Coronavirus: Mayor to address local updates Friday

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal
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With California releasing its latest guidelines regarding the coronavirus, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth is expected to make a public announcement on Friday to address the city’s efforts. 

Council members will first meet with city staff in closed session at City Hall, starting at 3 p.m., and later make a public statement. 

“In light of the guidance provided by the governor (Gavin Newsom) and the state Department of Public Health, the council felt it was time to meet and discuss with city staff the best process to go forward with city events and activities to ensure that we are in compliance with the new guidelines,” said Smyth on Thursday. 

On Thursday, state and county health experts recommended that gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled, which includes concerts, conferences and other events, for at least the remainder of March. Smaller gatherings that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person were also suggested to be rescheduled or canceled. 

Santa Clarita’s biggest event of the year, the Cowboy Festival, is scheduled for April 18-19. While city officials have not yet announced whether they are considering postponing or canceling the event, Smyth said Tuesday during the regular City Council meeting that “we are monitoring, day-by-day, week-by-week,” adding that the city is “taking our cues from health professionals, so again, at this point, we haven’t canceled any events.” 

On Thursday, the mayor said that with new guidelines emerging frequently, a discussion had to be made following his message on Tuesday. 

“Just going from my comments on the council meeting on Tuesday to where we are in less than 48 hours later is certainly ever-changing,” he said. “The council and staff felt it was appropriate for us to get together and make some decisions.” 

City officials have met with multiple organizations, ranging from local hospitals to schools and law enforcement, as well as county Supervisor Kathryn Barger and state legislators who represent the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Because Santa Clarita does not have its own department of health, the city closely follows guidelines established by the county and its Public Health Department to prepare for any potential impacts. 

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