians will be heading to the recently re-opened beaches of Los Angeles County.  Supervisor Sheila Kuehl reminds us all to have an enjoyable experience in the sand at My new video on how to safely return to the beach and still have fun in the sun!

UPDATE as of 5:59pm on 5/21/2020

CITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES SPECIAL STUDY SESSION MEETING TOMORROW TO DISCUSS LOCAL BUSINESS ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The Westlake Village City Council has scheduled a Special City Council Study Session meeting tomorrow, Friday May 21, 2020 at 4pm. The one business item on the agenda is a discussion regarding local business economic recovery. To view the agenda and how to join, please click here.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION HIGHLIGHTS JOB LOSSES AND THE NEED FOR REINVENTING THE NEW ECONOMY

At this week’s meeting of the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Chief Executive Officer Bill Allen presented a report showing over 1 million unemployment claims being filed by County residents with the retail, food service, entertainment and personal care sectors being among the hardest hit.

The comprehensive report breaks down job losses by industry sector, gender, age, ethnicity, and education.  LAEDC also identifies business and geographical sectors that are anticipated to be impacted as recovery moves forward against the backdrop of a continuing COVID-19 emergency.

LA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS REITERATE IMPORTANCE OF USING CLOTH FACE COVERINGS

As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates begin to decline throughout Los Angeles County, public health officials continue to stress the importance of using cloth face coverings when going outside.  While the use of cloth face coverings is not mandatory, the use of face coverings is highly recommended when going out in public or interacting in private spaces with individuals who are not part of your household.  Additionally, businesses may refuse entry or service to anyone not using face coverings. 

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION APPROVES HOME TEST KITS

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an at-home sample collection kit that can be sent to specified labs for COVID-19 testing.  The kit may be used by individuals who have been screened online and completed a questionnaire that is reviewed by a health care provider.  An emergency use authorization has been approved by FDA for Everlywell, Inc. for the new test kit.  The Everlywell home-collection kit is currently the only authorized COVID-19 at-home sample collection kit for use with multiple authorized COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The kit and associated tests are available by prescription only.  More information may be found at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-standalone-home-sample-collection-kit-can-be-used.

UPDATE as of 5:04pm on 5/20/2020

EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT UPDATES FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The California Employment Development Department (EDD), which administers unemployment insurance claims for the State of California, has updated its Frequently Asked Questions.  If you have lost your job or had your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for benefits.  Individuals who may have previously been ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance may be eligible under various new programs created in response to COVID-19.  Experts advise that if you are in doubt about whether or not you qualify for unemployment, file a claim with EDD and let their experts determine your eligibility.

Over 4.7 million claims have been filed with EDD, including over one million claims filed by residents of Los Angeles County, resulting in over $12.3 billion being paid statewide  in unemployment claims.

METROLINK CONTINUES ENHANCING CLEANING PROTOCOLS

While still operating on the modified schedule established on March 26, Metrolink continues to enhance its cleaning protocols and outreach to riders.  Public transit continues to be an important way for many who are unable to telecommute to reach their jobs.  As the economy starts to reopen, more people will be returning to Metrolink.  Additional information may be found at https://metrolinktrains.com/rider-info/safety–security/covid19/coronavirus/?epsremainingpath=coronavirus.

DON’T NEGLECT PERSONAL PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE

Over the past few weeks, as our collective attention has been focused on COVID-19, many important preventative health care checks have been delayed. For example, across the nation mammograms are down by 87%, colonoscopies by 90% and administration of vaccines by 60%.

Many of our health care professionals suspended routine exams, check-ups and preventative screenings to ensure that our health care system was not overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and appropriate levels of personal protective equipment were available.  Most health care professionals are now re-opening their practices.  If you have delayed consulting your health care professionals, please reach out to them, so that important screenings or other preventative actions can be undertaken to protect your health.

UPDATE as of 8:00pm on 5/19/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY TARGETING POTENTIAL JULY 4 REOPENING

Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger announced today that the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force has set a goal of July 4 for reopening Los Angeles County.  The task force held their second meeting today and heard from business leaders regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors of the regional economy. It’s important to note that this goal may not be without limitations and may have additional protocols associated with it.

Los Angeles County is still the epicenter of statewide COVID-19 cases; with 1183 new cases being reported over the past 24 hours, thus bringing the total of countywide cases to 39,573.  While coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County are trending downward, they do not yet meet the statewide benchmark of an 8% positivity rate over a two-week period.

The Westlake Village City Council remains concerned about the extended time frame for reopening businesses throughout Los Angeles County.  The Council is working with County officials to explore the possibility of obtaining regional variances within Los Angeles County.

HOUSE PASSES $3 TRILLION HEROES ACT

Late last Friday night, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.  The $3 trillion measure is the latest in a series of federal relief efforts.  The measure now moves on to the Senate.

Senate Republicans expressed concerns such as that the bill is 50% larger than the CARES Act, which was enacted by Congress on a bi-partisan basis in late March.  The Senate Majority leader suggested that a “pause” is in order to fully assess the real-world impact of earlier legislative efforts.

Almost one-third of the House approved relief bill is devoted to providing state, local and tribal governments with appropriations for vitally needed public services in the wake of economic damage caused by the shut-down of the economy.  Additional provisions related to improving the employee retention credit, expanding and reforming the Paycheck Protection Program and extending unemployment benefit protections were included in the legislation.  While it is anticipated that the Senate will be pressured into ultimately passing another relief measure, the timing and specific provisions able to secure bi-partisan support remain under negotiation.

UPDATE as of 5:41pm on 5/18/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE PARTICPATES IN REGIONAL RECOVERY TASK FORCE

The City of Westlake Village has joined with the cities of Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks and the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce in establishing a Small Business Economic Task Force to work with local businesses as they move toward reopening.  The task force has identified a four-stage set of objectives will guide the work.

Conejo Valley Small Business Economic Task Force Objectives:

Phase 1: Relief

  1. Connect businesses with essential information and assistance to enable them to weather the immediate disruption until an eventual re-opening.
  2. Maintain and encourage as much economic activity as possible within constraints of public health and business process disruption.

Phase 2: Reopening

  1. Support protocols that allow for localized re-openings where conditions meet specified criteria.
  2. Provide clarity to businesses about rules/conditions for re-opening and operating, including allowed options, continuing restrictions, etc.
  3. Support businesses in their re-opening process and communication.

Phase 3:  Recovery/Reinvention

  1. Ensure businesses are aware of, and have access to, non-traditional forms of capital and financial support (e.g. grants, stimulus, etc.)
  2. Identify ways to facilitate local economic activity.
  3. Identify and advocate for public policy and procedural changes to facilitate business activity.
  4. Support businesses in re-hiring and/or replacing workers.
  5. Support businesses in their redesign of business processes, product offerings, customer interfaces, etc.

Resilience

  1. Ensure community participates in, and benefits from, regional efforts to identify new opportunities to expand economy and/or mitigate areas of weakness.
  2. Develop and implement long-term economic growth strategies.
  3. Address pre-existing constraints (e.g. housing).
  4. Support long-term business resiliency strategies.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY RESUMES ISSUING MARRIAGE LICENSES

Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder County Clerk Dean Logan has announced that his office will begin issuing marriage licenses starting today after a two-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 emergency.  Couples seeking a marriage license must make an appointment with the Registrar-Recorder’s office either online or by calling 800-201-8999.  There are some additional requirements, such as:

  • One individual must be a resident of Los Angeles County.
  • Both individuals must be in the same place in the State of California.
  • Both individuals must have valid government identification.
  • Must have an Internet connection and a device with video/audio capabilities (desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone).

Appointments will be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis.

GOVERNOR EXTENDS NOTARY PUBLIC TERMS OF OFFICE

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20, which among other provisions extends for 60 days, beginning May 7, the terms of office for Notary Public whose term has expired since March 1, 2020 or will expire by July 5, 2020.

UPDATE as of 4:50pm on 5/17/2020

HOLLYWOOD BOWL CANCELS SUMMER SEASON

The iconic Hollywood Bowl has announced that its 2020 summer concert season has been cancelled due to COVID-19.  This includes events scheduled June 6 through September 26.  Ticket holders may request a refund, credit toward a future event or donate the value of the unused tickets to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Additional information may be found at https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/faqs/coronavirus-covid-19.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR 2020 CANCELLED

For just the second time in its almost 100 year history, the Los Angeles County Fair has been cancelled.  Originally slated to be held at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona on September 4-27, the annual county fair is being cancelled. Fair officials have taken the extraordinary step in recognition of limitations being placed on large gatherings by state and local public health officials.  Addition information may be found on the Fair’s website at https://www.lacountyfair.com.

UPDATE as of 5:33pm on 5/16/2020

STRUGGLING WITH HOME SCHOOLING?

The Las Virgenes Unified School District and City of Calabasas have partnered to share effective home schooling tips for parents of students at all grade levels.  Distance learning can be challenging.  Fifth grade teacher Jessica Cioffi Wishart shares her professional expertise for achieving successful outcomes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuAGc4T_-9U&feature=youtu.be.

CITY OF LOS ANGELES REQUIRES FACE COVERINGS WHEN LEAVING HOME

Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced an updated Safer At Home order for City of Los Angeles residents.  The Mayor’s new order requires residents of the City of Los Angeles to wear face coverings when leaving their homes.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFERS LOW INCOME RENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR UNINCORPORATED AREA RESIDENTS

If someone you know lives within unincorporated Los Angeles County and needs rental assistance,  they may be eligible for the new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program.  More information about the program can be found at https://2020.211la.org/form/covid-rental-assistance.

UPDATE as of 5:13pm on 5/15/2020

GREAT WEATHER EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND, SO LET’S GET OUTSIDE

The Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department has posted guidelines to ensure safe use of newly reopened recreational amenities throughout the County.  Golf courses; tennis courts; pickleball courts; equestrian centers; archery, trap, skeet and shooting ranges; model airplane areas; and community gardens are reopening for your enjoyment.  While we all need to continue practicing physical distancing and use hand sanitizer or frequently wash our hands, the beautiful weather this weekend is calling us to enjoy the wonderful outdoor recreational activities and spaces that we all have been missing. Please keep in mind Westlake Village City Parks have additional guidelines that can be found here.

BEACHES IN MALIBU AND THROUGHOUT LOS ANGELES COUNTY REOPEN

Los Angeles County announced the first phased re-opening of its beaches for active recreation use only, with mandatory public health protocols in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. State Parks also announced that State-owned beaches in Malibu are also open. The Malibu Pier and all beach parking lots in Malibu remain closed, and no-parking zones are enforced on some areas of PCH in Malibu. 

The City of Malibu urges all out-of-area visitors to be mindful and respectful of the local community, and follow all Los Angeles Department of Public Health protocols if they are out enjoying the beaches in the Malibu area or elsewhere in the county. 

CDC UPDATES GUIDELINES FOR DISINFECTING HOUSEHOLDS

The Centers for Disease Control has issued updated guidelines for individuals seeking to routinely clean their homes and also if someone in the household has contracted COVID-19.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html.

UPDATE as of 5:30pm on 5/14/2020

REVISED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER ALLOWS FOR THE CONDITIONAL REOPENING OF MORE BUSINESSES IN WESTLAKE VILLAGE

With the revised Public Health Order issued yesterday by LA County, City staff have been working closely with Public Health officials to obtain more information on which of Westlake Village’s many great businesses are allowed to reopen. We’re excited to announce that businesses such as our local pet groomers, car wash, and more are now allowed to reopen in a limited form by following the Safer at Home protocols. City staff are working with the LA County Board of Supervisors and their staff on a daily basis to ensure Westlake Village’s unique needs are known and addressed. As we all continue to practice social (physical) distancing, we’ll continue to take the important steps in keeping our community healthy, and on the road to recovery.

GOVERNOR PREDICTS $54 BILLION STATE BUDGET SHORTFALL

Earlier today, Governor Gavin Newsom presented his May Revision to the California Legislature.  Typically, the May Revision is simply an update to the Governor’s January budget proposal; reflecting actual revenues received during the first four months of the calendar year and evolving policy priorities.  This year, in addition to reflecting actual revenues and developing policy priorities, the May Revision serves as the primary budget proposal; given the cataclysmic funding and policy changes brought about since January due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The California Legislature will conduct hearings regarding each element of the Governor’s proposed budget.  Changes are anticipated to be made by the Legislature, as various stakeholders weigh-in regarding specific line items and policy components to be included in the state’s fiscal blueprint.  The Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a budget by June 15, thus enabling the Fiscal Year 2020-21 spending plan to become operative on July 1, 2020.

The Fiscal Year 2020-21 California State Budget is proposed at $203 billion overall, with $133.9 billion in general fund expenditures.  This represents a 9.4% decrease from the current year.  The Governor identified four core values around which the new budget proposal is built:

            1. Public Education

            2. Public Health

            3. Public Safety

            4. Californians hard hit by COVID-19

The state’s chief executive is anticipating that the budget deficit may reach approximately $54.3 billion.  State revenues have fallen dramatically.  For example, sales tax revenue is anticipated to be down by 27.2%, personal income tax will fall by 25.5% and corporate income tax will likely decline by 22.7%.

