Laguna Beach COVID-19 community Update City of Laguna Beach, California

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020

City of Laguna Beach Added to Orange County COVID-19 Case Count Data

Today the Orange County Health Care Agency began reporting COVID-19 data for cities with a population under 25,000 once the City reports at least five positive cases.

According to the Health Care Agency, this compromise satisfies concerns raised by the County’s smaller cities to obtain data on reported cases and also protects patient confidentiality once cities report more than five cases.

As of Monday, March 30, the Health Care Agency reported 22 positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of Laguna Beach.

“The City of Laguna Beach was one of the first in the County to take action to close our beaches, trailheads, and beach parks to protect the safety of our community and slow the spread of the virus,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig. “While these actions will take time to show results, we want to thank our community for their diligence in respecting these closures, honoring the Governor’s stay-at-home order, and practicing social distancing. If we all take these steps, we can prevent the continued spread of COVID-19.”

A Letter to the Community From Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen

Dear Laguna Beach Residents,

I want to update you on several items regarding the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, my heartfelt thanks go out to our residents for the great job that you are doing in respecting the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order! As the Governor said again in his news conference today, the most potent step that each of us can take to overcome this pandemic is to be vigilant in practicing social distancing. Please keep up the great effort that you are making. It will save lives.

Second, I am most proud of the efforts that our first responders and City staff are making every day to enforce social distancing rules and respond to resident needs. One week ago, the City of Laguna Beach became the first City in Southern California to close beaches and our trailheads.

Later last week the City of San Diego, the County of Los Angeles and others followed and closed their beaches. Our Marine Safety and Public Works personnel and our Police Department stepped up and did an outstanding job of closing our beaches and trailheads within 24 hours and in educating the public regarding the need for the closures. I extend my personal thanks to all of our employees who are working so hard to enforce these closures and to respond to other calls for service.

The City Council understands the sacrifice that the closures require of our residents but, again, we believe these actions will save lives. Right now we are in the early stages of this health crisis and need to maximize public safety. All of us on the City Council thank you for your patience and understanding.

For the past week, the City Manager and I have been working with the County of Orange to obtain information regarding the specific number of COVID-19 cases in our community. Today we received the first local figures and 22 positive cases have been reported in Laguna Beach.

What should we take away from these figures? First, I urge everyone not to overreact to the numbers. We knew we would have COVID-19 cases in our city and know that the number of reported cases will rise for some period of time. To me, these numbers reinforce that the aggressive actions that the City Council took a week ago to close the beaches, trailheads, pool, and sport courts were appropriate and necessary.

Next, it further underscores the importance of social distancing and avoiding contact with others to the maximum extent possible. By practicing social distancing, avoiding contact with others as much as possible and washing hands frequently, the vast majority of us are going to be fine.

We have received input from you about social distancing concerns at grocery stores. The Business Liaison Unit of our Police Department has been in contact with each of our major grocery stores over the weekend to ensure that social distancing is enforced at those stores. The stores have been willing to comply and we appreciate their cooperation.

We have also received input from you about concerns that residential construction is continuing in the City. Under the Governor’s order, residential construction is an essential activity that may continue. Our Community Development Department is working hard to ensure that contractors respect neighbors and minimize impacts.

We appreciate the support, input and suggestions from everyone in the community regarding our COVID-19 efforts and will continue to respond to issues raised by our residents. I am confident that we as a City are taking the right steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach and we will continue to put the safety, health and well-being of our community first.

Finally, I encourage all of you to stay in touch with family and friends in this most difficult time and to please reach out if you need assistance. As we have shown in the past, we are a resilient community and we will come through this together.

Bob Whalen, Mayor of the City of Laguna Beach

State of California Health Order Remains in Effect for Orange County

On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Public Health Officer ordered all individuals to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. The order also dictated individuals employ social distancing practices by maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.

The County of Orange Public Health Order, originally set to expire March 31, 2020, is superseded by the State’s Executive Order until further notice.

Residents of Orange County are required to continue to stay at home except for essential needs.

Written and Call-in Public Comments Accepted During Tuesday, March 31 City Council Meeting

We are continuing to hold City Council meetings so we can conduct essential City business.

The upcoming Laguna Beach City Council meeting will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31.

Public participation at the upcoming City Council meeting shall be limited to electronic and telephonic participation.

You may email public comments regarding any item on the agenda or any item not on the agenda to cityclerk@lagunabeachcity.net by noon on the day of the City Council meeting. There is an interactive Public Communications Form on the front page of the City's website. Please note the agenda item you wish to comment on in your email.

You may also call in LIVE during the meeting on Tuesday and comment on items as they are being discussed during Public Comment. Just like an in-person meeting, time restrictions on public comments will be observed. For instructions on how to listen to the meeting and how to comment over the phone during the meeting, click the link below!

You can also watch the meeting live online on the City's website or on cable channel 852.

All City offices remain closed to the public. Essential services are provided.

For questions call (949) 497-3311 during regular business hours.

Laguna Beach City Staff Thanks Community For Staying Off Trails and Beaches and Social Distancing This Weekend

Last weekend we posted a combination of Marine Safety Lifeguards, Police Officers, Community Emergency Response Volunteers, and Trolley Drivers (who aren’t driving Trolleys right now) at beach access points and trailheads in Laguna Beach to encourage compliance with COVID-19 closures.

We are grateful that so many of you stayed home or in your own neighborhoods this past weekend. Thank you for your cooperation, everyone!

