Santa Clarita gyms, bars, theaters to close, following county’s order

FILE PHOTO Martha Aguilera, top right, talks to a group of about 40 people who gathered at the Canyon Theater Guild for a conversation about combatting drug use in the Santa Clarita Valley on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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Santa Clarita, the third-largest city in Los Angeles County, is one of 88 cities that implemented a county order Monday to close bars, gyms, theaters and other entertainment centers. 

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district covers the Santa Clarita Valley, made the announcement on behalf of the county that those locations must close in all cities and unincorporated areas, such as in Stevenson Ranch and Castaic. 

Closures, as a result of the novel coronavirus, also include dining-in restaurants. Eateries will only be allowed to offer take-out or delivery services, and grocery stores will be able to remain open. 

The directive is to remain in place until further notice, Barger’s office said in a news release Monday. 

“This is a constantly evolving issue and we appreciate everyone doing their part to help stem the further spread of the virus,” Barger said in a statement. “We’re moving into the next phase of preventative measures and do not make these decisions lightly.”

Mayor of Santa Clarita Cameron Smyth is back with a live afternoon update on the Coronavirus outbreak.

Posted by City of Santa Clarita Government on Monday, March 16, 2020

With the ever-changing developments regarding COVID-19, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth updated his Monday morning statement, in which he had said there would be no mandatory closures, after Barger’s announcement to reflect that the county’s order would also apply to the city. 

“As of the end close of business (Monday), all restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theaters, entertainment centers, fitness centers throughout Santa Clarita will be closed,” he said in a Facebook live announcement from City Hall. “And again, this is a measure that is quite extraordinary, but one that county and state and local officials deem to be necessary to help flatten that curve as quickly as we can. The sooner we get these decisions in place and these procedures to be followed, the sooner we can get back to restoring normalcy in our daily lives.” 

His statement follows Friday’s local emergency declaration, in which he emphasized that law enforcement, public transportation and online city services would continue to operate, and parks would remain open.  

With direction from the Centers for Disease Control, gatherings of more than 50 people are strongly discouraged, Barger also announced Monday. 

While Gov. Gavin Newsom made a request Sunday for similar closures statewide, the county’s guidelines on Monday are an order, according to Martha Molina-Aviles, a health deputy with the county. 

Details on how the county plans to enforce the closures were not yet shared but Molina-Aviles said the county is working closely with law enforcement and is communicating with the public to encourage cooperation. 

“We’re hoping that people will abide by the orders — it’s for the protection of the public,” she said. 

While protection is vital, closures would also impact thousands of businesses and their workers, said Barger. To address what working families might encounter as a result, she plans to work on eviction relief, such as a moratorium on evictions for residential tenants and small businesses in unincorporated county areas “until further direction from the state and federal governments on available funding.” 

The county also plans on helping small businesses apply for loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as waive late fees on utilities. 

For additional county information, visit lacounty.gov and for city information, visit santaclaritaemergency.com. 

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