Council Holds Emergency Meeting on COVID-19


At an emergency afternoon meeting held on Monday, March 16, the Glendale City Council voted unanimously to declare a local emergency and enact urgent and immediate actions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Effective 11:59 p.m. Monday night, restaurants will be limited to take-out, delivery or drive-thru options only. Bars that serve food will be allowed to prepare orders to-go or food to be picked up; bars that do not serve food will close. The emergency measures will be in effect through March 31 and may be extended by the city manager or further action of the council.

While the measures adopted mirror an emergency declaration issued by Los Angeles City mayor Eric Garcetti late Sunday night and slightly more stringent edicts issued by the County of Los Angeles, Glendale opted to hold off on protections from COVID-19-related evictions, pending further consideration.

Banquet halls, hookah lounges, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, and live performance venues are all expected to immediately halt operations. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and food banks will remain open.

Updating the council on the city’s actions, Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas cited the numbers as of 3 p.m. on Monday: 169,387 cases worldwide, 6,513 deaths, active cases now in at least 148 countries. There were approximately 11,000 potential patients being monitored by the county’s public health officials and, as of Monday, two cases confirmed in Glendale.

Lanzas urged calm and respect and detailed the actions the city is taking, including more frequent cleaning and disinfecting of the city’s buses.

All city facilities will be closed. Services such as those provided by the Verdugo Jobs Center will be arranged by appointment. Up-to-date information can be found on the city’s website

Glendale Water and Power shutoffs are suspended through the end of April.

The Salvation Army and Catholic Charities’ Loaves and Fishes both operate local food banks.

City Manager Yasmin Beers told the council that she had been reaching out to local grocers to coordinate potential “senior shopping hours.” Lanzas emphasized that both “the governor and the President have said there is no reason to hoard purchase. There is no shortage of food; there is not expected to be shortages of food.”

Councilmember Frank Quintero added that Costco and Ralph’s are hiring.

Responding to questions from Councilmember Paula Devine, the Montrose Harvest Market will need to make changes in its food serving area to comply with the new rules but, as of Wednesday, it and the La Cañada Farmer’s Market are planning to be open. The city will work with area restaurants to designate parking spots for food pick-up.

“I’ve had some pleas from bar owners to hold off until after St. Patrick’s Day,” Mayor Ara Najarian shared.

Quintero replied, “All you have to do is look at how [COVID-19] has advanced in countries like Italy – and those are places with excellent medical care.”

Public commenter Alexander Najarian urged the council to think of the potential impact on local businesses “in a city where you can’t change the windows on your house without an EIR,” and to set up a hotline for help for small and hurting businesses.

City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian focused on the importance of the city’s immediate action and staying up-to-date “to ensure the safety of our community and stop the spread of the coronavirus. The recommendations for social distancing should be taken seriously and people should take precautions to prevent the spread of germs. We also need to work to help our most vulnerable populations such as our seniors and anyone who has a compromised immunity system. I encourage everyone to follow the city’s website as well as the Centers for Disease Control. Having accurate information and sharing that information via the tools of social media available to us will help stop this disease in its tracks.”