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Beverly Hills Retail Reopens, Dine-In Restaurants and Salons Still Closed
“We look forward to working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in arranging a safe way to reopen those non- essential businesses that have been affected by the crisis,” Friedman added.
The most recent County order (No. 120295 of the California Health and Safety Code), states that its intent is to “protect the public from the avoidable risk of serious illness and death resulting from the spread of COVID-19.”
The County order, which governs the minimum standard at which businesses in Beverly Hills must practice safety measures including physical distancing, limited access, cleanliness and entry screening, also mandates that people throughout the County practice physical distancing and wear a face covering when in contact with others.
“Our ability to reopen depends on a very high level of cooperation from the public,” L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (who represents Beverly Hills) told the Courier. “If it weren’t for the public’s willingness to practice social distancing, wear face covers and take necessary precautions, we would not be in a position to begin to plan a reopening,” she said.
Local businesses have slowly begun to reopen throughout the City. Nearby shopping malls will also be reopening again. The Beverly Center announced plans to reopen on May 29, with Westfield Century City planning to reopen on May 30.
As Regional Manager for Jaeger Le Coultre, Cagliata said that his brand was now in the process of determining how many employees would be on site as well as the number of hours that the store will be open.
“We are so happy,” said Cagliata. He added, “My guess is by Monday everyone is going to be ready to open with a big smile under their mask.”
One Beverly Hills mainstay, GEARYS on North Beverly Drive, reopened its doors even sooner, on May 28. According to its CEO and President Tom Blumenthal, the 50 percent occupancy limitation was not expected to be problematic.
“Our main store is 15,000 square feet and we’re allowed to have 250 people in our building. So that means 125 people under this rule. We will monitor it constantly. But we have plenty of room,” he told the Courier.
In addition to taking the temperatures of GEARYS employees, all customers will also have temperatures taken by the store’s security detail.
“We’ve been preparing for this for a couple of weeks,” said Blumenthal, noting that GEARYS had hired extra help to enforce health and safety regulations. “We’re totally ready to go.”
The County order also allows faith- based services to resume at 25 percent of the building’s capacity or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower. Pools, hot tubs and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association are allowed to reopen. Flea markets, swap meets and drive-in movie theaters may also resume operations.
The County’s order came one day after Gov. Newsom announced on Memorial Day that retail stores could resume operations pending County directives. That same day, May 25, the Beverly Hills City Council also sent a letter to the Governor urging him to allow cities to exert local control in reopening non-essential retail and restaurant establishments by June 1. While multiple counties across the state have already resumed dine-in services, including Ventura County, L.A. County has not given its approval to a single one of its 88 incorporated cities.
The Council’s letter was sent three days after it conducted a Special Session, during which dozens of local business owners made impassioned pleas for reopening.
Bruce Meyer, one of the founders of the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, was the first to advocate that the City Council work to expeditiously reopen the City further. The world-famous car show, a Father’s Day tradition, was slated to mark its 27th year on June 21 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m about to turn 80 next year,” he said, noting that his age alone placed him among the City’s most vulnerable population. “As a resident, business owner and property owner, I just feel compelled to speak on the restrictions.”
“I’m really here to lobby for all Beverly Hills business, big and small. Especially for the many family-owned businesses, this situation is absolutely dire,” Meyer said. “It’s time to fight for what we want.”
“We do want to write in support of our businesses,” Councilman Julian Gold, M.D., shared at the virtual meeting after hearing public comment.
During the Special Session, Councilman John Mirisch questioned the appropriateness of sending the letter in support of businesses reopening, given that the City’s Medical Advisory Task Force had not weighed in on the safety concerns involved. He was the only member of the Council not to sign the letter.
“While we appreciate all of your work on behalf of the State’s residents, we believe that further delay of the economic recovery will have lasting and devastating financial consequences to our local economy. As such, we urgently request that nonessential retail and restaurant establishments be allowed to safely reopen on June 1st with limited in-store shopping and indoor/outdoor dining capacity with all necessary health and safety protocols in place as determined by State and L.A. County medical experts,” stated the Council’s May 25 letter to Gov. Newsom.