In his last COVID-19 briefing as Santa Clarita’s mayor, Cameron Smyth addressed Monday how the “Safer at Home” order affects the local community and efforts the city is taking in tackling the effects of the pandemic.
His announcement comes as Los Angeles County and the rest of Southern California entered into its first day of California’s regional safer-at-home order after the region reached 85% of its intensive care unit capacity Friday — meaning the availability of beds dipped below the state’s capacity threshold of 15%, falling to 13.1%. As of Monday, the region had dropped even further, to 10.9%, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The order, which is expected to last for at least three weeks, has once again shut down all playgrounds, hair and nail salons, personal care services, as well as has reduced capacity at shopping centers. City Hall remains open, said the mayor.
All gatherings among those outside of one’s household are also banned. Smyth said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which would include the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, would focus on enforcing large gatherings only.
Amid a surge in cases and hospitalizations in and around the SCV, Smyth reiterated the city’s stance in supporting keeping certain sectors open with safety protocols in place wherever data is shared and proves that reopenings do not pose a significant risk for COVID-19 transmission.
For example, the city recently reached out in support of attorneys representing the California Restaurant Association who are legally challenging the county’s temporary ban on outdoor dining. Public Health officials cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study — which did not differentiate between indoor and outdoor dining — that found those who tested positive are two times more likely to have gone to eat at a restaurant than not. Another group is also urging the state to reconsider its order that has kept playgrounds closed, citing a lack of contact tracing data that could indicate whether play areas are the source of any outbreaks.
“I will certainly be lending my voice and support to that effort because, if you do not have the data to show that these play structures are causing a spread, then they should not be closed and they should still be allowable given the governor’s point that the need continues for outside recreation and outside fitness,” said Smyth.
The mayor also gave an update on conversations he’s had with the mayors of Palmdale and Lancaster about what a regional model for a North Los Angeles County health department might look like.
“So please know that that effort is ongoing as we look to find more ways to create autonomy and to have more autonomy,” Smyth said, “here in the city of Santa Clarita.”