The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to end the county’s COVID-19 emergency declarations on March 31.
“These past few years were some of the darkest years many of us have lived through,” board Chair Janice Hahn said in a prepared statement. “We were trying to walk a thin line, balancing protecting people’s lives and protecting their livelihoods, and we didn’t do it perfectly. Thankfully, because of the sacrifices of essential workers, the dedication of the medical community, and the hard work of public health professionals, we are in very different place today. COVID is still with us, but it is no longer an emergency, and it is time to end our emergency orders.”
The proposal, authored by Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, ends both the county’s Proclamation of Local Emergency and Declaration of Local Health Emergency for COVID-19, which have been in place since March 2020. They gave the county broad powers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including the authority to implement masking rules, deploy county employees as disaster service workers, temporarily enact countywide tenant protections, stand up Project Roomkey sites in empty motels, and fast-track outdoor dining policies.
“I was serving as chair of our Board of Supervisors when COVID-19 first surfaced in our lives three years ago and initiated the emergency proclamation, so it’s fulfilling to co-author ending it,” Barger said in the prepared statement. “Our emergency proclamation has served its purpose – it was necessary to ensure our health care institutions and workforce had the life-saving resources and flexibility needed to deter an unknown virus. We’re well past that point, and I’ve consistently advocated for our county to align its emergency pandemic policies with the state’s. Better late than never.”
Even after the emergency proclamations are terminated, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will continue to monitor COVID-19, inform the board and the public about COVID-19 in the county, and use its existing non-emergency authority to manage the virus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the statewide COVID-19 emergency declaration would end on Tuesday, while President Joe Biden announced he intends to end the nation’s public health emergency in May.