City to request indoor malls, breweries reopen

Shoppers in the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita City Council members agreed Tuesday to formulate support and request that Los Angeles County allow indoor malls and breweries to reopen, following several months of changing regulations and restricted operations.

The move came after Mayor Cameron Smyth proposed to his fellow councilmembers formally direct support for reopening both sectors. 

“The request would be to bring back a formal direction for the council to support their efforts to reopen with a letter of support from the city,” he said. 

While the state’s new color-coded tier allows for indoor shopping malls to open with a 25% capacity while in the purple tier, or the most restrictive level, which applies to L.A. County, the county continues to order that indoor malls remain closed. 

“Stores with a normally accessible public entrance on the exterior of an indoor mall or shopping center,” according to Public Health opening guidelines. “The interior of the mall is closed to the public and stores in the interior of the mall can only offer delivery or outdoor pick-up.” 

Indoor malls, such as the Westfield Valencia Town Center, have been among other sectors, such as restaurants, churches, wineries and zoos, to move from limited indoor operations back to temporary closures in mid-July, after Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled back further reopenings and California saw a peak in hospitalizations. 

The council’s decision Tuesday comes after the county Board of Supervisors received about 50 comments from the public, of which the vast majority urged the county to reopen indoor malls and breweries.  

Smyth also heard from Westfield officials and local breweries, he said, asking for the council’s support in helping them voice how businesses have struggled amid closures brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I received a request from a number of our local businesses owners, predominantly our local brewers, you know, think of Wolf Creek and Pocock (Brewing Company) and some of the others, and they’re part of a coalition called Save L.A. Brewers campaign, and they are advocating for them to have the opportunity to be reopened,” he said.   

Council members are expected to discuss the matter and provide direction at their Oct. 13 meeting. 

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