BOS Authorizes Plan Preparation to Ease Safer at Home Order

Supervisor Barger Directs Action Plan to Ease Safer At Home Orders and Safely Reopen Los Angeles County 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger authored a motion that guides the directors of Public Health, Health Services, Mental Health and other appropriate county departments to develop an action plan detailing measures needed to contain COVID-19 and outlining the prerequisites for relaxing the Safer at Home Public Health Order. This motion, co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, was unanimously approved today, Tuesday, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“Decisions at the state and local level to protect the public health by instituting physical distancing were necessary, but asked more of our communities than ever before,” Supervisor Barger said. “We are all eager to return to some sense of normalcy but, to do so, we must have an action plan that outlines how we move toward our goal.”

The motion also directs the County’s Office of Emergency Management to engage the business community, labor partners and county and city representatives to develop plans to relax restrictions of the Safer at Home directive, which will include physical distancing and face covering guidelines. This enables businesses and organizations ample time to prepare for reopening with physical distancing infrastructures and safety precautions in place.

 Last week, Supervisor Barger and Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Dept. of Public Health, announced the criteria LA County must meet before easing restrictions under the Safer at Home Order. This includes: the capacity to care for those who are sick; protection for the most vulnerable; increasing the ability to test, isolate and quarantine; and ensuring ongoing physical distancing. LA County is working to increase testing and prevent a huge surge in cases that would overwhelm hospitals.

Today’s action by the board of supervisors further defines how the County can meet these prerequisites and ease Safer at Home restrictions in coordination with the state. 

         “From the start, I have recognized that saving lives is how we save our economy in the long run. I thank everyone who continue to stay home, wear face coverings, and practice physical distancing when visiting essential businesses,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, co-author of the board motion. “Our Safer at Home Order included the painful decision to close non-essential businesses. It was not easy, but there is no doubt that decision saved lives. Now, the next step is to begin clearing a path to safely reopen LA County’s economy. For that, we will engage with our business community and labor partners. We will all be guided by the scientific data shared by our public health experts. We will be deliberate and mindful in this process.”

The report back to the Board on the development of these plans is due in seven days.

A link to the full motion adopted by the Board of Supervisors can be found below.

Safely Reopening Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County and our 10 million residents, businesses and local communities have suffered significant loss in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the local, state and federal levels, our County residents have had to comply with guidelines and public health orders that have led to sacrifices as thousands of individuals have fallen to the coronavirus, and many have faced the loss of life. We mourn those most severely and significantly impacted every single day.
Decisions to protect the public by instituting physical distancing were necessary and essential – yet they asked more of our children, youth, adults and older adults than ever before. And thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of the vast majority of our residents, Los Angeles County thus far, has slowed the spread of the catastrophic Coronavirus.
The early planning and public protection of the “Safer at Home” public health order included the painful decision to close non-essential businesses and limit the personal contact among loved ones. And while we continue to suffer from the effects of
COVID-19, we must begin planning for the re-opening of our local economy and to enable individuals to safely reconnect, as soon as possible — knowing we must continue approaches that have worked to protect the public and slow the spread.
To support these efforts, Los Angeles County has established and vastly expanded access to testing; supported the availability of appropriate medical care; and guided self-quarantine efforts – all in an effort to protect the public. As we have successfully established multiple approaches to slow the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the devastating impact to our County, so too must we begin a multifaceted plan to re-open businesses, boost our economy, and enable loved ones to reconnect.

Any such plan for relaxing public health orders must be based on appropriate health data indicators as determined by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) in coordination with state and federal guidelines. On April 14, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom outlined six critical indicators the state will consider before modifying its “Safe-at-Home” order, which includes increased testing, tracing, isolation and ensuring surge capacity in hospitals, and continued physical distancing in businesses, schools, and childcare facilities. On April 16, 2020,
federal leaders similarly issued guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” with gating criteria to allow for statewide or county-by-county phased re-opening based on health criteria, robust testing, and a reduced number of symptoms and cases experienced. Any plans also need to ensure we have sufficient surge capacity in our ICU beds and necessary equipment such as respirators
WE, THEREFORE MOVE, that the Chief Executive Office, in collaboration with the Office of Emergency Management:
1) Direct the Department of Public Health, Department of Health Services, Department of Mental Health and any other appropriate departments to provide a report within 7 days with details on measures needed for containment of
COVID-19 and needed Prerequisites for Relaxing the Safer at Home Order.
2) Develop a plan to engage the business community and our labor partners in any plans to relax restrictions of the Safer at Home directive to allow for adequate input and preparations to re-open under the physical distancing and face-covering public health guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and report back to the Board of Supervisors in 7 days in consultation with the Departments of Public Health, Health Services, Mental Health, and any other appropriate departments.