Story by Janice Park and Lenise Diaz
Illustration by Alicia Zhang
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Tuesday, May 26, that houses of worship could reopen at 25 percent capacity and all retail businesses could begin in-person shopping with social distancing guidelines. The decision comes after the city met Garcetti’s outlined criteria to progress in economic reopening: a less than five percent increase in the return of positive tests, average weekly hospitalization rates under a five percent increase, and sufficient testing capacity.
The coronavirus outbreak forced all non-essential business to close in mid-March, until some were able to start curbside pickup when L.A. County transitioned to phase two of its reopening plan the second week of May. Even though religious centers and retail businesses were given the green light for reopening with specific protocols, personal services such as hair salons and barbershops as well as restaurant dining are still prohibited.
Garcetti’s announcement only applies to the city of L.A. and thus not South Pasadena, but his declaration does set a precedent for other cities to follow suit. Small businesses are essential to South Pasadena’s economy and also create its unique, small-town feel.
The South Pasadena City Council has not yet discussed reopening houses of worship or all retailers, but it recently floated the idea of utilizing outdoor spaces to safely allow restaurants to serve diners. South Pasadena has been in phase two of L.A. County’s reopening process since Saturday, May 9, when the Arroyo Seco Golf Course, hiking trails, and select low-risk retailers reopened for curbside pick-up.
All L.A. County residents are now able to receive free coronavirus testing, even if they are not presenting symptoms. The County can accommodate a total of approximately 25,000 people per day at its 36 testing sites, which include locations at the Rose Bowl and California State University, Los Angeles.
South Pasadena currently has 125 confirmed coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, as of Saturday, May 30. The L.A. County Department of Public Health continues to urge residents to wear masks and follow proper social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of the virus.