The Westlake Village City Council and staff will continue monitoring the state’s budget process in an effort to ensure that revenue and policy decisions important to our community are maximized.  Unfortunately, the City of Westlake Village is not immune from the economic downturn.  Over the next few weeks, the City Council and staff will continue developing our local spending plan for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2020. Please visit wlv.org for more information regarding upcoming City Council meetings.

UPDATE as of 6:15pm on 5/13/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MODIFIES SAFER AT HOME ORDER

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health today announced additional modifications to the Safer At Home Order, as part of the Roadmap to Recovery.  The new order allows all retailers within Los Angeles County to open, except those located within indoor malls.  The State of California has not yet authorized indoor malls to reopen.  Retailers may only offer curbside pick-up or delivery services, as customers are not allowed within businesses.   Manufacturing operations that supply the open, low-risk retailers are also permitted to resume operations. Click here to view the REVISED HEALTH ORDER.

Businesses that are reopening are reminded that they must be in compliance with Department of Public Health requirements; which include employees and customers wearing face coverings, appropriate physical distancing, hand washing, surface sanitizing and compliance posting.

County health officials are also permitting additional outdoor recreational activities to include tennis, pickle ball, equestrian activities, community gardens and bike paths to reopen, while employing appropriate safety protocols.

COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR CLARIFIES REMARKS

This afternoon, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer clarified remarks she made yesterday during the Board of Supervisors meeting related to extension of the Safer At Home Order. Dr. Ferrer acknowledged and apologized for inadvertently leaving the impression that the Safer At Home Order was being extended through July without modification. 

While the Safer At Home Order is broad-based, it does allow for modifications, as local health conditions warrant.  County health officials are continually reviewing regional COVID-19 case data and authorizing changes, as appropriate.  For example, certain low-risk businesses and recreational venues have been reopened under modified Safer At Home Orders and Dr. Ferrer outlined that will continue as part of the County’s Roadmap to Recovery.  

CALIFORNIA PHARMACISTS WILL SOON BE CONDUCTING COVID-19 TESTING

Governor Newsom has announced that the California Department of Consumer Affairs and State Board of Pharmacy will allow pharmacists to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers. The specimens will be delivered to and processed at public health, university or commercial labs. The expansion of testing locations is part of the statewide strategy to increase testing within the State of California, leading to increased modifications of the Stay At Home Order

UPDATE as of 5:57pm on 5/12/2020

MAYOR ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF

Westlake Village Mayor Kelly Honig and the Members of the City Council want local small businesses to know that the City of Westlake Village has partnered with the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation and cities of Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks in launching the new Conejo Valley Small Business Relief Fund.

The fund, which will be administered through the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce is designed to assist Conejo Valley businesses with less than 25 employees.  Information regarding donating to the fund may be found at the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, which can be reached at: 805-370-0035 or via email at: chamber@conejochamber.org.

STATE CONTINUES TO ISSUE MODIFICATIONS TO STAY AT HOME ORDER FOCUSED ON REOPENING CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMY

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that new state guidelines have been issued leading to the reopening of offices where telecommuting has not been an option; indoor and outdoor shopping malls, strip malls and outlet malls, with curbside deliveries only; pet grooming facilities; outdoor museums; and botanical gardens. While the state has issued modifications, individual counties may enact and enforce more restrictive measures dependent upon the local impacts of COVID-19.  For example, only those counties that have received an approved variance may move toward reopening dine-in restaurants.  More complete information regarding the statewide modifications may be found at https://covid19.ca.gov.

While Los Angeles County is moving forward as quickly as possible to reopen various segments of the economy, it is acknowledged that the County will moving cautiously to lift restrictions.   Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has advised the Board of Supervisors that the Safer At Home Order will likely be extended until July.  Additional information may be found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BEACHES TOMORROW WITH RESTRICTIONS

Starting tomorrow, beaches in Los Angeles County are slated to reopen for active use only.  Active uses include walking, jogging, and directly accessing the water for surfing and swimming.  Group gatherings, such as playing volleyball or other games, or static activities, such as sunbathing, are not allowed.  Face coverings must be worn while on the sand or nearby paths. Beach parking lots, bike paths, piers, and boardwalks will remain closed. Further information regarding beaches reopening, permitted activities and restrictions may be found at https://beaches.lacounty.gov.

UPDATE as of 5:11pm on 5/11/2020

WESTERN STATES PACT SENDS LETTER TO CONGRESS REQUESTING STATE AND LOCAL DIRECT RELIEF

The Governors and legislative leaders of five states have sent a joint letter to Congress requesting enactment of a $1 trillion state and local government relief package.   The five states working together as the Western States Pact are California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  Congressional leaders are currently considering another relief bill, which is anticipated to contain provisions providing direct funding to state and local governments; most of which are struggling under the dramatic drop of revenues due to the economic slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later this week, Governor Newsom will be presenting his May Revision to the Legislature, outlining his proposed Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget.  Just this past January, the Governor presented a proposed budget showing a healthy surplus.  As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the state now anticipates falling into a $54 billion deficit next year. 

METRO AND LAX REQUIRING USE OF FACE COVERINGS STARTING TODAY

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is requiring that all patrons using Metro’s bus and rail system wear face coverings, beginning today.  Previously, use of face coverings by Metro riders was only a recommendation.  More information may be found at https://thesource.metro.net/2020/05/07/metro-to-require-use-of-face-coverings-by-riders-on-metro-buses-and-trains-beginning-monday-may-11/.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is now requiring that everyone within the terminals at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) wear face coverings. LAWA issued a press release outlining both the face covering directive for individuals while in the terminals and expectations of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for passengers passing through security checkpoints.

UPDATE as of 5:07pm on 5/10/2020

HIT THE TRAILS AND ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER

Los Angeles County is reopening public trails and trailheads to allow residents increased outdoor recreation options. Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. Using recreational and multi-use trails can be an important way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with nature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucially important that you follow the DO’s and DON’Ts outlined by public health officials, in order to use public trails in a way that keeps you and other users healthy.  Guidance regarding the use of  trails may be found at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/protocols/Reopening-Trails.pdf.

NEED NEW WHEELS?  L.A. COUNTY CAR DEALERS ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Los Angeles County has authorized automobile dealers to reopen their sales departments utilizing specific protocols.  Whether you purchase your car in Los Angeles County or Ventura County, call the dealership ahead of time to verify their hours of operation and specific requirements they may have regarding sales, test drives, showroom accessibility or use of other facilities.  More information regarding how dealerships in Los Angeles County may operate and interact with customers may be located at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/protocols/Reopening-CarDealerships.pdf.

I’VE LOST MY JOB—NOW WHAT?

As expected, the April jobs report released on Friday morning was devastating.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 20.5 million jobs were lost across the nation during the month of April. The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March, as thousands of businesses closed and laid off or furloughed workers they could no longer afford to employ. The one-month rise in the unemployment rate between March and April is the largest ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you have lost your job or had your hours reduced, you are likely eligible for one of several different unemployment programs offered through the California Employment Development Department (EDD).  Three programs, covering almost every worker, are available through EDD; traditional unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment insurance or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.  Traditional unemployment insurance covers individuals working for someone else.  Pandemic unemployment assistance is designed for small business owners, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those people with a limited work history or others who do not fall within traditional unemployment insurance categories.  Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation is for individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits dating back to July 2019.

Regardless of the circumstances related to your unemployment, reduction in hours or whether you think you may qualify for benefits, go online at edd.ca.gov and file an application.  With so many different situations growing out of the COVID-19 pandemic, let the experts at EDD determine your eligibility.

Currently, it’s taking approximately 21 days for benefits to be received, once a complete filing is made for unemployment insurance.  Unemployment insurance experts advise that if you file for unemployment, be sure to answer the questions completely and truthfully; thus ensuring that you will have the best opportunity at receiving benefits as quickly as possible.

UPDATE as of 4:42pm on 5/9/2020

COUNTY ESTABLISHES RULES FOR SELECT RETAILERS TO REOPEN FOR BUSINESS

The County of Los Angeles is adopting a staged approach, supported by science and public health expertise, to allow certain retail businesses to safely reopen. The requirements are specific to retail establishments permitted to reopen for curbside pick-up in conformance with the Governor’s Guidance issued on May 7, 2020. In addition to the conditions imposed on these retail businesses by the Governor, the businesses must also be in compliance with the conditions laid out in the Checklist for Retail Establishments Opening for Curbside Pickup. Retail business allowed to reopen beginning today to include florists and toy, book, clothing, music and sporting goods stores.  Our wonderful local businesses look forward to welcoming you back!

GOLF COURSES REOPENING

As part of the effort focused on reopening businesses and recreational opportunities, the County of Los Angeles is authorizing golf courses to reopen.  The Public Health Department requires all golf courses to take appropriate steps for implementing a safe reopening for employees and customers.  Individual golf courses may welcome golfers once the facility meets the County’s reopening requirements.  Golfers are asked to strictly follow the guidelines established by public health officials to ensure a safe experience for everyone.  Rules and guidelines related to the reopening of golf courses may be found at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/protocols/Reopening-GolfCourses.pdf.

VENTURA COUNTY ISSUES NEW STAY WELL VC ORDER

In response to the Governor issuing new guidance for retailers, manufacturers and warehouse operations, the County of Ventura has issued a new Stay Well VC Order to be more aligned with the state order. Don’t forget, the City of Westlake Village is located in Los Angeles County and thus is required to follow LA County’s Public Health Orders.

UPDATE as of 6:20pm on 5/8/2020

A Message From Kelly Honig – Mayor Of Westlake Village

May 8, 2020

Over the last several weeks of physical distancing, we have seen the COVID-19 curve flatten across California.  However, we live in a county that has more than half of all the total COVID-19 deaths in the entire state.  This means we must all continue to be vigilant.   It is also why the L.A. County Department of Public Health is requiring a phased approached to the re-opening of businesses and recreational venues.

We are going to continue to keep our community safe, while at the same time working alongside our business partners to re-open with appropriate physical distancing protocols. This pandemic is a challenge on many fronts, but we have risen to the occasion and with your help we will continue to meet these challenges with strength and determination. We must continue to embody this spirit of collaboration and cooperation with each step we take.

New Los Angeles County guidelines today allow some retail stores to open with curbside pick-up only, they include bookstores, florists, clothing and shoe stores, sporting goods stores, toy stores and music stores. Golf courses, trails and car dealerships can also open, provided they follow strict protocols for physical distance and face covers. You can visit some of our local parks again for walking, jogging, and biking; however, any group gatherings, sports and playground use are still prohibited. You must still wear your face covering when entering businesses.

I know many people want more to re-open. One question we have received is about private community swimming pools and why they cannot re-open. We also hear people ask why a certain business is not listed on the approved county business re-opening list. It is important to know that the City cannot make these decisions to allow these entities to open. These decisions are made by the LA County Department of Public Health and our city is required to follow these orders.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all the moms in our community a Happy Mother’s Day. This is a very unique Mother’s Day as we are celebrating apart and relying on creative ways to feel connected to those we cherish. As a mom, I’d like to offer a special thank you to the mothers in our community who are working the front lines. Thank you for your diligence in helping to protect our community. 

While we are not necessarily moving past this pandemic just yet, this week we are making progress towards re-opening.  This is a good sign and one we want to continue.  Please continue your great efforts to remain six feet apart, wear face coverings when you go out, and don’t forget to stay positive!

It is truly an honor to be your mayor. We will get through this together!

Sincerely,

Kelly Honig

Mayor

UPDATE as of 5:45pm on 5/7/2020

LA COUNTY TO RELEASE REVISED PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER ORDER TOMORROW

LA County Officials have announced that as we prepare to enter ‘Stage 2’ of ‘Reopening Safely in Los Angeles County’ a revised Public Health Officer Order will be issued tomorrow on Friday, May 8th. This Official Health Officer Order will outline the specifics of what businesses are permitted to reopen and how. The City will have this revised Public Health Order available at www.wlv.org as soon as it is released. Please stay tuned to the City’s website and social media for updates as the situation evolves.

GOVERNOR AUTHORIZES REOPENING OF CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMY

Earlier today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new guidance under California’s Pandemic Roadmap Stage 2, leading to low-risk retailers, manufacturers and warehouses being able to open beginning Friday, May 8.  The Governor also outlined the regional variance program, which will enable counties meeting specified criteria and utilizing health data to move aggressively toward reopening their local economies.  Regional variance guidelines will be issued on Tuesday, May 12 and posted on the California Department of Public Health website.  The Governor reiterated that the state’s decisions related to COVID-19 and reopening particular sectors of the economy are based upon science, data and public health.

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES BEGINS PROCESS TOWARD ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Los Angeles County Chair Pro Tem Hilda Solis announced that beginning Friday, in tandem with the Governor’s modified order enabling low-risk business sectors to reopen, certain businesses located within the County will be able to open their doors.   Florists, toy stores, music stores, sporting goods stores, and book stores may reopen under directives calling for curbside deliveries and adherence to protocols issued by the Department of Public Health.

