While considering a motion Tuesday that asks the state to allow cities and/or regions to determine their own reopening process, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas asked for the motion to be tabled so the subject could be taken up in closed session.
The motion being considered would urge the state to allow cities, such as Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster, who represent the northern L.A. County region, to determine if they should reopen earlier than the established July 4 reopening date.
During the meeting, Supervisor Kathryn Barger asked that the county transition from “Safer at Home” to “Safer at Work and Safer in Our Communities.”
“This is an opportunity for us to listen to our communities,” said Barger.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl opposed the motion, saying that the supervisors should not fracture the county in the way the motion desires.
“I think it is an ungovernable patchwork quilt,” Kuehl said, adding that the varying regulations might cause inequity between cities.
The motion, openly opposed by Kuehl and Supervisor Hilda Soliz, was tabled at the request of Ridley-Thomas and is set to be discussed in closed session. Closed session is expected to take place immediately following the closure of open session.
If the motion is approved by county supervisors and the state signs off, the county will ask cities to prove they’ve met the state’s variance criteria, which include: a low number of cases per capita, a stable hospitalization rate; testing at 1.5 per 1,000 residents per day; 75% testing availability for residents; and adequate levels of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers, among a few other requirements.
If the variance model is approved by the state, cities would need to send their request to the county CEO and public health officer, according to the motion proposed by Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn.
When announcing that she would be introducing the motion last Friday, Barger noted the northern area of L.A. County, which includes Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as the unincorporated communities, make up a low number of the total number of cases within the county. However, the economic impact of the “Safer at Home” order has been significant. according to officials.
Santa Clarita is facing a projected $10 million revenue loss and increasing unemployment rate brought forth by the closure of many workplaces and orders for residents to stay home in an effort to help limit the spread of COVID-19 amid an ongoing pandemic.
The Santa Clarita Valley has, as of Monday, 1,111 confirmed cases among the 46,018 confirmed countywide cases, or 2.4% of the confirmed cases.
The motion instructs county Public Health Officer Barbara Ferrer to work with county CEO Sachi Hamai and county counsel to urge the state on obtaining a variance model for interested cities and/or regions.
Additionally, it asks for the county to pursue a variance model on behalf of Los Angeles County as a whole.