Beverly Hills Continues To Safely Reopen
Beverly Hills is on track to return to its former bustling state following an announcement this week by Los Angeles County that beginning June 12 several more industries would be allowed to reopen with various safety measures. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health called it “the most comprehensive reopening since strict public health guidelines were put in place in March.”
The newest reopenings slated for Friday include: gyms and fitness facilities; professional sports without live audiences; day camps; museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums; campgrounds, RV parks and outdoor recreation; music, film and television production; and hotels, lodging and short-term rentals for tourism and individual travel.
“If at any time, the county’s rate of infection and other key metrics demonstrate a rapid acceleration of new cases that threatens to overwhelm the healthcare system, the Department of Public Health and the Board of Supervisors may need to limit future re-openings or close reopened sectors,” cautioned a press release issued by the county’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center.
Just as is required for all activities outside the home, people must practice physical distancing and wear cloth face coverings throughout the entire county when in proximity to others. Still closed are nail salons, tattoo shops, bars and wineries, movie theaters, live performance theaters, entertainment centers, concert halls and venues, stadiums, arenas, gaming facilities, theme parks and festivals.
As people begin the process of transitioning back into this “new normal,” Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Johnson told the Courier that ensuring the existence of effective safety protocols would be critical.
“What’s going to be most important is how safe people are going to feel when they go back out,” Johnson said. “The fact that our City promotes itself as being a very safe City, we can build on that.”
Beverly Hills Marketing and Economic Sustainability Manager Laura Biery emphasized how expeditiously the City works to quickly and effectively communicate with businesses on how to best reopen.
“It’s kind of a slow and gradual process,” she described. “Businesses are trying to ensure they’re doing it safely, not only for the customers but also for their employees.”
For retailers, many of whom had just reopened or were on the precipice of reopening at 50 percent capacity when the civil unrest prompted scores of establishments throughout the City to board, the delay has allowed additional time to get proper protocols in place.
“It’s in the great interest of all of us to follow all of these directions so we can keep COVID-19 at bay. It would be very detrimental to not follow the guidelines,” Rodeo Drive Committee President Nicola Cagliata told the Courier. “We make sure that every single one of our members is aware of the City’s guidelines.”
He praised the City’s efforts in communicating “clear and very simple guidelines” to follow.
“It is amazing the level of partnership, collaboration and unity that this City has been displaying in these last two or three months,” Cagliata said.
While businesses are essentially tasked with enforcing the protocols, Biery said Beverly Hills Ambassadors and Code Enforcement officers are also walking the streets to ensure that safety measures are being upheld.
“If businesses aren’t complying with protocols, they go in and do education,” she said. “Sometimes they just did not realize and they need a little bit of education to come into compliance.”
For all businesses, that means PPEs and face coverings for employees. Patrons must also wear face coverings, except when eating or drinking. In addition, there is specific signage that must be posted. Biery said that while the City was focusing on the “education piece” right now, businesses could receive citations if they fail to comply. Additionally, residents and individuals can always contact the Department of Public Health or the City’s Code Enforcement division if they observe any violations.
“I think if restaurants don’t follow guidelines, they’re going to get busted pretty quickly, either by the county or by residents,” Johnson said, noting that the “policing” of business compliance was not the primary issue. “We have to help businesses get ready. And safety will be primary. I think what’s going to happen is that Beverly Hills will be known for safety.”