These protocols include employers being required to provide face cloth coverings for all employees to wear while performing duties that involve contact with others.  Businesses must limit the number of people entering the location, so that a physical distance of at least six feet can be maintained at all times by employees and customers.  Furthermore, businesses must allow for frequent hand washing by their employees or have hand sanitizer readily available when hand washing is not possible.  Some employers may have to stagger shifts to ensure that individuals can remain at safe distances from one another.  Customers will be required to follow measures put in place by the business and wear face cloth coverings in order to enter the business or secure curbside purchases.

The County of Los Angeles has issued a one-page summary of  the Roadmap to Recovery, and a more extensive presentation outlining the steps toward reopening business and public spaces throughout the County.

Golf courses and trails will also be reopening, beginning Saturday, May 9.  Beaches throughout Los Angeles County remain closed, but are anticipated to reopen in the near future.  Golf courses may reopen, provided that specific safety guidelines and restrictions are followed.  For example, golf courses must limit groups of four players per tee time.  Physical distancing must be practiced at all times and no group gathering will be allowed anywhere on the course, within course facilities or in parking lots.  Rental clubs and push carts will not be available.  Use of golf carts is limited to single riders.  Clubhouses and pro shops remain closed.  Restaurants, cafes or other food service facilities are limited to take-out only.  More information may regarding golf course reopening may be found at https://parks.lacounty.gov/covid-19/.

County trails will be open.  Physical distancing must be practiced and trail users over the age of 2 are required to wear cloth face coverings at trailheads, parking lots and while on the trails.  Groups are limited to those members of your immediate household.  Download the Trails LA County mobile app for real time updates and trail information. Additional information regarding Los Angeles County trails may be found at https://trails.lacounty.gov.

GOVERNOR ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER RELATED TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, which outlines new regulations related to workers’ compensation specific to COVID-19.  The new Executive Order presumes that if an employee working outside of their home, while the state Stay At Home Order is in effect, contracts COVID-19, that exposure is presumed to have occurred within the scope of individual’s employment.  The order is retroactive to March 19 and extends through July 5, 2020.

The California Chamber of Commerce recommends that employers should ensure they are in full compliance with federal, state and local health mandates and guidance for minimizing or preventing employee exposure to COVID-19.  The Chamber also suggests that employers coordinate closely with their Human Resources Departments and legal counsel regarding the change.  Additional information regarding the California Chamber of Commerce’s advice may be found at https://advocacy.calchamber.com/2020/05/07/governors-workers-compensation-order-presume-covid-19-illness-arises-from-the-job/.

UPDATE as of 5:49pm on 5/6/2020

Earlier today, LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Barger announced that Stage 2 of the phased approach to ‘Reopening Safely in Los Angeles County’ will being this Friday, May 8th. This initial step as part of Stage 2 will allow for the limited reopening of certain businesses such as florists, some retailers, car dealerships, golf courses, and trails. Supervisor Barger stated “This list is less about what products are sold and more about the ability to maintain social distancing. We are finalizing the details and we’ll have all the information and guidelines for businesses up on our website before the order goes into effect.” The exact details of the Stage 2 phased reopening will be provided in a revised Public Health Officer Order expected to be released in the next 24 hours. The City will have this revised Public Health Order available here as soon as it is released. Please stay tuned to the City’s website and social media for updates as the situation evolves.

UPDATE as of 5:21pm on 5/5/2020

GOVERNOR PROVIDES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING REOPENING CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMY

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he will be issuing a modified Stay At Home Order on Thursday, May 7, which will enable low risk businesses and public spaces to open as early as Friday, May 8.  While the Governor’s announcement lacked many specifics, a press release issued by his office late yesterday provides a few additional details.  It is anticipated that more general information will be made available later today and tomorrow, with the detailed announcement being made on Thursday, through signing of an Executive Order.  The press release may be accessed at https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/05/04/governor-newsom-provides-update-on-californias-progress-toward-stage-2-reopening/.

VENTURA COUNTY FAIR CANCELLED

Yesterday, the Ventura County Fair Board voted to cancel the 2020 Ventura County Fair.  The Fair was scheduled to run from August 5 through August 16, 2020.  Additional information regarding the Board’s action may be found at https://www.venturacountyfair.org/2020/05/board-of-directors-votes-to-cancel-2020-vc-fair/.

CISA UPDATES INFORMATION REGARDING THREATS TO NATION’S TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) advises that threats against critical information and technology systems continue to grow.  Earlier today, CISA updated their guidance.  As the COVID-19 pandemic requires more telecommuting, online conferences, educating at home and other increased uses of our nation’s technology infrastructure, there are more opportunities for disruption of vital information and communications links.  CISA is providing a variety of resources to raise awareness of the continuing threat to critical information systems and vital supply chains.  For more information, please visit https://www.cisa.gov/nrmc-scrm.

UPDATE as of 5:56pm on 5/4/2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES MODIFICATIONS TO STAY AT HOME ORDER TO ENABLE CERTAIN BUSINESSES TO REOPEN LATER THIS WEEK

Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier today that he intends to issue a modified Stay At Home Order on Thursday, enabling the reopening of certain sectors of the economy.  The Governor announced that low-risk retailers and manufacturing will be able to reopen as early as Friday, provided they are in compliance with local health guidelines.  This means that while the State may allow limited openings, the final decision will be up to the local agency such as the Los Angeles County Public Health Officer. Retail sectors highlighted, as examples of stores that will be allowed to reopen with curbside pick-up, include clothing stores, bookstores, toy stores, sporting goods retailers, music stores and florists.  It is anticipated that additional information will come forward during the week, culminating in the issuance of a modified order on Thursday, May 7.

In-restaurant dining, offices and shopping malls will remain closed.  Future orders relating to these and other Phase 2 business sectors will be addressed at a later time.  Restaurant delivery and takeout may continue, as currently permitted.

Counties will self-certify that they meet health protocols outlined by the state for reopening various elements of the economy.  It is expected that there will be regional variation, depending upon dynamics of the COVID-19 virus within each county.  Both Los Angeles County and Ventura County expect to make modifications of their safer at home orders later in the week, based upon local conditions.

MEALS ON WHEELS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEER DRIVERS

Meals on Wheels is looking for drivers and substitute drivers to deliver meals to individuals who are temporarily or permanently incapacitated or staying at home in compliance with applicable health orders. As local residents continue to abide by Los Angeles County’s Safer At Home Order, there continues to be growing demand for home delivered meals.

Drivers supply their own car and operating expenses to deliver the meals.  Most drivers only drive one day a week or substitute as needed to fill vacancies. If you are interested in sharing your time to help neighbors in need, please call 805.370.4295 or e-mail debbie@mealsonwheels-wlv.org.

SUPERVISOR KUEHL REMINDS US THAT MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is highlighting the partnership between the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health and We Rise LA.  We Rise 2020: Virtual May is a month-long spotlight on well-being and healing through art, music, and creative expression.  Take the Supervisor’s advice and check it out at https://werise.la.

UPDATE as of 3:36pm on 5/3/2020

JPL PROVIDES FREE BLUEPRINTS TO MEDICAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS FOR VENTILATOR PRODUCTION

A new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use under the FDA’s March 24 ventilator Emergency Use Authorization.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the device was developed by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California to free up the nation’s limited supply of traditional ventilators, so they may be used on patients with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which manages JPL for NASA, is offering a free license for VITAL and is reaching out to the commercial medical industry to find manufacturers for the device.  More information may be found at nasa.gov/coronavirus.

GOVERNOR BUILDS REOPENING CALIFORNIA ON SIX INDICATORS

During the past couple of weeks, Governor Newsom has outlined the actions necessary to reopen California’s economy.  He references six indicators that will be employed in making decisions modifying the state’s Stay At Home Order. The link to the indicators may be found at https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/California-Roadmap-to-Modify-the-Stay-at-Home-Order.pdf

At his Friday press briefing, the Governor alluded to recent data demonstrating positive trends in the fight against COVID-19.  He expressed optimism that he will be able to announce modifications of the Stay At Home Order, beginning as soon as this week.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL UPDATES INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ADVISORY

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its international travel advisory.  The advisory notes the status of COVID-19 in various countries.  For those who may have need to travel internationally, information may be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.

UPDATE as of 5:35pm on 5/2/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY COVID-19 CASES – BY THE NUMBERS

As the month of April closed out, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that there have been 23,182 COVID-19 cases reported throughout the county.  Six cases have been reported in the City of Westlake Village, reflecting the great job that the residents of our community have done in preventing spread of this deadly disease.  Keep up the good work!  Additional information regarding countywide statistics may be found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/locations.htm.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY DECLARES MAY AS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger on Friday declared May as Mental Health Awareness Month.  The County is partnering with Headspace to provide support and resources during this challenging time.  More information may be found at https://www.headspace.com/lacounty.

ASSESSOR REMINDS BUSINESSES OF MAY 7 DEADLINE FOR FILING BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENTS

A month ago, the County of Los Angeles announced the Safer at Home order, directing non-essential businesses to suspend operations that cannot be handled remotely from home. The Assessor’s Office understands that many of you are facing difficult decisions every day regarding your ability to pay staff, rent, mortgages, and taxes. The Assessor is working to make filing business property statements as convenient as possible.

Separate from property taxes paid on real estate, businesses pay business personal property taxes on equipment, machinery, and furniture with an aggregate total value of $5,000 or more. The Assessor’s Office identifies taxable business property using various types of Business Property Statements filed by taxpayers and via an “in the field” review by appraisers. The applicable statement is due by April 1, with a penalty applied to statements filed after May 7. Nonprofits must also file Business Property Statements.  Additional information may be obtained through the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office at https://assessor.lacounty.gov.

UPDATE as of 5:08pm on 5/1/2020

SECOND ROUND SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUNDS ARE GOING FAST

The second round of federal funding for small businesses was made available earlier this week and is going fast.  An additional $310 billion has been made available for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers forgivable loans to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

These funds are being administered by local lending institutions. The additional money now includes $60 billion to be lent by smaller banking institutions such as credit unions so that very small businesses or female and minority-owned businesses have a greater likelihood of getting a loan. The legislation also includes $50 billion more for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL).  More information about both programs may be found at sba.gov.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW CHILDCARE PORTAL

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new portal to help parents, including essential workers and vulnerable families, find safe, reliable and accessible child care options.

The new portal is available at covid19.ca.gov/childcare and enables parents to enter their location and the type of care they need, instantly receiving a list of local center-based and family child care programs. The list of open licensed child care programs will include health and safety information, age of children accepted, capacity, availability, hours, and contact information for the program and local Child Care Resource and Referral agency. The Child Care Resource and Referral agencies can answer general questions, including those about child care subsidies.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19 TESTING IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY?

In recent days, there have been a number of news reports about the availability of testing throughout Los Angeles County.  The County of Los Angeles has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in an effort to ensure that timely and accurate information relating to testing is easily accessible.

UPDATE as of 5:56pm on 4/30/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS

Tomorrow is the first day of a new month and the day that residential and commercial rents are typically due.  Over the past few weeks, many of our community’s residents have lost their jobs, seen their hours cut back, or been placed on furlough, and as such, may be unable to pay their rent.  Small business owners have closed their doors or watched their revenues drop and could be unable make their rent payments.  The Westlake Village City Council understands these situations and has provided a relief mechanism.

On March 17, 2020, the City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 278-U20  establishing a temporary eviction moratorium.  The ordinance allows for the deferment of rent payments under specified conditions and prohibits evictions of residential or commercial tenants due to non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 related circumstances.  The urgency ordinance requires that tenants communicate in writing with their landlords.  Furthermore, the local statute enables rent payments to be postponed, not eliminated.  Please read the ordinance to determine how it may apply to your individual situation.   Should you require additional assistance, City staff is happy to assist you at (818) 706-1613. 

STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES REMAIN IN PLACE

Even though the White House has announced that federal coronavirus social distancing guidelines will expire at the end of today and not be renewed, the State of California Stay At Home Order and County of Los Angeles Safer At Home Order remain in effect.  Additionally, the City of Westlake Village, County of Los Angeles and State of California have not ended the COVID-19 emergency declarations.  The threat of COVID-19 is still high our community and we must continue to be vigilant in practicing recommended social distancing and personal hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.

BEACH CLOSURES

While the topic of a statewide closure of all California beaches has been in the news over the past few days, Governor Newsom has opted to limit state-ordered beach closures to beaches owned by the State of California and all beaches in Orange County.  Local ordinances related to beach closures remain in place in all other California counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

All beaches in Los Angeles County remain closed.  Ventura County beaches have limited access.  The Governor continues to be concerned about images from last weekend that showed large crowds gathering at the state’s beaches, particularly in Orange and Ventura counties.  In spite of the hot weather, local residents are reminded to stay home and enjoy appropriate outdoor recreational opportunities in your neighborhood.  By avoiding large gatherings at the beach and other locations we can all stay safe.