Laguna Beach Ralphs and Pavilions Grocery Stores Begin Stricter Social Distancing Measures

Starting today, both the Laguna Beach Pavilions and Ralphs stores will only start allowing only 50 customers inside to shop at any given time.

An employee will be counting customers at the door and also monitoring the number of customers inside. When at capacity, new customers will be allowed to enter when others exit.

A big thank-you to our local Ralphs and Pavilions for doing their part to help Flatten the Curve!

Construction Crews Asked to Be Mindful of Neighbors During Stay at Home Order

All California residents are to stay at home unless participating in essential functions. According to the state, construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) are considered part of “California’s Essential Workforce.”

While construction is allowed to continue at this time, we ask that builders be considerate of neighbors during this time while they are required to stay at home, and be mindful of the following:

• Move cutting or grinding equipment to an inside or enclosed area to minimize both dust and noise.

• Air compressors and generators shall be in an enclosed area to keep the noise to a minimum.

• Have the workmen keep six-foot distance from each other at all times and wear protective masks and gloves when possible.

• Try to keep any construction work away from property lines as much as possible.

• Keep the workmen from gathering in groups while on the jobsite at lunch breaks or before and after work.

• Delay starting any loud equipment until later in the morning.

Though Laguna Beach City Hall is closed to the public, the Laguna Beach Community Development Department is offering limited services online and over the phone to support planning, zoning, and building activities in the City of Laguna Beach.

Beaches, Trails and Parks Remain Closed to the Public

To protect the public and prevent the spread of COVID-19, all trail access to the County wilderness parks, all City beaches and adjacent beach parks remain closed.

South Main Beach Restrooms are Open 24/7

Public restrooms are available 24/7 at South Main Beach and available from dawn to dusk at Broadway Avenue (the Bus Depot), Ocean Avenue (Lot 3) and Heisler Park (South).

Affected South Laguna Beach locations include the closure of parking lots at Aliso Beach and the pedestrian stairs/access points to Thousand Steps Beach, Table Rock, Camel Point, West Street Beach and Treasure Island Beach.

Parking at Aliso Beach is Closed.

The County parking lots at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Nix Nature Center, James Dilley, Willow, and Big Bend are also closed.

Trailheads Remain Closed.

According to the state's stay at home order, you can still go outside for walks and recreation but won’t be able to do so in groups. Social distancing should be practiced at all times.

2020 Census online survey and phone response lines are wide open!

The phone line is 1 (844) 330-2020 and the online survey can be accessed at the link below.

OC Health Care Agency Accepting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Donations

The Orange County Health Care Agency is acceptation donations of PPE from Corporations or business.

Businesses that would like to donate can call the Orange County Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085, or click the link below.

Social Security Administration Services Offered Online

The Social Security Administration has closed ALL local Social Security offices to the public for in-person service. With offices closed, the agency encourages the public to access services online.

You can go online to apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits, check the status of an application or appeal, request a replacement Social Security card, or print a benefit verification letter. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Grab & Go Meals and Resources Available for Seniors

Age Well is providing “Grab & Go” meals for seniors in need every Monday, Wednesday & Friday as needed. For more information call Age Well Senior Services at (949) 715-5462.

The County has announced the availability of resources and support for seniors over 60 who may be self-isolating during the COVID-19 outbreak in Orange County. For more information, call the Office on Aging Information Center at 1 (800) 510-2020.

Sally's Fund team members are shopping, running errands and providing transportation for seniors to doctor's appointments. For more information on Sally's Fund services, call (949) 499-4100.

Orange County Creates Economic & Business Recovery Call Center

Effective March 30, Orange County Community Services has implemented a call center to meet the needs of businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The call center will offer information and resources to help Orange County businesses navigate the current economic climate. These resources will support businesses with challenges such as lay-off aversion, loans, utility reduction programs and community resource mapping.

Businesses can call the Economic & Business Recovery Call Center at (714) 480-6500, or click the link below for more information.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to helping local companies grow their businesses by taking the lead in programs to create a strong local economy. Small business owners can participate in a free Chamber of Commerce webinar Tuesday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m. to learn more about social media selling and commerce. Click the link below to register!

Takeout and Delivery Offered at Many Local Restaurants

Though bars that serve food and all restaurants are closed to on-site public dining, they may still offer takeout and food delivery.

Social distancing of 6 feet of separation between persons must be maintained at all restaurants offering takeout.

10-Year-Old Girl Sends Pizzas to Laguna Beach First Responders on Her Birthday

Meet Quincy! Quincy is a local philanthropist who’s tenth birthday wish was to deliver pizzas to the police officers, firefighters and first responders working to keep her safe.

Quincy got her wish with the help of her uncle Mark. The two of them sent pizzas to the police station and all four fire stations over the weekend. Quincy, you are one special girl and we’re proud and thankful for your kindness and generosity!

This newsletter is texted out directly to residents registered for Laguna Beach’s Nixle Community Alert system.

Know someone or a senior who needs to sign up? Simply have them text 92651 to 888-777.

Laguna Beach Public Safety Departments are Ready for COVID-19

If You Have An Emergency,

Always Dial 9-1-1

The City of Laguna Beach is Committed to Bringing You COVID-19 Information

Stay Updated on the Latest COVID-19 Information

The City of Laguna Beach is committed to keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 information. We're providing resources, closures and postponements, the latest COVID-19 news and health information on our website.

We’re @lagunabeachgov on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

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City of Laguna Beach