LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is hopeful that if Angelenos continue to stay strong and abide by the county's "Safer-at-Home" order, small businesses might begin to reopen under certain restrictions within the next two to six weeks.
The mayor said that although there are some exceptions, he believes a majority of his city's residents are doing their part by staying home and adhering to the social distancing protocols in place.
"99% of people have been really abiding by these and it shows in the numbers," Garcetti said. "We’ve been able to bend down this curve."
During a Good Day LA interview Tuesday, Garcetti reminded residents to "stay strong" and "stick with it" because "you have people's lives in your hands."
"It might not just be your life, but 50% of our households have somebody over 65, and/or somebody with a preexisting medical condition," he said during a Good Day LA interview Tuesday. "They’re gonna be vulnerable until we have a vaccine."
Garcetti said that he doesn't know exactly when the city will be able to relax its health order, adding that until they can use a virology test, or a basic swab test, on a random selection of roughly 1,000 residents per week, they won't know how infected the community truly is.
Once the city has the capacity to do that, the results "will help supervisors, mayors and other people make those decisions... not based on their gut but knowing that they’re protecting people,” he said.
Garcetti also said that it is “absolutely critical” that Southern California cities and counties work together in their fight against COVID-19, explaining that residents should not flock to neighboring areas where they're beginning to loosen their restrictions.
"I was told very early on by a public health professional that L.A. can do a great job, but if a neighboring county doesn't, we'll all get sick... and vice-versa," he said. "We don’t have walls between us.”
“It’s important to remember that 96% of us still have not gotten infected, according to the USC study. That means if we lifted everything up tomorrow, we could literally have 98% of us, they project, infected by August 1. That would be devastating. That would be the sorts of deaths we saw in Italy, in New York, so the next phase is about careful baby steps forward — take a couple of weeks and assess then, but really don’t jump out in front of anybody else.”
The mayor said that on Monday he spoke with the 13 mayors of the largest cities in California and they agreed to try to “move together” in their efforts against COVID-19.
“We agreed, let’s all try to move together. Let’s try to see if the state can help us move together — because otherwise this sort of 'Swiss cheese,' of one place having a hole and another place not, won’t work and it could kill people.”
When asked when Garcetti hopes that small businesses will be able to begin reopening under certain restrictions, he replied, "I hope in the next two to six weeks... But we have to make sure it's safe because the quickest way to see those stores closed for months again, would be to see this virus spread quickly."
"After May 15, I'd like to see us take some of those baby steps, but in conjunction with public health," Garcetti said.
"My message is: Stick with it. The more that we stick with it, the sooner we can take some steps forward," he said. "The more leakage we have before that order is amended, the longer it may last.”
L.A. County's "Safer-at-Home" order was extended earlier this month until May 15.
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