UPDATE as of 5:23pm on 4/29/2020

GOVERNOR SOLICITS HELP FROM ALL CALIFORNIANS IN BUILDING THE ROADMAP FOR COMMUNITY RESILIENCY

Yesterday, Governor Newsom outlined a four-phase plan for California’s economic recovery.  As part of California’s efforts to modify the Stay-at-Home order, the state is building a roadmap for resiliency.  All Californians are asked to be a part of that effort in helping to inform the development of guidance for various sectors of the state’s economy.  Information learned from a wide range of input will assist in the reopening of all California businesses.  Whether you are a business owner, employee or customer, your input is vital to ensuring that the best possible plan is created.  Please share your thoughts through the survey at https://input.covid19.ca.gov/#top.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY UNVEILS ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

On Tuesday, April 28, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt a motion by Chair Kathryn Barger and Chair Pro Tem Hilda Solis outlining the county’s road to recovery.  The multi-faceted plan is designed to dovetail with the state plan announced by Governor Gavin Newsom.  Both plans will rely heavily on input from health care professionals to ensure that successful efforts to fight growth of COVID-19 remain intact.  Additional information related to the Board’s action may be found at https://kathrynbarger.lacounty.gov/supervisor-barger-introduces-los-angeles-county-roadmap-to-economic-recovery/.

LAS VIRGENES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFERS IN HOME SCREENING OF DOCUMENTARY ON THE TOPIC OF ANXIETY

The Las Virgenes Unified School District (LVUSD) recognizes the uncertainty that the COVID-19 emergency has created.  In an effort to assist families in discussing the anxiety that the emergency is causing, the District is offering a free screening of the critically acclaimed one-hour documentary Angst for interested members of the LVUSD community.  There documentary normalizes conversations about anxiety and helps individuals and families connect with their feelings and discover strategies and resources to provide support.  A family discussion guide accompanies the film, which will be available for home viewing by your family during the week of May 4.  If you are interested in this unique opportunity, please view the trailer and register at Community360.me/events.  Additional information may also be found at lvusd.org.

UPDATE as of 6:12pm on 4/28/2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ROADMAP TOWARD REOPENING STATE’S BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE CENTERS

At today’s daily media briefing, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the four stages necessary to fully reopen the state’s businesses, schools and childcare centers.  The announcement falls within one of the Governor’s previously outlined six indicators necessary to modify Stay-At-Home Orders.  The first phase, currently underway, is the planning element that generally categorizes enterprises into four broad sectors.  The reopening of certain businesses, schools and childcare facilities will occur during the second phase.  Gyms, personal care salons and other venues requiring close personal contact are grouped within the third phase.  The fourth phase will encompass reopening stadiums, concert venues and convention centers, where large groups of people come together.  While no specific time frames were promised, the Governor indicated that  modifications of the state’s Stay-At-Home Orders will be data driven and based on science.  They will also be based upon Californians continuing to practice appropriate physical distancing and employing personal protection and hygiene, including hand washing.

As part of the reopening process, schools are expected to be incorporated into the second phase consideration.  There is some discussion regarding reopening schools statewide at an earlier time then would traditionally happen.  Conversations with health care and education professionals are ongoing and no decisions have been made. 

IT’S TAKEOUT TUESDAY

Once again, it is Takeout Tuesday; the opportunity to support our community’s restaurants.  Westlake Village is home to wonderful restaurants and by purchasing meals at our favorite local eateries, we can help many of our friends and neighbors in the food service industry keep their jobs.  It is also a great opportunity to check out new taste sensations that we’ve been wanting to experience.  A list of local restaurants offering take out and/or delivery has been assembled by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce at https://www.conejochamber.org/wlvrestaurants.

COPING WITH OUR NEW LIVES

Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, reminds everyone that should you, family members or friends be experiencing stress or feeling anxious, unsettled or disconnected during these uncertain and unprecedented times, help is available.  A variety of resources are immediately accessible at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/covid19-2/coping-with-stress/.

UPDATE as of 5:49pm on 4/27/2020

FILING FOR PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BEGINS TOMORROW

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) will begin accepting online claims tomorrow for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  Business owners, independent contractors, self-employed individuals and others not typically eligible for unemployment benefits may be eligible under the PUA program.  You can file a PUA claim through UI Online, just as you would for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  For more information regarding eligibility and filing procedures, please visit edd.ca.gov.

DMV WAIVES LATE REGISTRATION PENALTIES AND FEES

Using the authority granted under Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-57-20, the Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that it is waving late registration penalties and fees for renewals due between March 16 and May 31, 2020.  Individual Identification Cards expiring on or after March 4 are also extended to June 22, 2020.  More information about these and other changes to DMV procedures and deadlines may be found at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/newsrel/2020/2020_18.

ASSEMBLY MEMBER JACQUI IRWIN HOSTS TELE-TOWN HALLS

Westlake Village’s representatives in the California Legislature have been hosting weekly Tele-Town Halls to provide pertinent information relating to the COVID-19 emergency.  Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin has made recordings of past Tele-Town Halls and information on how you may join future calls available on her website at https://a44.asmdc.org.

Assembly Member Irwin’s website also contains a dedicated page to the coronavirus at https://a44.asmdc.org/novel-coronavirus-information-and-resources, as well as information how her office can assist Westlake Village residents with problems related to state agencies, such as unemployment insurance claims.

UPDATE as of 4:10pm on 4/26/2020

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19 AND YOUR PETS

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control has put together information about COVID-19 and pets.  Check it out at https://animalcare.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID19-Flyer-2020-Final.pdf.

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES BEGINS ANNUAL BUDGET PROCESS

While the Westlake Village City Council held it’s first of several budget Study Sessions last week, at their meeting next Tuesday, April 28, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will be receiving a report from Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai regarding the county’s Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget.  As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the County anticipates losing up to $1billion in sales tax revenue this fiscal year, which ends June 30.  The revenue decline could surpass $2 billion between now and the end of Fiscal Year 2021, which ends on June 30, 2021.  Learn more about the county’s anticipated budget projections and potential impacts to County services by visiting the Board of Supervisors website at bos.lacounty.gov.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO DISCUSS STRATEGY FOR SAFELY REOPENING THE COUNTY

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will begin discussions and consider a motion next Tuesday, April 28, toward implementation of strategies for safely reopening the county.  The Board of Supervisors will be seeking to develop reopening and recovery pathways that are compatible and complimentary with Governor Newsom’s six critical indicators for modifying the state’s “Safe At Home” order and the President’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines.  A copy of the motion authored by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis may be found at http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/145441.pdf.

UPDATE as of 5:04pm on 4/25/2020

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OPENS COOLING CENTERS

In anticipation of extreme heat this weekend, Los Angeles County has opened emergency cooling centers.  These are free, air-conditioned locations.  If you want to take advantage of a cooling center, you will be required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.  Additional information regarding the location of cooling centers throughout Los Angeles County may be found at https://lacounty.gov/heat/. Health officials remind us to drink plenty of water this weekend.

MALIBU REMINDS EVERYONE TO STAY AT HOME IN SPITE OF RECORD HEAT

In spite of wanting to escape record heat by heading to the coast, we are reminded that all beaches, parks, trails and parking areas in Malibu remain closed. The City of Malibu is putting out widespread messaging to urge residents of neighboring communities not to travel to Malibu during the warm weather this weekend. The Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Lifeguards, Volunteers on Patrol and CERT will be out this weekend to help enforce the closures of all beaches, beach parking lots, trails, and parks, and the temporary no-parking zones along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Malibu and surrounding areas during the stay at home orders. Violations of the closures could result in citations and fines. The City of Malibu urges local residents to help protect our seniors and vulnerable people by staying safe at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, and enjoy the outdoors locally in your backyard, walking or cycling in your neighborhood.

FIRE CHIEF RECOMMENDS STARTING TO PREPARE FOR WILDFIRE SEASON

Even though the COVID-19 emergency continues to be at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby reminds us that the danger of wildfires is growing, as we transition away from the rainy months of winter and early spring to the dry months.  The Fire Department encourages us all to start planning now.  A great way to start that planning process is by getting a copy of the preparation and prevention brochure Ready! Set! Go! at

UPDATE as of 4:44pm on 4/24/2020

A Message From Mayor Kelly Honig, City of Westlake Village

Spring 2020

Normally at this time of year, I would be excited to share with you all the wonderful outdoor events and happenings for our residents in beautiful Westlake Village. But not this year.

With the onset of the COVOD-19 pandemic,  our city, our region, and our nation are facing a challenge unlike any of us have experienced before. We have added new terms to our vocabulary like physical distancing and self-quarantine. Our children are attending school on-line, and we are working from home. Our social lives have totally changed, we have taken financial hits with lost jobs and revenue, and we face daily uncertainties for even the simplest of tasks. And through it all, the people of Westlake Village have diligently shown strength through their kind and caring actions toward others and adherence to County Health Orders.

Although our city hall doors are closed,  your City leaders and staff are still working for you. We recognize how difficult these past few weeks have been for everyone and share your burden of a drastically altered lifestyle. But our City and its community partners are figuring out ways to meet each new challenge. We are working remotely while still maintaining our local government and will continue to devise new ways to provide the services our community needs.

The City Council is holding regular city council meetings via the Internet which you can access on Zoom or through our City website at www.WLV.org.

We are meeting remotely with our state and federal legislators and partners regularly to assure that our City receives its fair share of funding from county, state, and federal levels of government.

We stepped up our communication with you by adding a new dedicated emergency information website, (ReadyWLV.org), which provides up to date information on health, business and community information to help keep our residents informed, and we have videotaped a series of messages from the City Council to provide you with up-to-date information.

We created a virtual recreation program that includes fitness and mindfulness, activities, games, recipes, arts, culture, museums, reading and learning, plus several ways to stay connected. Check it out at: https://readywlv.org/services/.

We have also begun our “Right at Home in Westlake Village” campaign to share positive  stories of hope and help on our Facebook page and in our city newsletter. These messages, whether they be art projects made by community members, acts of kindness done for neighbors, or humorous Zoom videos, showcase the unique and special city that we are all fortunate to call our home.

In the coming months, as we begin to  resume at least some of our normal activities and slowly move about the community, I want to encourage you to continue to be safe, maintain distancing, wash your hands a lot and wear your face mask in public settings. Getting back to our new normal will take time and patience. Signs of hope and a future for our community, our state and our nation are springing up. Businesses will start to re-open; our public spaces will be made available again; and the people of our community will continue to serve as a model for caring, with neighbors helping neighbors. Because of you, I could not  be prouder to be your mayor and call Westlake Village my home.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COLLABORATIVE PREPARES FOR NEXT ROUND OF SMALL BUSINESS FUNDING

The Economic Development Collaborative is encouraging small business owners to prepare for the new round of federal relief.  Unfortunately, many small businesses missed out on the first round of funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The $349 billion available under the CARES Act was quickly exhausted. 

A new round of funding totaling $310 billion has been approved.  The Economic Development Collaborative has published information on how small businesses can position themselves to be successful in securing newly available funding.  Visit the EDC’s website at https://edcollaborative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/EDC-Funding-Prep-Guide.pdf.

FIRE CHIEF PROMOTES WATER SAFETY AT HOME

With warm weather here, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby reminds us about water safety, particularly as community pools with lifeguards are currently closed.  Tragically, drowning accidents are a leading cause of death for children under four years old. Almost 70% of all drowning accidents occur in backyard swimming pools.  The Fire Department has developed an informational brochure that everyone with a backyard swimming pool or spa should read: https://www.fire.lacounty.gov/water-safety/.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY WAIVES ADOPTION FEES FOR PETS

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) is currently waiving adoption fees at all seven animal care centers in an effort to quickly place animals in homes during the COVID-19 emergency.  The Petco Foundation awarded an $80,000 grant to DACC, which is enabling the fee waiver.

The grant also allows DACC to undertake a variety of other measures contributing to the good health of animals under their care, including purchasing necessary medical equipment and partnering with veterinarians to provide additional medical care beyond what is presently available.

For addition information on adopting a pet, please visit animalcare.lacounty.gov.

UPDATE as of 5:52pm on 4/23/2020

WESTLAKE VILLAGE SUMMER PROGRAMS CANCELLED

In an effort to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19 and in light of uncertainty over the timing for returning to regular activities, last night the Westlake Village City Council made the difficult decision to cancel all summer special events and concerts. While this is a first step at physical distancing moving forward, more may be necessary as the situation evolves. These programs include:

  • Summer Concerts in The Park
  • TGIF Events
  • All 4th of July activities including parade, park festivities, and fireworks show.
  • Summer Trolley program

Westlake Village values a strong sense of community and bringing people together. All of the City’s events are aimed at doing just that; bringing people together to have fun and build shared pride in our community. In light of the fact that physical distancing is still the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19, based on guidance provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the City Council felt the most responsible action was to cancel events that risk exposing large groups of people to the virus.

The City Council also directed staff to continue to explore alternative means of delivering various community-building services that reduces participants exposure to large gatherings.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES REINSTATEMENT OF DELAYED HEALTH CARE

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to allow hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care for Californians – such as heart valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals, and key preventive care services, such as colonoscopies – which were deferred as the state’s health care delivery systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients. The decision was based on progress toward preparing California hospitals and health systems for a surge in COVID-19 patients – one of the six critical indicators the governor unveiled last week as part of the state’s framework for gradually modifying California’s stay-at-home order.  Additional information may be found at https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/22/governor-newsom-announces-plan-to-resume-delayed-health-care-that-was-deferred-as-hospitals-prepared-for-covid-19-surge/.

