In a much anticipated press conference on May 7, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced detailed guidelines for how some businesses could begin to reopen with modifications as early as Friday, May 8.
“At the end of the day, these are meaningful modifications (to the Stay at Home order),” he said, underscoring that the decision came in response to a flattening of the curve related to COVID-19 infections. “The guidelines we’re focused on today are extending opportunities in the retail sector, the manufacturing sector and the logistics sector, all with adaptations, all with modifications, but all with an eye on turning the page and moving into a new phase in terms of our economic recovery.”
The majority of businesses poised to reopen, including toy stores, florists, book stores, music stores, clothing stores, sporting goods stores and car dealership showrooms, will only open initially for curbside pick-up.
To facilitate curbside pick-up in Beverly Hills, the City plans to convert parking meters to free five-minute customer loading meters exactly as it has done for restaurants and pharmacies that remain open during this time.
“Rodeo Drive looks forward to welcoming clients to our curbsides for contactless pick-ups,” Rodeo Drive Committee Vice President and manager of Valentino Kathy Gohari told the Courier. “We hope this leads our community in the right direction towards post-COVID business revitalization.
During this time, our Rodeo Drive community is ready to receive you with utmost care while practicing social distancing guidelines. We take the health and safety of our community very seriously.”
Both the governor and Los Angeles County representatives continue to emphasize that if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, then the state will need to curtail these less restrictive measures.
“This by no stretch of the imagination is over. We want to contain the spread,” Gov. Newsom said. “We are making real progress in the state because you all practiced physical distancing and you abided broadly by the Stay at Home order. But we are not out of the woods.”
As of press time, California had a reported 60,614 cases of the virus, including 28,644 in Los Angeles (116 in Beverly Hills). Statewide over 2,500 people have died from COVID-19, more than half of whom (1,367) resided in Los Angeles County.
Per the governor’s specific guidelines, before reopening all facilities must: perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan; train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them; implement individual control measures and screenings; implement disinfecting protocols; and implement physical distancing guidelines. Available on the state’s website are further specific guidelines for various industries.
In advance of the detailed guidelines being released, on May 6 the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health unveiled a five-stage recovery roadmap based on brush strokes Gov. Newsom initially provided on Monday on how some businesses could reopen as long as they adhere to specific modifications. In making that announcement he said that local officials would have more flexibility to move further into reopening cities.
“[The county] is really the guidance for us in Beverly Hills,” Marketing and Economic Sustainability Manager Laura Biery told the Courier. “We’re all very excited about Friday and the opportunity for businesses to start doing some of these transactions that previously they had not been able to do.”
Following Wednesday’s announcement by the county, the City immediately began notifying local businesses, including information that further details would be made available once the safety protocols are published by the governor and the county. According to Biery, roughly 200 businesses in the City’s business tax system fall within those categories listed by the county that qualify to reopen.
Beverly Hills Mercedes Benz General Manager Frank Murphy, who will oversee the reopening of the dealership on May 8, told the Courier that his business was primed, particularly given that the auto repair portion had remained open throughout the pandemic as an essential business.
“Most of the car dealers in the Los Angeles area have been ahead of the curve,” he said, noting that Mercedes Benz had installed special plexiglass shields in the service area. “We’ve been at the forefront of making sure our employees and customers are safe.”
In addition to requiring employees to wear a mask and gloves, Murphy said that they were disinfecting all cars and would be using special steering wheel and seat covers.
“There’s nothing like seeing a car. Buying a car is a very personal experience,” he said. “To have our showrooms back open, I think it’s a testament to the job the people of Beverly Hills and the people of California have done so we can reopen.”