Although Santa Clarita Valley businesses have averaged 4.3 citations a month related to COVID-19, the local community appears to have not received a violation since May of this year and public health officials are saying this is due to a change in enforcement.
According to the data made available at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health website, the Santa Clarita Valley from June 29, 2020, to date has received 74 violations of public health orders related to COVID-19.
The violations vary, but include private schools, gyms, restaurants, salons and places of worship and more, according to the data. However, the last violation on record occurred on May 20, 2021, on the 31000 block of Castaic Road.
In total, since May of last year, the Santa Clarita Valley accounts for 4.97% of the county’s 1,488 citations due to lack of compliance with the health officer orders, and Public Health Department officials have said they have only issued 12 citations since Aug. 1 throughout the whole county.
The data provided by the county had been last updated on Aug. 22.
“The Department of Public Health works with businesses to educate them on the COVID-19 Health Officer Orders. We utilize education as the primary step in gaining compliance,” said Public Health Department officials in a statement emailed to The Signal on Friday. “Due to the retirement of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, most reasons for citations were eliminated, with the exception of masking requirements for unvaccinated customers and employees and signs to inform customers of mask requirements.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 15 terminated the executive orders that put into place the Stay Home Order and the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, according to the state’s website. The Blueprint for a Safety Economy was largely responsible for a number of the orders that would have resulted in citations, including restaurants having capacity limits, social distancing requirements, etc.
Newsom also phased out the vast majority of executive actions put in place since March 2020 as part of the pandemic response, leaving a subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery.
However, the masking mandates indoors still remain in place, according to officials.
“Public Health continues to issue citations on re-inspections to businesses that are not in compliance with masking requirements,” officials said in the statement. “We have found that most businesses comply once educated on the requirements. As such, Public Health has only issued 12 citations since Aug. 1, 2021. Public Health does not analyze comparative citation data by city.”