STAY THE COURSE AND AVOID THE BEACHES THIS WEEKEND

As the weather heats up, our neighbors in the City of Malibu remind us to continue being vigilant against the spread of COVID-19, not visit any beaches this weekend and stay home, in compliance with public health orders.

The City of Malibu urges residents of neighboring communities not to come to the Malibu beaches this weekend. The County and State stay at home orders still prohibit unnecessary travel. Ventura County carefully considered relaxing restrictions based on its own COVID-19 status. Those decisions were made based on what would be safe for Ventura County residents, and newly opened sites could become overwhelmed by out of area visitors. At this point in the battle to slow the spread of COVID-19, there is concern that visitors could become infected and bring the virus back home for further spread in Los Angeles County. LA County is regularly reviewing restrictions and will not relax stay at home orders until it is safe and sensible for the health of all LA County residents.

UPDATE as of 8:01pm on 4/22/2020

NEW SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF

Congressional leadership reached an agreement with the Trump Administration for a new round of federal relief. The new package includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to states for expansion of testing. The Senate approved the bill yesterday, with the House of Representatives expected to pass the bill on Thursday.

Many small businesses had difficulty applying for relief under the first tranche of funding, which was exhausted last week. Congressional leaders heard from their constituents and changes have been made in the program; broadening access for community banks and small lenders to participate, leading to increased opportunities for small businesses to be successful in obtaining funding. Local lenders will continue to administer the PPP program.

The Small Business Administrations’ (SBA) EIDL Loan program may be accessed through https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance.

DIFFERING LOS ANGELES COUNTY AND VENTURA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS CAUSING CONFUSION

On Monday, April 20, 2020, the Ventura County Public Health Officer issued a revised Public Health Order, updating the directive issued over the weekend. This new Order applies only in Ventura County. Unfortunately, this new Public Health Order appears to be causing confusion. Since the City of Westlake Village is located within Los Angeles County, the directives issued by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department govern activities within the city limits. Information about the Los Angeles County Public Health Order that applies to Westlake Village may be found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/HOO/FAQ-SaferatHomeOrder.pdf.

The new Ventura County Order permits golf courses, trails, bicycle shops and automobiles dealers to now be open, with specific restrictions regarding group sizes and social distancing protocols. These new rules apply only in Ventura County. The updated Ventura County Public Health Order may be found at https://vcportal.ventura.org/CEO/VCNC/2020-04-18_Signed_15V8544-Final-Final_Master_Ord.pdf.

CALIFORNIANS FOR ALL

At his daily briefing yesterday, Governor Newsom highlighted the desire by many Californians to volunteer their time and expertise toward helping others during the COVID-19 emergency. The Californians for All initiativeat https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/

provides a single portal for volunteers and those needing volunteers throughout the state to connect.

Whether you want to donate blood, check-in on neighbors, support local non-profits, deliver meals to seniors, support food banks and shelters, join the California Health Corps or provide assistance in other ways, your expertise and commitment to helping others are valued and needed.  Please check out the website, as it designed to match your specific interests and availability with needs in Westlake Village or nearby communities.

UPDATE as of 6:43pm on 4/21/2020

PHYSICAL DISTANCING MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Los Angeles County public health officials reminds us that this past weekend saw the highest number of daily reported deaths in the county attributed to COVID-19. While distancing fatigue is being felt by us all, please remember that washing your hands frequently, maintaining a six-foot distance and using cloth face coverings will help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you need to leave your home to purchase groceries or other essential goods, or just to get outside and walk around the block, don’t forget to keep your distance and use your face covering.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY AND USC RELEASE PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF ANTIBODY STUDY

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, has announced preliminary results from a serology study performed in collaboration with the University of Southern California (USC), which suggests that COVID-19 infections far exceed the number of currently confirmed cases in the County.

The study of 1,000 randomly selected adults estimates that approximately 5% of Los Angeles County residents have been infected, which means 95% have not, mostly thanks to people embracing hand washing and social distancing protocols. It is further estimated that approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population has an anti-body to the virus. Whether the anti-body prevents a person from contracting the disease a second time is yet-to-be fully understood and will be the subject of additional study.

The study results will ultimately help the County recalibrate its models for more accurate data that is used to guide public policy decisions moving forward. For more about the study and its results, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubhpdetail.cfm?prid=2328 or https://priceschool.usc.edu/.

UPDATE as of 5:15pm on 4/20/2020

SUPERVISOR SHEILA KUEHL

In her latest weekly e-mail newsletter, Kuehl Happenings, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is taking a pledge to guide her actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes her constituents will join her.  To receive Supervisor Kuehl’s weekly e-newsletter, learn more about the Supervisor’s activities, see Board of Supervisors’ meeting updates, or access information about the county’s actions in the fight against COVID-19, please visit SupervisorKuehl.com.

JOIN THE EFFORT TO HELP FRONT LINE WORKERS

The Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), representing 400,000 employers with 3.5 million employees throughout Los Angeles County is working to ensure that front line workers have the personal protective equipment to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BizFed Institute (BFI), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has formed an unprecedented partnership with all 39 State Senators and Assembly Members representing Los Angeles County, the County of Los Angeles, the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Los Angeles Locals, along with the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), 195 business associations representing over 400,000 employers to mobilize, find and collect tax-deductible donations of much needed vital personal protective gear to help protect front line workers throughout Los Angeles County and mitigate the spread of the virus.

For more information on how you can join the effort today, by donating medical, non-medical PPE supplies in any quantity, or funds to ensure the safety and well-being of our front line workers, please visit BizFedInstitute.org.

SENIOR CONCERNS

For over forty years, Senior Concerns has provided support services to local seniors and their families.  Among the services provided are assistance with shopping and errands, as well as checking-in with our elderly neighbors.  More information may be found at https://www.seniorconcerns.org or by phone at 805-497-0189.

Senior Concerns is proud to share the following information with the community:

It is overwhelming to hear the reactions from the seniors being served by Senior Concerns during this time. By fulfilling the physical needs seniors have for food and supplies, we are satisfying an emotional need and providing a sense of security and reducing their sense of isolation. As an example, we are assisting a woman in her 70s who is caring for her 96-year-old mother. When she learned about our Shopping and Errand service, she broke down in tears. She said every time she went to the grocery store, she felt she was putting her mother’s life at risk. Knowing Senior Concerns could do the shopping for her, and help ensure her mother’s health, was of immense comfort and reduced significant stress.

We are talking daily with seniors who are feeling isolated and fearful. Knowing they have a resource to turn to, and a volunteer who will follow them through this crisis, helps them to feel not so alone. The volunteers have become a lifeline for our seniors.

While volunteers are critical to Senior Concern’s ability to meet the surging needs of seniors at this time, behind the scenes our Senior Concerns’ staff is managing the Meals On Wheels Program, responding to calls for meals and adding new clients, developing new routes, bringing a new meal provider online and vetting new drivers. Other staff are managing the pantry service, soliciting donations, stocking the pantry, picking items for a senior’s delivery and matching volunteers to deliver the items. In addition, our staff are taking calls for shopping and errand services, vetting more volunteers, and matching them to seniors to do weekly shopping. Our social worker team is responding to calls from seniors with questions and caregivers dealing with unique situations. And finally, our fundraising staff is applying for emergency grants and donations, and our finance team is applying for government, and paycheck loans.

All this work would not be possible without your support. Thank you for stepping up during this unprecedented time to help ensure Senior Concerns can meet the needs of our senior community. We are extremely grateful for your partnership. Our plan is to continue to respond to emergency needs as this situation unfolds. You can count on Senior Concerns to be there.

UPDATE as of 4:52pm on 4/19/2020

GOVERNOR’S TASK FORCE ON BUSINESS AND JOBS RECOVERY

California’s official unemployment figures released this past week for the month of March demonstrate a 5.3% jobless rate. Given large numbers of unemployment insurance claim filings during the first two weeks of April, the current unemployment rate is anticipated to be significantly higher. Governor Newsom has declared that California is currently in a “pandemic induced recession.”

On Friday, Governor Newsom announced creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The 80-member Task Force will be chaired by billionaire philanthropist and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer. Former California Governors Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown will join a broad cross-section of California leaders in developing plans leading to the establishment and implementation of short-term, medium-term, and long term-recovery strategies.

SENIOR CONCERNS FOOD PANTRY DELIVERS

For over forty years, Senior Concerns has provided support services to local seniors and their families. Among the services provided are assistance with food and household goods deliveries. More information may be found at https://www.seniorconcerns.org or by phone at 805-497-0189.

Senior Concerns is proud to share the following information with the community:

As all food pantries in our community do not have a delivery program, to further meet the emergent needs of homebound low-income seniors we have established a pantry of nonperishable and household items from which we deliver to homebound seniors. Our building at 401 Hodencamp, is usually filled with Adult Day Program participants. However, now it sits empty as we cannot open the program until the social distancing guidelines have been lifted. So, we transformed the Center into a full pantry with community members donating food and supplies. We are then able to provide these items (canned goods and other shelf stable foods, cleaning supplies, personal care items, paper products) at no cost to seniors in need. Our team of volunteers deliver directly to seniors’ homes. One volunteer is assigned to delivering to a specific senior so that both develop a relationship of trust and support through this trying time.

PRESIDENT RELEASES GUIDELINES FOR OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN

On Thursday, President Trump announced guidelines for reopening the American economy. The three-phase guidelines, Opening Up America Again, provide a broad national framework; leading to reopening businesses and public spaces when the COVID-19 emergency alleviates.

The final decisions and timing relating to reopening facilities within individual communities will be made at the state and local levels, based upon local conditions and in collaboration with health officials. More information regarding the national guidelines may be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/.

UPDATE as of 4:50pm on 4/18/2020

NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER REGARDING SICK LEAVE FOR FOOD SERVICE SECTOR WORKERS

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued Executive Order N-51-20 providing sick leave for food sector workers of large employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order calls for workers to be provided with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.

Workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce. The text of the Executive Order may be found at https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/4.16.20-EO-N-51-20-text.pdf.

VENTURA COUNTY EXTENDS PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER TO MAY 15

In line with Los Angeles County, the County of Ventura Public Health Officer has extended the Stay Well At Home Order to Friday, May 15, 2020. The existing order was set to expire this weekend on Sunday, April 19. The text of the Ventura County Public Health Officer’s Order may be found at vcemergency.com.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY DISCUSSES EARLY PRISONER RELEASE, ONGOING ACTIVITIES AND SCAMS

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey provides an update regarding early release of inmates from county jails, accessing the criminal justice system and scams to avoid during the COVID-19 emergency. Her remarks may be found at https://vimeo.com/408641132.

UPDATE as of 5:31pm on 4/17/2020

CONGRESS CONTINUES TO WORK TOWARDS AGREEMENT ON NEW RELIEF PACKAGE

The Senate has adjourned until Monday without a deal in place to pass a new coronavirus relief package at this time. Negotiations between congressional leaders and administration officials are expected to continue over the weekend, in an effort to reach a resolution. Another round of funding could provide additional financial assistance for state and local governments to address ongoing needs in responding to the COVID-19 emergency. Additionally, a new infusion of cash for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is needed, as the $349 billion aid for small businesses, enacted through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was exhausted yesterday.

WHAT IS THE CALIFORNIA CLIMATE CREDIT?
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has announced that April utility bills will include a credit identified as the “California Climate Credit.” Your household and millions of others throughout the state will receive this credit on your utility bills. This credit may help offset energy costs from higher usage, as Californians have stayed at home in compliance with public health orders during the recent month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits. The credit on your bill is your share of the payments from the State’s program. For more information about the Climate Credit, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/climatecredit/*. 

If you’re having trouble paying your natural gas bill and want to learn more about resources to help you and your household, please visit https://www.socalgas.com/coronavirus.

Please visit Energy Upgrade California at https://www.energyupgradeca.org/* to learn about ways to lower your energy usage.

SENIOR CONCERNS PROVIDES HELP WITH SHOPPING AND ERRANDS

For over forty years, Senior Concerns has provided support services to local seniors and their families. Among the services provided are assistance with shopping and errands, as well as checking-in with our elderly neighbors. More information may be found at https://www.seniorconcerns.org or by phone at 805-497-0189.

Senior Concerns is proud to share the following information with the community:

For seniors who want to stay at home, and can afford groceries, we have also launched a shopping and errand service. With a team of 90 community volunteers, we are assisting seniors with grocery shopping and other errands. We match volunteers to seniors in need. The volunteer calls the senior, obtains their grocery list, and does the shopping. The volunteer then calls the senior to let them know the cost of the groceries. The senior writes a check and leaves it under the mat. The volunteer brings the groceries, leaves them at the front door, calls the senior to let them know the groceries are delivered with a no contact drop off. What is unique about this program is that the volunteer follows that senior and calls them weekly to check in, and to see if they need more groceries. We are creating a new community for these seniors so that they are not alone for the duration of this crisis. We are fulfilling a physical need for food and household goods, but also an emotional need for caring and companionship.

