LOS ANGELES - As bars and beaches close and establishments face restrictions, CHP officials are reviewing permits for protests this upcoming weekend.
CHP officials have received permits for protests along with weddings and other public gatherings. CHP is currently "evaluating the permits," according to officials.
Melina Abdullah, the Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter LA said their protests will not stop any time soon.
"It's important that we remember that although the health pandemic and economic fallout are disproportionately hitting Black folks that we also have other pandemics like the killing of Black people at the hands of police so we can't just be silent around those issues and so it's important to keep protesting," said Abdullah.
Abdullah said the group asks people to wear masks at the protests.
"We want to protest with masks on. We want to protest and be safe as possible in those protests. We, in fact, had to call out some people from the stage at the protest last week who didn't have masks on. We want to make sure that as we say Black lives matter we're also protecting our own Black lives so we try to be as observant as possible and really take care of each other in the midst of it all," she said.
There's a growing uproar about why protests are OK while other gatherings are being discouraged or banned.
"I've only heard that with regard to our protests but when white protesters are at state houses without masks and with guns, there isn't the same outcry so I think that those who are telling Black people to go home need to really examine why it is they're saying that," said Abdullah.
Critics are calling out local leaders like Mayor Eric Garcetti who has shown his support for the protests. He is facing some backlash for recently saying there is no "concrete evidence showing protests led to the rise in COVID-19 cases."
"We follow the data closely. There's no evidence yet that the protests led to much spread though it's something that Doctor Ferrer has hypothesized, but we haven't seen any conclusive evidence there. People still can obviously and should exercise their First Amendment rights. This is a critical moment not to let up with that," Garcetti said.
Abdullah said she does not believe the protests have led to the spread either.
"Every study has said that there is absolutely no evidence that traces back to protests contributing to the spread of COVID-19 especially because if you look at any of the protests, we are wearing masks, they are outdoor protests by and large," Abdullah said.
Abdullah said when the group protested indoors regarding LAUSD's school police budget, they wore masks and practiced social distancing.
Governor Gavin Newsom also addressed protesting during the pandemic.
"We're just encouraging people to be safe, to be thoughtful about themselves and others. People know what the right thing to do is. I encourage them to do the right thing and people also understand that we have a Constitution. We have the right to free speech and we are all dealing with a moment in our nation's history that is profound and pronounced. Do what you think is best not only for you, but for the health of those you love. Look at the epidemiology. Look at the spread of this virus over the last few weeks. Look at the fact that our hospitalization rate has gone up 56 percent in just two weeks. Consider the fact the ICU's have gone up 49 percent in the last few weeks," said Newsom.
Abdullah said if there's a stay-at-home order issued, the protests might be moved to an online format, but until then, the protests continue.
"When there was a complete shut down, safer at home orders in place, we continued with the protests in virtual form and if it rises to that level then we'll continue in virtual form if necessary, but as of now, we're planning to have boots on the ground, planning to stay in the streets to continue to uplift the call for justice. Our plan is to absolutely call out elected officials who like to say Black lives matter, but not make Black lives matter in their own jurisdictions so we're not going to be quiet," said Abdullah.
Black Lives Matter holds protests outside of Jackie Lacey's office every Wednesday afternoon, and plans to continue to do so.