The following update was received from the Mayor's office after his call with faith leaders today.
The email has been copy/pasted directly, there are some parts that we have highlighted that apply specifically to our church and Christianity, in general.
Thank you to all who were able to join today's call with Mayor Garcetti and Faith Leaders. For those who did not receive an invitation or were not able to listen-in, I have compiled notes with critical information for you to share broadly. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. As you know, our office has been inundated with emails and calls -- making it almost impossible to respond to every inquiry in a timely manner. So, please read through these notes and visit corona-virus.la for the most up-to-date information.
Safer at Home Directive: Guidance for Faith Organizations
- The Mayor issued a Safer at Home Executive Order calling on residents of the City of Los Angeles to stay in their residences and limit all activities outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary for essential tasks. Over the next few weeks, it is critical that Angelenos continue to abide by these orders in order to help us flatten the curve by preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- The Mayor is aware that tonight, Passover begins. On Sunday, many will mark Easter. In a few weeks, the holy month of Ramadan opens.
- We will celebrate these holy days; but, our holidays cannot be celebrated as usual. And, the vast majority of houses of worship are aware of that. Please plan to observe these days—and encourage your congregants to observe these days—in other creative ways.
- A few of our houses of worship have not been in compliance with this order. (I'm proud to say that Highland Park Christian Church is NOT one of these. We are trying to flatten the curve. I know it is hard to not meet in person, but we are available via the phone.) Please don’t put lives at risk or waste police resources responding to gatherings. We’ve heard about faith gatherings in other areas of the country that led to tragic consequences—including the loss of life for several congregants.
- Los Angeles County representatives issued worship service guidelines for Faith Based Organizations, that if followed, will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, there is guidance for conducting funeral services. Otherwise, all baptisms, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, confirmations, and other life cycle events other than funerals must be conducted virtually or postponed. Please find those resources below here: LA County DHS: Guidance for Faith Based Organizations and LA County DHS: Guidance for Funerals.
- In partnership with the platform “Inspiring Service,” we’re launching a new online Nonprofit Directory—where organizations in need of volunteers can connect with people who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. To get involved, visit volunteer.lamayor.org and click on the button that says “nonprofit directory.”
- One of the essential resources our faith organizations provide is food through your food pantries. Starting this Friday, April 10th, all employees of many non-medical essential businesses will be required to wear cloth face coverings over their noses and mouths while at work. We want you to continue to provide this critical service and be safe while doing this work. So if you are in need, please visit Coronavirus.LACity.org/LAProtects to secure your masks and other personal protective equipment.
- We're up to 13 testing sites across the county—including 7 within our city limits.
- This week the Mayor announced we are expanding our free COVID-19 testing program. Effective immediately, any L.A. County resident with symptoms can schedule a test.
Go to coronavirus.lacity.org/testing to sign up.
- This week alone we are on track to administer 36,000 tests.
Q: Is there any effort in getting services such as instacart or other delivery options to have specific windows of time to fulfill orders from our elderly, handicapped, etc so that those people who are most in need are receiving food in a timely manner?
A: The City of Los Angeles Department of Aging and the Mayor's office are engaging additional partners to mobilize an emergency food delivery program to assist more of L.A.’s most vulnerable seniors. The plan is to have 5 meals delivered twice each week. The meals can be frozen and heated up in their microwaveable containers. Seniors must sign up or have someone sign them up for this service. Additionally, there are many non-profit partners providing delivery services… including St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels and the Valley InterCommunity Council. Please see the attachments for details and contact information for these resources.
Q:How can churches use their empty facilities and parking lots as an asset in response to COVID-19?
A: The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is gathering and vetting all donations. You can send an email to the Emergency Operations Center at email@example.com and they will send you a survey. Complete the survey and a member of our team will follow up.
Q: How many were COVID19 positive, and how many sadly have died. Can you also post statistics about the number of people who have recovered from Coronavirus?
A: Yesterday, in L.A. County, there were 550 new cases, bringing the total to 6910—a 9 percent increase since Monday. Also, in the City of L.A. there were 279 new cases, bringing the total to 3130—a 9 percent increase since Monday. Sadly, we learned of 22 new deaths countywide, bringing the total to 169. Our numbers of deaths are doubling every 4 days—a rate that remains steady. The Mayor's office is working with our County partners to track how many people have recovered from the virus. We do not have those statistics but as soon as we get them, our office will begin informing the public.
Q: Is the National Guard being deployed? If so when?
A: The National Guard has not been mobilized to L.A.—though there are movements of troops around the State to support humanitarian efforts. At this point, the City has asked the National Guard to help support our testing sites and expects to ask the Military Reserve for medical units and supplies to deal with hospital overflow. If and when the National Guard or military units are deployed to the streets of L.A., our office will notify the City.
Q: In these two weeks where we expect to see a peak in positive COVID-19 cases, what is being done to assist the most vulnerable in our city?
A: We’ve been warned that this week will be our hardest yet. Nobody is immune. This disease—and especially the way it kills—is hitting folks with preexisting conditions like diabetes, obesity, and other conditions already disproportionately found in poorer communities, and communities of color, the hardest. Based on initial data, this virus is disproportionately killing African Americans. We need every community to know that you are Safer at Home. With this in mind we have done a few things to assist the most vulnerable:
- We opened 20 Recreations Centers for our homeless neighbors. Four new sites opened on Monday (4/6): Normandale, Green Meadows, Denker, and St. Andrews—adding 162 new beds to bring our total citywide bed count at our recreation centers to over 800.
- We’re also working with the county to lease more than 1000 hotel and motel rooms in the short-term––and thousands more over the next weeks––to be used as quarantine or isolation units for homeless Angelenos and low-income individuals who live in crowded environments. The program is being managed by LAHSA. For more information please see the Project Room Key FAQ Sheet.
- We launched the L.A. Jobs Portal to help unemployed or underemployed Angelenos search and apply for jobs, access emergency aid, and get other assistance and resources in the midst of this crisis. And you can find that at LAJobsPortal.org
- The City Council and the Mayor enacted several measures to protect residential and commercial tenants. The Mayor issued a moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants. Since then, the City Council has extended to 12 months the time residential tenants have to pay back their rent; commercial tenants have 3 months. The Mayor also signed an order prohibiting no-fault evictions and evictions under the Ellis Act. In addition, he ssued an order prohibiting rent
increases in apartments covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
- Lastly, through the Mayor's Fund we created a new fundraiser called the “Angeleno Campaign,” which seeks to raise 10 million dollars to provide cash assistance specifically for L.A. Families most in need of income during this pandemic. If any of your members are in desperate need of grocery cards or other cash assistance they can call 311 to get connected to a Family Source Center and make an appointment.