Social isolation is the #1 indicator for negative health and wellbeing status in a senior. We are also matching volunteers with seniors to provide friendly check in phone calls and phone visitation to homebound seniors in the community. As part of this effort, we have school groups and children who are writing letters and drawing pictures for seniors. These are delivered every time a Meals On Wheels meal or a bag of pantry items are delivered, and help brighten a senior’s day, and to show them someone is thinking of them.

UPDATE as of 5:30pm on 4/16/2020

FIRST DAY UNDER NEW PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

Today is the first full day under the new order issued by the Los Angeles County Health Officer requiring essential businesses to have implemented a social distancing protocol, which includes a requirement to provide all of their employees whose duties require contact with other employees and/or the public with a face covering to wear while performing duties that involve contact with others.  The new rule became effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 15, 2020.

This order does not prohibit any individual or members of a single household or living unit from engaging in outdoor activities, as an individual or household, such as jogging, walking, or biking. The new order continues to allow individuals to leave their homes to shop at essential businesses, including grocery stores and restaurants offering delivery, drive thru or carry out service, so long as customers practice social distancing and wear a cloth face covering while visiting essential businesses.  A copy of the updated Health Order may be found at

REGISTER YOUR INFORMATION WITH IRS TO RECEIVE DIRECT DEPOST ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT

If you have not filed a federal income tax form during the past two years or otherwise do not have your banking information on file with the Internal Revenue Service, a new portal has been established for you to provide that information to facilitate Economic Impact Payments by direct deposit. The new portal may be found at irs.gov.

The following information will need to be provided:

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one
  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse

Direct deposits are being made beginning this week and will continue to be made over the next few weeks, with paper checks delivered by U.S. Mail taking longer to be issued and received.

SENATOR HENRY STERN ASSISTING LOCAL BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS

A number of individuals applying for Unemployment Insurance through the California Employment Development Department at edd.ca.gov have experienced difficulties filing their online claims.  Many local residents encountering problems filing their claims are sharing their experiences and frustrations with State Senator Henry Stern and his staff.

While the Employment Development Department has been overwhelmed, Senator Stern has been working aggressively to bring his constituents’ concerns to the attention of Governor Newsom and California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su, so that appropriate changes can be made to streamline the unemployment insurance system in an effort to make it more efficient and responsive.  For example, yesterday Governor Newsom signed an Executive Order expanding the staffing and extending the hours of the Employment Development Department call centers to operate seven days per week during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. This change becomes effective next Monday.

 If you have encountered problems filing your state unemployment claims or experienced other issues with state departments or agencies , Senator Stern wants you to share your experiences with his office at sd27.senate.ca.gov or by calling his District Office at (818) 876-3352.

UPDATE as of 5:35pm on 4/15/2020

SENIOR CONCERNS PROVIDING MEALS IN WESTLAKE VILLAGE

Senior Concerns was established to support the needs of people in the community as they age in place. The local non-profit supports seniors’ nutritional needs with Meals On Wheels and family caregivers with a Caregiver Resource Center and Adult Day Program.  Legal and Financial Pro Bono Services, as well as Senior Advocacy, to ensure seniors have a trusted place to turn when they need resources or have questions about where to go for help are among the services provided.  Additional information may be found at seniorconcerns.org.

As COVID-19 has impacted our community, Senior Concerns has retooled its programs, such as Meals on Wheels, to meet current needs.   The Meals on Wheels Program has been expanded.  Historically, Senior Concerns has served adults over age 60 who are homebound. Now, as result of the COVID-19 social distancing protocols, almost everyone over the age of 60 should be homebound to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.  Within the last few weeks, Senior Concerns has experienced a much higher need for Meals On Wheels.  The local organization delivers freshly made hot meals and light dinner to the homes of seniors in Westlake Village.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER ORDERS INSURANCE COMPANIES TO REFUND PREMIUMS TO DRIVERS AND BUSINESSES

 California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has ordered insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses and provide much-needed financial relief during the COVID-19 emergency. The Commissioner’s Bulletin 2020-3, issued on April 13, 2020, covers premiums paid for at least the months of March and April — including the month of May if “shelter in place” restrictions continue — in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers’ compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commissioner’s Bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August 2020. Commissioner Lara has already requested at least a 60-day grace period for policyholders to pay their premiums so that insurance policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium during this challenging time. Together, these two actions will give consumers and businesses substantial financial relief. More information is available at www.insurance.ca.gov.

UPDATE as of 5:25pm on 4/14/2020

TAKEOUT TUESDAY

In an effort to support community restaurants hard hit by the effects of COVID-19, Takeout Tuesday is catching on across the nation.  Join your neighbors in supporting Westlake Village’s terrific restaurants by ordering your favorite meal.  A list of local restaurants offering takeout or delivery may be found at: https://www.conejochamber.org/wlvrestaurants.

CONEJO CHAMBER HOSTED WEBINAR FEATURING U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXPERT REGARDING CARES ACT

Last week, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce conejochamber.org facilitated a webinar regarding the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The informative webinar featured an expert from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who detailed a number of provisions in the CARES Act related to small businesses.  If you were unable to join the webinar or would like to see it again, please go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/ucclIuD7pm43E9SVtwSDCvMtW9S_Lvqs0nAX_6EMmk9BiMAZAWnNeYSZeKKtknv8RQ8HBWwbOyyrFdi?startTime=1586288832000.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE AHEAD OF STATE AND NATIONAL AVERAGES FOR COMPLETING CENSUS 2020

As of last Saturday, 61.2% of Westlake Village residents have completed the 2020 census, compared to a statewide average of 48.3% and a national average of 41.7%  The once-every-ten-years census of the United States is currently being conducted.  Everyone living in the United States and its territories should complete a census form, based upon where they were living on April 1, 2020.

Information from the census will be used to determine representation in Congress and the California Legislature for the next decade, beginning in 2022.  Additionally, at the local level, the City of Westlake Village will receive some federal and state funds over the next decade based upon population statistics generated through the census.

If you haven’t yet completed the census, information regarding the census, including completing the questionnaire online, can be found at: 2020census.gov.

UPDATE as of 5:45pm on 4/13/2020

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS

This week, Economic Impact Payments will start being issued by the federal government.   The first payments will be made to eligible taxpayers whose bank information is already on file with the Internal Revenue Service. The following is information from irs.gov that outlines who is eligible to receive a payment.

  • U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:
    • $75,000 for individuals
    • $112,500 for head of household filers and
    • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
  • Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:
    • $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
    • 112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
    • $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly
    • The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.

Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans’ benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.  Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS OF SCAMMERS

As the federal government starts to issue checks to taxpayers this week, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey issued a warning regarding scams.  More information is available at http://da.lacounty.gov

  • If you receive an offer from someone who wants to send you federal “stimulus check” money by check or direct deposit, ignore it. It’s a scam!
    • In the stimulus check scam, con artists target their victims with the promise of sending a quick stimulus check disbursement.
    • Crooks ask for an upfront payment to receive the aid or for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card details.
    • In addition, fraudsters also are impersonating retailers by sending fake texts or social media posts to offer stimulus checks. The messages contain a malicious link that could steal your information.

TIPS: 

• The government will not ask you to pay a fee to receive aid.

• You will not be asked for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card information. If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

UPDATE as of 4:45pm on 4/12/2020

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT

As the relief programs authorized under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are starting to roll out, experts recommend that businesses and individuals keep detailed records regarding income losses, expenses directly related to the COVID-19 emergency, and other related financial records.  Make sure you understand the record keeping requirements associated with any assistance funding that you receive.  At some point in the future, there will be audits under some programs to ensure that recipients of government assistance followed the requirements of the financial awards.

PROPERTY TAX PENALTY FORGIVENESS

The deadline for filing the second installment of property taxes with the County of Los Angeles Treasurer and Tax Collector was Friday, April 10, 2020.  State law does not allow for an extension of the filing date.  In the event that you were unable to meet your full property tax obligation by the statutory deadline as a result of circumstances directly related to COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive a penalty waiver.  Penalty waivers may be filed beginning April 11, 2020.  The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office will consider written requests for waiver of late-payment penalties on a case by case basis, with proven significant economic hardship directly caused by the COVID-19 situation.  Additional information may be found at ttc.lacounty.gov.

RECREATIONAL FISHING SEASON DELAYED

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that California’s recreational fishing season will be delayed.  The Governor was specific in his reference to delay, not cancellation, of California’s recreational fishing season.  Several California counties have reported their concerns that the opening of trout season on April 25 will likely invite large numbers of recreational fishing enthusiasts seeking refuge from stay at home orders in various parts of California and other states.  In an effort to prevent a large influx of people into some of California’s rural counties and to limit the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Fish and Game is expected to issue specific guidance shortly.  Additional information may be found at https://wildlife.ca.gov/

UPDATE as of 6:00pm on 4/11/2020

GOVERNOR NEWSOM URGES CALIFORNIANS TO “HOLD THE LINE”

Governor Gavin Newsom urges all Californians to “hold the line” and continue practicing physical distancing, hand washing and other hygiene habits, which will limit the spread of COVID-19.  Early trend information suggests that Californians staying at home is beginning to yield the desired result in limiting transmission of this deadly disease.

With the weather getting better this weekend, coupled with Easter when people typically go outside or get together, everyone is reminded that social distancing and personal hygiene practices should be continued consistent with public health orders.  The newly updated County of Los Angeles Public Health Order may be found at publichealth.lacounty.gov. and on the city of Westlake Village website at www.WLV.org.

CONNECTING TO SBA LOANS

The County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles have partnered to provide an additional resource to small businesses seeking federal assistance under the CARES Act.  The myriad of new assistance programs being offered can be confusing.  This new resource is designed to assist small business owners in determining the program that best fits their individual situation.  More information may be found at the City of Los Angeles Department of Economic and Workforce Development website at ewddlacity.com.

CLEAN POWER ALLIANCE IS COMING TO WESTLAKE VILLAGE

Beginning this past week, Westlake Village residents and businesses began receiving the first of four letters from the Clean Power Alliance and the City of Westlake Village letting you know that starting in June 2020, Clean Power Alliance will be the new electricity provider for residents and businesses in Westlake Village.

The Clean Power Alliance is comprised of 32 public agencies, including Westlake Village, across Los Angeles and Ventura counties working together to bring clean energy choices to our communities. Residents and businesses in our community will be enrolled into the Clean Power Alliance’s competitively-priced Lean Power rate option. This option is expected to result in a 1-2% savings for customers over their current bills. Southern California Edison will continue to deliver power, send your bill, and be responsible for resolving any electricity service issues. The best part is, the choice is yours! Clean Power Alliance offers three rate options designed to suit the diverse needs of our community, all of which provide high renewable content at a competitive price. To find out more, visit the City’s Clean Power Alliance page here.

UPDATE as of 4:45pm on 4/10/2020

REVISED LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

The Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Order, Safer at Home, issued on March 19 has been enhanced and extended to May 15, 2020.  Of note the updated Health Officer Order requires ALL customers visiting essential businesses, or otherwise interacting with people outside of their homes in public and private spaces, to wear a cloth face covering. This Health Officer Order is effective immediately. To read the complete Los Angeles County Health Order Click here to view the revised and extended Public Health Officer Order.

Click here to view a CDC guide to making and wearing cloth face coverings.

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE COVID-19 CASES

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that as of Friday, April 10, 2020, 12pm, there have been 8430 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the county; with 6 cases being reported by residents of Westlake Village.  With religious holidays occurring this week, which is traditionally a time for families and friends to gather, everyone is reminded to continue following the Safer At Home directives issued by the Department of Public Health.  By following these orders now and limiting the spread of COVID-19, we may all have the opportunity to enjoy future holidays with our family and friends.

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
    • Only go out for essential services or if you are an essential worker
    • Stay six feet or more away from others
    • Not gather in groups of any size

FEDERAL SMALL BUSINESS PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOAN APPLICATIONS FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AND SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS BEGINS TODAY

Friday, April 10, 2020 is the first day for independent contractors and self-employed individuals to apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  This new federal program was established under the recently enacted $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Paycheck Protection Program is being administered by local lenders, on behalf of the Small Business Administration. Applicants are encouraged to check first with their own financial institutions for the most updated information regarding eligibility and application process. If the financial institution with whom you have an existing relationship is not already participating in the program, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce reports that the Westlake Village locations of Montecito Bank & Trust, Wells Fargo Bank, and U.S. Bank have confirmed that they will be accepting PPP loan applications.  The loans will be 100% backed by the federal government.  Click here to find more information.

UPDATE as of 5:12pm on 4/9/2020

CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE COVID-19 CASES

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that as of Thursday, April 9, 2020, there have been 7955 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the county; with 5 cases being reported by residents of Westlake Village.  With religious holidays occurring this week, which is traditionally a time for families and friends to gather, everyone is reminded to continue following the Safer At Home directives issued by the Department of Public Health.  By following these orders now and limiting the spread of COVID-19, we may all have the opportunity to enjoy future holidays with our family and friends.

