Pasadena’s public health officials are unable to say whether they will follow the county’s example in issuing a health ordinance that forces the city’s restaurants to suspend outdoor meals for three weeks. Many say this move could be devastating for the struggling industry and its economically battered employees.
“The city of Pasadena will continue to evaluate our COVID numbers, work closely with Huntington Hospital and provide as much advance notice as possible if the city’s health orders change in any way,” city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said in a statement to the press. city council meeting on Monday, November 23rd.
During the discussion, health officials said they are still analyzing the data and trying to determine if restaurants should be forced to serve only delivery, delivery and management. Meanwhile, several members of the city council expressed a strong interest in the secession of the county and the opening of the city’s restaurants; some treated it as a forgotten conclusion.
Although lagging behind the county in minor decisions, the Pasadena Department of Public Health typically followed the county’s leadership in major restrictions on the coronavirus. Local officials said they did not want to create a confusing policy between the different cities and were wary of attracting more and more visitors to the city who wanted to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions.
If Pasadena does not follow the leadership of the county, this could be one of the biggest departures between the two health departments since the start of the pandemic.
“I’m glad we’re not connected to the county and recognize our own health authority,” said Victor Gordo, the current councilor and elected mayor, who will take office next month. “It’s a much better method. We respond to businesses. “
Mayor Steve Mermell quickly jumped in to clarify.
– We didn’t make a decision. We will assess it, he said. – One way or another, we didn’t do anything.
Ultimately, this is not the decision of the city council, but the decision of the city leader and the public health department.
Gordo urged city staff to ask the county to survey the data and reverse their decision.
Mermell looked confident a conversation would take place, given that at least two county supervisors, including Kathryn Barger, publicly opposed the move. Earlier in the day, Barger issued a press release arguing that most of the new cases stemmed from private meetings rather than restaurant meals.
The press release appeared on the corner of a health order issued on Sunday, which ordered the suspension of outdoor meals starting Wednesday, November 25th. The Supervisory Board will meet on Tuesday to discuss the order. Some members are likely to push for its return.
According to Mermell, Pasadena was “blinded by this quick announcement, and apparently by the county supervisors.”
Councilor Steve Madison and Deputy Mayor Tyron Hampton, along with Gordo, were the most prominent, which Pasadena keeps open for al fresco dining.
“We’re going to go through COVID when vaccinations multiply and the virus will hopefully run its way,” Madison said, “but the economic damage will be with us for a very long time. … We don’t have the resources we did six months ago to help these businesses. I feel very strong that we should not follow the county. “
Hampton stressed that if the state says the outdoor meal is okay, Pasadena should keep it.
“We can’t choose which businesses fail,” Hampton said. While city employees continue to pay, whether the city stops or not, he warned that there is a large group of people who could lose their jobs before the holidays if the city closes its restaurants.
“It’s a stock issue,” Hampton said, arguing that the country’s richest people benefited during the pandemic, while the poorest residents suffered.
Councilors John Kennedy and Andy Wilson warned a little more caution, stressing that staff should do what the data indicates is best and stay away from solutions that are unlikely to have a real impact. Mermell said they intend to do so, although he acknowledged that the county’s decisions could affect Pasadena.
“Are we worried that if the county really goes ahead and closes restaurants, does that mean everyone is going to flood into Pasadena?” – he said, suggesting that certain restrictions be placed on outdoor meals in order to curb the expected weight. – We want to be aware. We are intentional. We’re careful. We are not rashes.
But it is a very difficult decision for health officials, such as Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director of public health, who stressed that the number of new cases of Pasadena has skyrocketed in recent days, citing a recent increase of almost 200%, especially among young people and children. .
For their part, Long Beach public health officials have already said they will follow the county’s leadership in banning outdoor meals.
“While people think their social circle is tight, the risk they think is greater than they know,” said Dr. Matthew Feaster, the city’s epidemiologist. “Keeping us safe during these holidays stays at home. … The risk is increasing every day. “
Dr. Lori Morgan, president and CEO of Huntington Hospital, shared similar gloomy news. In recent days, the average number of daily positive tests has doubled, from 51 to 106, while coronavirus-related hospitalizations have jumped 55%.
Meanwhile, some caterers hoped after the city meeting that they might be able to keep the doors open in some quality.
“I’m really happy with the way things are going, I can barely talk,” Gail Kohl, owner of Gail’s Italian Restaurant, said in a text message to this newsgroup.
Without outdoor meals, Kohl said his business will struggle to survive. Many other restaurant owners have made similar requests.
“I can’t survive without outside meetings,” Kohl said in an interview. “No one knows. We don’t have enough money. We’re not McDonalds. We’re not a chain restaurant with deep pockets.
Kohl and his restaurant partner, Frank Gale, employed his staff better than anyone else. They both stressed that health orders were followed as a T-shirt because they wanted to maintain their health among their customers and employees while expressing frustration with other operators who were not so responsible.
If shutdown was the only way to keep everyone safe, they both supported the move, but they both felt that there wasn’t enough attention to alternative solutions and they certainly didn’t pay enough attention to the wells of their employees — beings.
“It’s easy to sit there and say we have to stop, but we also need a solution for those who don’t have a job because of the decision,” Gale said. – Government officials who make such decisions do not understand the lives of the vast majority of California people. Even though they say they understand, they don’t understand. That’s not possible. “
The timing couldn’t be worse, they said. Employees were just rushing for missed rents and getting ready for the holiday gift. Instead, they threaten their livelihoods.
Meanwhile, restaurants often lose their place during the holidays when people tend to eat a little more; this cannot happen this year, Kohl warned, and the effects could be devastating for the owners.
“Please give us a chance to do the right thing,” he said. “Let’s compromise with our seats, our time constraints, just to meet. I have a very healthy business, but I don’t know about this next closure. I can’t do it anymore.