Over the past nine months, we have seen an ever-changing world as COVID-19 cases have spiked, slowed and surged again around the country. As the pandemic has dragged on, Santa Clarita residents have remained resilient and dedicated to doing their part to slow the spread locally while supporting businesses in need in our community.
I want to send my deepest thanks to essential workers in Santa Clarita because they have not stopped — and in many cases done more — to ensure their families, friends and neighbors have access to vital goods, services and resources to remain safe and healthy. I especially want to express my gratitude for the staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. Their preparation, training and adaptability have enabled them to continue to provide top-class medical care for all patients, not just those with COVID-19.
We must continue to follow social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines to support our health workers, who are overwhelmed not just by the number of patients they treat but also by the physical and emotional toll this pandemic has caused. As one Southern California physician noted, hospitals have done everything they can possibly do. Now it is up to the public to do our part to lessen the load.
Part of this means implementing new public health orders that have come down from the state and county levels and require us all to change how we go about our daily lives. These orders can be confusing — and at times contradictory — so I wanted to help clarify the most recent orders released that are currently in place for Santa Clarita.
Under county and state
As a reminder, the city of Santa Clarita falls under the jurisdictions of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the state of California’s Department of Public Health. While the City Council has sought variances from the county and state and explores the feasibility of Santa Clarita having its own public health department, we must continue to follow the orders that are given by those two agencies.
On Dec. 6, Southern California was placed under a regional stay-at-home order by the state, and Los Angeles County’s Public Health order was updated to align with the new restrictions. This regional order is in place until at least the night of Sunday, Dec. 27, but regional statistics may lead to an extension.
Here’s what these newest orders change about restrictions in Santa Clarita. First, hair salons, barbershops and personal care services must remain closed. Though playgrounds were initially closed under the state’s order, the order has been revised, and playground equipment throughout the city remains open and available to use.
Occupancy limits have also been tightened to limit crowding inside retail establishments and shopping centers. These places can operate at 20% capacity provided that all other public health protocols from the county are in place, including 100% masking and physical distancing rules.
Offices that are not part of a critical infrastructure sector, as defined by the state, should allow employees to work remotely. Worship services are able to continue with outdoor services as well.
Support local restaurants
Our restaurant owners and workers have faced constant uncertainty as well, shifting from in-person dining to outdoor-only service to now just takeout or delivery, often after investing money and resources into being able to keep the business open. I encourage you to support restaurants in Santa Clarita by getting meals for takeout or delivery, and be sure to tip the staff when you do!
As ICU capacity throughout the state has dwindled due to not just the coronavirus but other health ailments, it is important that we continue to do our part to keep COVID-19 case counts low in the Santa Clarita Valley. It is also important to remember the Santa Clarita CAN-DOs so you can maintain your physical, mental and emotional health this holiday season.
City of Santa Clarita parks remain open, including the recently opened Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita. Multipurpose fields are available to run around and play games with your family, while the city’s trails and paseos are a great way to get out for exercise and connect with nature. You can get more information on CAN DOs, including links to the latest at-home and virtual events, by visiting santa-clarita.com/CANDOs.
Santa Clarita residents continue to show their resilience, and I am proud to call you all my neighbors. As we get through this cold and flu season on top of coronavirus, we will do our part to flatten the curve in our valley once more.
Please stay safe, enjoy time with your family and have a wonderful holiday season!
Councilman Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].