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
    • Only go out for essential services or if you are an essential worker
    • Stay six feet or more away from others
    • Not gather in groups of any size

SUSPECT THAT YOUVE BEEN A VICTIM OF PRICE GOUGING?

Price gouging is the act of a business raising prices of needed products and services over 10% during a declared emergency.  For the duration of the declaration of a local emergency, it is illegal for a person, contractor, or business to sell or offer to sell any food items or goods or service for a price of more than 10% above the price charged by that person or business immediately before the declaration of emergency was issued.

Typically, this statute applies for 30 days after an emergency declaration and with the City’s Urgency Ordinance (280U-20), it is now extended until the emergency is lifted. However, the statute applies for 180 days for reconstruction services and emergency cleanup services.

If you believe that you have been a victim of price gouging or you suspect a business is price gouging, contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.

HOLLYWOOD-BURBANK AIRPORT CHANGES

Effective at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10, Hollywood-Burbank Airport will be temporarily closing Terminal B.  All departing and arriving flights, ticket counters, baggage service and TSA screenings will take place in Terminal A.  With reductions and last-minute changes in scheduled airline service, travelers are advised to check with their airlines before heading to the airport.

Hollywood-Burbank Airport is also temporarily closing remote parking lots A and C.  Valet parking service is also temporarily suspended.  Parking will be available in lots E and G and the short-term parking structure.  Additional information may be found at  hollywoodburbankairport.com.

UPDATE as of 5:45pm on 4/8/2020

CYBER ALERT

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have jointly issued an alert regarding the rapid increase in exploitation by cybercriminal and advanced persistent threat (APT) groups of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Both CISA and NCSC are seeing a growing use of COVID-19-related themes by malicious cyber actors. At the same time, the surge in teleworking has increased the use of potentially vulnerable services, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), amplifying the threat to individuals and organizations.  APT groups and cybercriminals are targeting individuals, small and medium enterprises, and large organizations with COVID-19-related scams and phishing emails.  Specific information regarding the overall threat, types of attacks and practical tips for reducing exposure can be found at us-cert.gov.

SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION TRAILS

As a reminder, within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation, parking lots, visitor centers and trails in Los Angeles County are closed due to the COVID-19 emergency.  In Ventura County, trails are closed from 2:00 p.m. on Fridays until 6:00 a.m. the following Monday.  If you choose to visit a trail in Ventura County during open hours, please ensure that you are following social distancing guidelines and other directives issued by the Centers for Disease Control, State of California and County of Ventura.  More information may be found at nps.gov/samo.

UPDATE as of 6:20pm on 4/7/2020

COVID-19 TESTING FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY RESIDENTS

The County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles have partnered to offer COVID-19 testing for residents throughout the county.  The testing is limited to individuals with symptoms or those who have been prevented from working due to contact with an infected person.  To find out if you’re eligible to be tested, please visit: coronavirus.lacity.org.

COUNTY LAUNCHES NEW EMPLOYER ASSISTANCE GRANT FUND

Los Angeles County is launching a new $500,000 Employer Assistance Grant Fund to help businesses, including non-profits and social enterprises, impacted by COVID-19.  Individual businesses are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  Applications will be accepted beginning Wednesday, April 8.  More information is available at: workforce.lacounty.gov.

FREE MEALS FOR OLDER ADULTS

The County and City of Los Angeles are providing free meals to adults age 60 and older who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Call 1-800-510- 2020 to request services. Meals are provided either at distribution sites or via home-delivered meals. People 65 and older must send a family member, friend or caregiver who is under the age of 65 to pick up meals at their assigned site.

CONGRESSWOMAN JULIA BROWNLEY REPRESENTING WESTLAKE VILLAGE

Our federal representative, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA-26)  has released her latest newsletter, which contains excellent information regarding the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congresswoman Brownley’s newsletter may be found at: https//2013-ca26.congressnewsletter.net/mail/util.cfm?gpiv=2100159567.149159.126&gen=1.

Of special note is a link to the Small Business Owners Guide to the CAREs Act. This comprehensive guide will assist small business owners in navigating the myriad of relief programs available and find the one(s) right for your situation.

UPDATE as of 11:55am on 4/7/2020

A Message to The Community From Mayor Kelly Honig

This week I wanted to highlight some of the important work being done by our local non-profit organizations and community members during the coronavirus crisis. 

Senior Concerns, a local non-profit dedicated to serving senior citizens in the Conejo Valley, is providing help with grocery shopping and pharmacy pickup for seniors, who are especially vulnerable during this pandemic.  They have also created a pantry of food items and paper and cleaning products that volunteers can deliver to seniors in need.

They are also partnering with the Westlake Village Meals on Wheels program to cover any overflow needs as more seniors are homebound and may have increased requests for meals.  Senior Concerns volunteers are also providing check in calls and have created a pen pal program for seniors who may be feeling isolated.  Those who wish to share a card or letter with a senior citizen can send one to:

Senior Concerns

401 Hodencamp Rd.

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Or you may contact Senior Concerns President Andrea Gallagher at agallagher@seniorconcerns.org or call (805) 497-0189  

The five Rotary Clubs of the Conejo Valley have joined to help support community members in need.  They are providing $50 grocery store gift cards to those who are in need due to loss of employment or other hardships suffered during the coronavirus crisis.

Those who would like to contribute to this fund can do so at the Rotary GoFundMe site at ConejoRotaryGoFundme.org, or can mail a check payable to the:

Conejo Velley Foundation

P.O. Box 1345

Thousand Oaks, CA 91358

Agoura and Calabasas High School students have created a volunteer tutoring center open to any LVUSD elementary school student who needs help with schoolwork.  The  LVUSD on-line education program is set to continue through the end of the school year.  LVUSD elementary school parents can access the tutoring center at www.community360.me

And last, but not least, Hamid Sadraie, owner of Westlake Village restaurants Boccaccio’s and The Landing Grill and Sushi Bar has been providing food for all 100 of his employees every week since he had to close both restaurants during this crisis.

These are just a few examples of people reaching out to help others in need in our community.  People are also making masks for friends and family, sending cards and letters to health care workers at Los Robles Hospital, buying gift cards from their favorite local restaurants to use later or simply checking to see if their neighbors need a hand with anything.  No doubt there are many other examples of neighbors helping neighbors.   

This is what makes Westlake Village such a wonderful place to live and work.  On behalf of the entire City Council, we are proud to be part of this city.  We are updating our city website with new information and we encourage you to check it regularly at www.WLV.org

Please stay safe and healthy.

Kelly Honig, Mayor

UPDATE as of 4:45pm on 4/6/2020

FACE COVERINGS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the County of Los Angeles Health Officer is strongly recommending that all individuals wear a face covering when going outside their homes; particularly to places with other individuals, such as grocery stores or pharmacies.  Additional Guidance for Cloth Face Coverings may be found on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s website at publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Everyone is asked to wear a face covering when they are interacting with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces. Face coverings are an additional tool that individuals should use to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but does not replace other social distancing requirements.

COVID-19 SCAMS

If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the United States Department of the Treasury and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond.  These are scams! Please contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov, so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.

CHILD CARE FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS

On April 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-45-20, directing that childcare be prioritized for the state’s critical infrastructure workers.  These critical workers include, but are not limited to health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement and grocery workers.  Specific guidelines will be developed by Tuesday, April 7, 2020.  More information may be obtained at gov.ca.gov/newsroom.

UPDATE as of 6:30pm on 4/5/2020
  • Social Security recipients will automatically receive Economic Impact Payments.  While Social Security beneficiaries do not typically file federal income tax returns, no additional action is required by Social Security recipients, as the federal government will use information already on file.  Recipients will be receiving payments either as a direct deposit or via paper check in the mail, depending upon how individuals normally receive Social Security benefits.  It is anticipated that payments will start going out in approximately two weeks.
  • Recent news reports have noted that single filer and joint filer taxpayers whose banking information is already on file with the Internal Revenue Service will receive their Economic Impact Payments through direct deposit in approximately two weeks.  It will take longer for taxpayers without their banking information file to receive payment.  The Internal Revenue Service soon will be setting up an online portal to obtain appropriate financial institution routing information, so that everyone may get their checks as quickly as possible.  While the portal has not yet been set up, please continue to check online at irs.gov/coronavirus.
    • The Economic Impact Payment program, authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides for payments of up to $1200 for single taxpayers making up to $99,000 annually, and $2400 for joint filers making up to $198,000 annually.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided additional guidance regarding the use of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms themselves. This means the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity (e.g., speaking, coughing, or sneezing) even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in in areas of significant community-based transmission (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).
  • The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce is partnering with other Central Coast Chambers to host an online meeting regarding the recently enacted federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The online meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • The webinar will feature Allison Dembeck, Executive Director of the Congressional and Public Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Westlake Village business owners are encouraged to participate in this free event, regardless of whether you are or are not a member of the local chamber of commerce.  Registration information may be found at www.conejochamber.org.
UPDATE as of 6:30pm on 4/4/2020
  • While everyone is staying Safer at Home, the City of Westlake Village and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department remind you to continue to protect yourself from bad actors. It’s important to always keep your belongings protected: lock your car doors everywhere, all the time, and never leave anything of value in visible places. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you’re leaving your house, even for a quick walk around the block, always close and lock all windows and doors every time you leave your house. Remember, hide it, lock it, keep it.
  • Our best community and individual defense against COVID-19 is washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding being around sick people and practicing physical distancing, especially by staying at home. Face coverings are not a replacement for these other evidence-based measures; they are just an additional tool that may be used to protect us from exposure to COVID-19 when used properly. Please click here to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Guidance for Cloth Face Coverings.
  • On April 3, the CDC launched COVIDView, a weekly report of COVID-19 activity that summarizes and interprets key indicators from a number of existing surveillance systems. The report, which will be updated each Friday, provides CDC expert summaries and interpretations of important and timely surveillance data to track the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. COVIDView includes information related to COVID-19 outpatient visits, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as laboratory data. To find COVIDView, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview.html
UPDATE as of 12:18pm on 4/3/2020
  • The Los Angeles County Public Health Officer has issued clarification related to Farmer’s Markets and community events. Please click here to view the guidance.
  • Today, Friday, April 3rd is the first day small businesses may apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This new federal program was established under the recently enacted $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the federal government or lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will also be reduced if the full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The Paycheck Protection Program is being administered by local lenders, on behalf of the Small Business Administration, so the application process is expected to be streamlined. Local small businesses (under 500 employees) are encouraged to first check with their own financial institutions for the most updated information regarding eligibility and the application process. If the financial institution with whom you have an existing relationship is not already participating in the program, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce reports that the Westlake Village locations of Montecito Bank & Trust, Wells Fargo Bank, and U.S. Bank have confirmed that they will be accepting PPP loan applications. The loans will be 100% backed by the federal government.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that the State of California is allocating $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses to help eliminate barriers to capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds. The state is also allowing small businesses to defer payment of sales and use taxes of up to $50,000, for up to 12 months.  More information is available at ibank.ca.gov.
  • In response to the COVID-19 emergency, a myriad of federal and state financial assistance programs are being offered to businesses forced to close or experiencing negative impacts as a result of the pandemic.  While there are a wide variety of programs being offered, it can be confusing to determine which one is the right one for your business.  The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start.  Even if you or your business is not a chamber member, the chamber team wants to help.  Give their knowledgeable staff a call at 805-370-0035 or check out their website at conejochamber.org.
UPDATE as of 5:37pm on 4/2/2020
  • The Westlake Village City Council held their second successful teleconference City Council meeting earlier today. The City Council received a briefing from staff on recent activities related to the COVID-19 crisis including the City’s new Information Hub. The Greater Conejo Chamber of Commerce also provided updates related to the newly passed CARE Act and other services available to our local business community. And lastly, the City Council provided direction to staff to work to modify the Community Grant Program in order to quickly respond to those non-profits that have applied for funding to directly support efforts related to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Life has changed for all of us as a result of the coronavirus crisis, but we know that even in the midst of it, there are some wonderful stories of people helping people.  The City of Westlake Village would love to hear about positive things happening in and around your neighborhood.  We want to hear about stories of caring and helping; stories of physical distancing while socially interacting, and stories of hope.  If you have a story to share, kindly send it to us at carolk@WLV.org.  Photos are welcome!  We would love to share your story on our social media and our City website. 
  • On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that he has signed Executive Order N-42-20, directing a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs.  To date, over 100 public and private water systems across California have voluntarily suspended water shutoffs for non-payment as a result of COVID-19.  The Governor’s order also requires water service to be restored to customers whose service was discontinued due to non-payment dating back to March 2, 2020.  The Governor’s directive does not relieve customers of their ultimate obligation to pay for water consumed.  Additional information and a copy of the Executive Order may be found at gov.ca.gov.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo have announced their aligned recommendations that school campuses remain physically closed through the end of the academic year. The decision to close public schools rests exclusively with local school district governing boards.  For the most up-to-date information regarding public or private school site closures, continuing online education programs, and ongoing nutrition programs, please contact your child’s school. Visit www.lvusd.org for more information.
UPDATE as of 10:00am on 4/2/2020
  • Las Virgenes Unified School District Update From Superintendent Stepenosky:

Dear LVUSD Families,

Earlier today, Governor Newsom announced that all California school campuses will remain physically closed. Importantly, while campuses are closed, school is still in session and distance learning will continue for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Please remember that Spring Break, April 10-17 and Memorial Day, May 25 will still be observed as non-instructional days.

