LAGUNA WOODS (CBSLA) — Horn-honking, sign-wielding seniors in Laguna Woods do not want a hotel feet from their retirement community to house homeless COVID-19 patients.

“Why would they put this right near where we live,” Fran Garbo, a Laguna Woods Village resident, said. “This is where we live. Right across the street, that is where we shop, the drug store, the grocery store.”

“Gov. [Gavin] Newsom has said take care of the seniors,” Marie Juliganga, another resident, said. “Is this how our county seniors are taking care of the seniors?”

“The average age is 76 here in the village,” one man said. “You’ve got a lot of people at risk. This shouldn’t be happening.”

RELATED: Coronavirus Cases In Orange County Climb To 711; Fatalities Remain At 13

In a last-minute, closed meeting Friday night, the Laguna Woods City Council met to discuss the lease signed by the county to use the Ayres Hotel to treat COVID-19 patients.

After being barraged by complaints from angry residents, the area’s Orange County Supervisor, Lisa Bartlett, said this was not her decision.

Bartlett said it was not even the Orange County Board of Supervisors decision and that the emergency mandate came directly from the governor to the emergency operations center to immediate shelter infected homeless in motels and hotels across the state.

She said that Ayres Hotel was the only one that met the state’s guidelines and offered to help.

“This is a complete lockdown isolation unit,” she said. “They are not free to come and go. They don’t get visitors. From the time they enter, virtually 100% of the services will be done on site. The healthcare workers that are going to be coming into the city will be following the same protocols that are used in hospitals.”

In an effort to keep nearby seniors safe, Bartlett said health care workers from the hotel will not be able to shop at stores in the area.

There are not yet any patients at the Ayres hotel. The county said this weekend that if and when they start taking in patients, the first ones would arrive between 7-10 days.

Comments (20)
  1. Pat Gahan says:

    Statistics show that Laguna Woods Village has a zero Covid 19 case rate. While the average age of the village is 76, the average age of our 3 assisted living facilities plus The Towers (320 pop) is in the mid-80s. This is probably the most vulnerable community in all of Southern California, I’m certain there are other almost empty hotels in south Orange County which would be more than willing to earn $450,000 a month for 5 or more months and become shelter hospitals for homeless covid patients. Why were we not given an opportunity to consider this decision? Why was this matter handled in secret sessions with the Ayres Hotel? And the
    biggest question, when did all that money change hands?

  2. Chris says:

    Lest God Judge you. Revelations.

  3. Chris says:

    Jesus came here of the poor. Not of the wicked

  4. Chris says:

    You all should be ashamed. No compassion for the unfortunate .. Do you judge everyone? Evidently so. You will be remembered come judgement hour.

  5. Chris says:

    I truly cannot believe how I compassionate you all are in this video. You think even those behind a mask can hide from our father? You are sadly mistaken. He is everywhere. You should repent. Please, before time is lost. And for you, it will be lost so do not haste.

  6. Docprudent says:

    The risks outweigh the benefits of this poor plan Chris Cuomo, the TV journalist, brother of New York Gov. Cuomo tested positive. He has no contact with anyone with covid-19 and he practiced social distancing. So there are still unknowns about transmission dynamics. Whenever seniors contract the virus, a large proportion require hospitalization and intensive care. This will overwhelm the health care system and will serve no one in the long run. There is a more isolated Ayres in Mission Viejo, not densely populated by highly vulnerable seniors. Why not use that then. It is difficult to get 100% compliance. Do you really want a plan , that if it fails, will be truly disastrous? All decisions must be risk based,

  7. Didi says:

    My 93 year old father lives in Laguna Woods and we were already concerned for his LIFE before this monstrosity popped up out of nowhere. This is an ill conceived back room deal and people involved need to be held personally accountable. Dirty politics, stupid stupid stupid. Shame on you, whoever engineered this corrupt deal.

    1. docprudent says:

      Didi. Please go to and read my petition to 21 decision makers on this conversion, the title is Petition Governor Newsom & Orange County Board: Stop Ayres Conversion in Laguna Woods. If you agree to my points, please sign the petition and email or tweet it to your California contacts. Signing it is free. We are not asking for donations. Just trying to garner people power through numbers and voters. There is an election coming up soon. Let our voices be heard. Our lives are worth more than $450,000 that Ayres got to bring the virus to our community. Currently, we have zero confirmed cases because we complied with the shelter-in-place mandate.

  8. docprudent says:

    If you do decide to sign the petition at change,org o this issue, please leave the same comment you wrote above about 93 year old father. There are two petitions on the subject. The one title Petition Governor Newsom & Orange County Board: Stop Ayres Conversion in Laguna Woods is the one addressed to 21 decision makers not just 3. Your comments will help show that the impact goes beyond Laguna Woods. Thank you.

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