LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California says flower shops, bookstores, sports goods and clothing retailers can all reopen with curbside pickup this Friday, but only if local leaders feel it would be safe to do so.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said again tonight that L.A. will not be ready.
“We want to make sure that we don’t do something reckless, and say, ‘Hey, we got out there a week or two weeks early,’ just to score political points,” he said.
Los Angeles County currently accounts for 55% of all coronavirus-related deaths in the state, but only 25% of the population.
The mayor said it could take another week or two before deaths and infections start to decline.
But on Tuesday, the need to restart the economy became painfully clear as the Wall Street Journal reported that California’s unemployment fund has been wiped out and the state has had to arrange a $10 billion loan with the federal government to keep benefits flowing — the first state in the nation to do so.
Last May, California had a $20 billion surplus, but today Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed the state is “tens of billions” in debt. He also said that too many people in need of benefits were waiting too long to get that relief.
“People are rightfully frustrated because of the deep anxiety and stress they have about their ability to pay even for basic things like food,” he said.
There was some good news Tuesday, though, with California businesses getting three times more federal small business loans in the current disbursement compared to the first round, including the Long Beach Tap House.
“It means that we are able to bring back at least eight employees, hopefully more,” owner Deanna Jones said. “We haven’t even been open a year. The community support is what is going to keep us alive.”
And while counties across the state debate how to reopen, Newsom and Garcetti continue to plead with people to be patient, go slow and be safe.
“Let’s not develop amnesia,” Newsom said. “Let’s not, as we keep saying, run that 90-yard dash.”
Although Garcetti said the city might not be ready to start Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan just yet, county supervisors are expected to announce their official plan Wednesday.