We know how important end-of-year ceremonies are to you, our students, staff, and our community; we ask for your patience while we explore all options. The situation continues to be fluid, and we will communicate with you as circumstances evolve.

We greatly appreciate your partnership as we work to hold our community together in this trying time. Please know that LVUSD is here for you and your family, providing distance learning, meals, counseling support, consistency, and connection in the coming months.

Be well and stay safe,

Dr. Dan Stepenosky
Superintendent of Schools
Las Virgenes Unified School District

UPDATE as of 5:45pm on 4/1/2020
  • The first day of the month is typically the date that housing and commercial rental payments are due.  Unfortunately, due to job losses or reduction of hours as a result of COVID-19, many are unable to make residential or commercial rental payments.  As a reminder, on March 17, 2020, the Westlake City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 278U-20, which enacts a temporary moratorium on the eviction for non-payment of rent by residential and commercial tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  A copy of Ordinance 278U-20 may be found on the City’s website at wlv.org.
  • Public health officials, including County of Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, are strongly reiterating that continuing to practice social distancing, good hand washing hygiene and staying at home are the most effective tools that all of us can do to best protect ourselves against contracting COVID-19.
    • Earlier today, Dr. Ferrer reminded Los Angeles County residents that even small social gatherings in your home, with family and friends who do not live in your home, increases the risk for contracting COVID-19.
    • According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, initial trends are suggesting that social distancing is working to slow the spread of the virus. During the month of March, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported no cases of COVID-19 among City of Westlake Village residents. Don’t let down your guard and keep up the good work!
  • Businesses and other organizations that are able to provide needed supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the County of Los Angeles are invited to check out the vendor website at https://doingbusiness.lacounty.gov. The county’s Emergency Operations Center has received over 400 requests for supplies of various kinds.  Perhaps your business or organization can fill one or more those needs.
  • The Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness (BICEPP) is a non-profit professional association of emergency management and business continuity professionals.  Their goal is to provide a forum for exchanging information designed to enhance disaster resilience within the business community.  They host periodic online meetings and conference calls.  More information may be found at  www.bicepp.org.
  • Effective March 31, 2020 the Waste Management office at 195 W. Los Angeles Ave is closing the office to direct public contact until further notice. Waste Management has taken additional steps in social distancing practices after careful consideration for the safety of the communities they serve and the safety of their staff. Visit www.wm.com for more information.
  • Please click here to view a message from the Director of the LA County Department of Public Social Services.

UPDATE as of 4:35pm on 3/31/2020
  • On March 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-40-20, which extends the time frames for a number of state agencies, departments and boards, regarding operations and compliance deadlines. Included within the order is a directive to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and all businesses filing returns for under $1.0 million in taxes. This means that small businesses will have until the end of July to file their first quarter returns.
    • The order also extends the time, by an additional 60 days, for the Department of Motor Vehicles to limit in-person transactions. The order authorizes the Department of Consumer Affairs to waive continuing education requirements for several professions over the next 60 days. A copy of the Executive Order and specific information relating to all of the affected entities can be found at gov.ca.gov/newsroom/.
  • With an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases throughout California expected over the next few weeks, Governor Newsom announced the formation of the California Health Corps. Current and retired health care professionals, as well as nursing students, are encouraged to register at covid19.ca.gov. Your skills, experience, geographical preferences and interests will be matched to where your professional skills are most needed.
  • Governor Newsom is encouraging Californians to safely volunteer in their communities during the COVID-19 emergency. Activities can include delivering meals to seniors; donating food or money to local food banks; continuing to support local non-profits; checking on neighbors via calls, texts or in person with appropriate physical distancing; and donating blood. Learn how you can help your neighbors by going online at californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/COVID-19.
  • The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House and U.S. government agencies to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact. Employers should be implementing strategies to protect their workforce from the coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations. Visit the US Chamber of Commerce website for helpful resources here https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus
UPDATE as of 7:30pm on 3/29/2020
  • The L.A. County Business & Worker Disaster Help Center is available to help workers and businesses affected by the Coronavirus emergency. Learn how workers and businesses can obtain assistance during this emergency by visiting https://lacountyhelpcenter.org/
UPDATE as of 4:15pm on 3/28/2020
UPDATE as of 5:23pm on 3/27/2020
  • LA County Health Officer issues new Public Health Order for the temporary closure of public trails and trailheads, beaches, piers, beach bike paths, and beach access points. Click here to read the full Public Health Order.
  • Click here for a complete listing of local Westlake Village restaurants that are offering takeout and delivery services.  
  • As COVID-19 sweeps across the country and impacts our community, the amount of misinformation is spreading, as well.  For the most up-to-date and accurate information, please check with trusted sources such as the City of Westlake Village; County of Los Angeles at www.lacounty.gov; State of California at www.covid19.ca.gov; and the federal government at www.coronavirus.gov.
  • Following extensive negotiations between the Trump Administration and Congressional Leaders, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The $2.2 trillion economic relief package provides American families, healthcare workers, and small businesses with the economic support they need to get through this challenging time. The package includes $1,200 payments to qualifying Americans, $100 billion in direct support for hospitals, and over $370 billion to small business owners to keep their employees on the payroll. It also includes direct relief for State, Tribal, and local governments through the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. Each State will receive at least $1.25 billion. $8 billion is set aside for tribal governments. This aid comes on top of the Family First Coronavirus Aid Package, enacted last week, which increased the federal share of Medicaid payments through the emergency period by 6.2 percentage points and provided reimbursements to States for the cost of expanding certain public assistance programs. State/Local/Tribal provisions include:
    • $150 billion in direct aid to State, Tribal, and local governments. Aid will be allocated primarily by a State’s population with each State receiving at least $1.25 billion.
    • $340 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak, with $274 billion going to state and local governments for specific purposes. This is in addition to the $150 billion distributed to states to cover their own separate efforts and forms a major part of the federal government’s plan to assist state efforts.
    • $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, including $2 billion to existing CDBG grantees that received funding in FY 2020. The bill also provides $1 billion for states and insular areas to respond to COVID-19, including activities within entitlement and non-entitlement communities and requires that those allocations. Any remaining funds will be distributed directly to states on a rolling basis.
    • A $500 billion for loans and guarantees through an Economic Stabilization Fund that authorizes the U.S. Treasury to support eligible businesses and States and local governments to cover losses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
    • $100 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to reimburse expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19.
    • $3.5 billion to allow States to expand childcare benefits for healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis.
    • Additional federal funding for joint federal-state programs like Medicaid and unemployment compensation, along with other expenditures which will reduce some of the need for states to undertake new COVID-19 spending on their own.
  • Individuals experiencing a job loss or who have had their hours reduced due to the impacts of COVID-19 may be eligible for financial relief through the California Employment Development Department. (EDD).  Governor Newsom has suspended the traditional one-week unpaid waiting period.  Claims should be filed immediately, as the system is currently experiencing a backlog due to a surge in unemployment claims filed this week.  Even if you aren’t sure that you qualify, experts recommend filing a claim, eligibility of which will be verified by EDD personnel. More information and online claims may be filed at www.edd.ca.gov 
  • Due to the cancellation of workplace and community-based blood drives, the American Red Cross encourages healthy people to continue giving blood at donation centers.  For more information or to schedule an appointment visit www.RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has announced a one-year extension of the Real I.D. enforcement deadline.  A Real I.D. issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles or United States passport will be required for California residents to board domestic airline flights on or after October 1, 2021.
UPDATE as of 4:55pm on 3/26/2020
  • The Westlake Village City Council will be hold a Special Meeting via Zoom teleconference on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 4pm. To view the agenda, conference link and instructions on how to join, please click here.
  • In his Wednesday afternoon briefing, Governor Newsom stated that families should not lose their homes because of COVID-19. He announced that four of the five major banks, Wells Fargo, Citi, JPMorgan, and US Bank, have agreed to a 90-day grace period on mortgage payments for those impacted by COVID19. Please contact your bank or mortgage holder to learn more about how they can help. 
  • The Federal Government has provided online and other resources for Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. The official federal website is https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
  • Residents may report disaster fraud by calling 866-720-5721 or by email to Disaster@LEO.gov. 
  • Americans currently overseas who need assistance getting home can enroll in the US Dept of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov/
  • Americans needing mental health or substance abuse assistance can contact the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national hotline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
  • United Way of Greater Los Angeles announced the creation of the Pandemic Relief Fund to support LA County’s unsheltered residents who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, as well as low-income individuals, students, and families at imminent risk of homelessness and hardships due to health and economic impacts of coronavirus. To donate or find more info, go to www.UnitedWayLA.org.
  • Some stores, both local and across the country, are beginning to ask shoppers to temporarily not use reusable bags as a way to reduce potential COVID-19 contamination. Residents who bring reusable bags to the grocery store are urged to wash them after every use and offer to bag their own groceries out of consideration for the health of grocery store workers. However, all shoppers should comply if the store employee requests that only store-supplied bags be used based on direction from store management.
  • In support of our local restaurants, we have partnered with our chamber of commerce to continuously provided updated information on who’s open and how to eat local through take out and delivery services during the Safer at Home order. Please visit https://www.conejochamber.org/  for more information.

Check out the video below from your Westlake Village library on how to enjoy their resources while staying Safer at Home.

UPDATE as of 10:41am on 3/26/2020
UPDATE as of 5:30pm on 3/25/2020
  • Please be aware that scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up websites to sell fake products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a scam to take your money and get your personal information. They may also be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments. For more information, visit: www.Ftc.gov/coronavirus and https://lasd.org/coronavirus-scams/ 
  • City Staff continued direct outreach to businesses within the community to uphold the LA County Public Health Order. Businesses continue to work with the City in order to maintain the safety of the community.  
UPDATE as of 5:38pm on 3/24/2020
UPDATE as of 5:38pm 3/23/2020

The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a revised Public Health Order, strengthening the terms of the past orders. Please click here for the full Public Health Order issued on March 21, 2020.

Changes to the Public Health Order include:

  • All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited outside of the private home. This supersedes the previous limit on gatherings of up to 10 people.
  • Personal grooming services such as hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons must be closed.
  • Golf courses must be closed.
  • All beach parking lots in Malibu are closed.
  • The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has closed all of its parks and trails, including parkland owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Access roads and parking lots are also closed. For more information visit: https://mrca.ca.gov/notifications/
  • All outdoor playgrounds are closed.

Las Virgenes Unified School District has extended their distance learning until Friday May 1, 2020 with the hope of a possible return to school on Monday May 4, 2020. This is a tentative date and more information can be found by visiting https://www.lvusd.org/

In order to support health agency directives to minimize public interactions while continuing to provide essential transportation services to our senior and disabled riders, T.O. Transit, the City’s Dial-A-Ride operator is implementing the following temporary changes to our local services effective Friday, March 20, 2020. We expect these changes to remain in effect for at least two weeks, possibly longer as the Declaration of a Local Health Emergency remains in effect:

  • Reduction in hours of operation. Service will be available from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday. No service will be available on Sunday.
  • Transit office hours will also be reduced. You can make reservations for services until 6:30 p.m. For ride requests for Monday, your reservation has to be submitted by 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • We are requesting riders book rides only for essential needs and services which we define as medical needs, groceries, and basic household supplies. In order to ensure rides are available to everyone that needs one, we may decline to book rides we feel do not meet the definition of an essential need and service.
  • We are waiving fares. We understand this is a difficult time for all riders and they may be experiencing additional expenses due to the current emergency.
  • We are waiving our usual 3 bag limit and will transport up to 10 bags of groceries per paying passenger. Our weight limits per bag still apply. While our drivers will assist loading and unloading from the vehicle, please keep in mind they are not permitted to enter your residence.
  • While we are not currently restricting the number of times per day you can use the service, we ask you to be considerate of other riders. For your protection, we are reducing the number of passengers we carry per vehicle which means we cannot perform as many trips as we normally do. Reservations made at least a day in advance receive scheduling priority. At this time, we cannot accommodate guests, only care helpers and attendants for those passengers that require assistance.
  • We ask that before your board, and during your trip, you practice social distancing and good hygiene. We are working hard to disinfect the vehicles you are riding in multiple times per day. Please help us by following the practices recommended by the CDC which are posted in the vans and by taking one of the handouts offered by the drivers.
  • Please visit our website, www.totransit.org for frequent service updates.

The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village has announced that they will be closed through May 1, 2020.

UPDATE as of 9:34am on 3/21/2020

As a reminder, in addition to the City’s website, the following official sources are providing important updates on a regular basis:

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