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South Bay Cities Ask Governor for COVID-19 Variance

Sep 16, 2020 03:19PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The mayors of the South Bay cities have come together to ask California Governor Gavin Newsom for a variance from the COVID-19 rules that apply to Los Angeles County.

The cities of Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Rancho Palos Verdes Estates wrote a joint request for the governor to allow South Bay cities to move from the more restrictive Purple Tier to the less restrictive Red Tier. 

The Purple Tier is for counties with seven or more new daily cases per 100,000 residents; the Red Tier is for counties with four and seven new daily cases. Los Angeles County is currently in the Purple Tier; however, the South Bay taken separately would qualify for the Red Tier.

The Red Tier would allow more businesses to open at greater capacity. Movie theaters, museums, and places of worship would be allowed to operate indoors at 25% capacity; gyms and yoga studios could operate indoors at 10% capacity; piercing and tattoo parlors could re-open with modifications; and grocery stores and retailers could move indoor operations up from 25% to 50%.

Letter from the Mayors

The text of letter to the governor (with Torrance Mayor Patrick J. Furey as the lead author) is as follows:

September 16, 2020 

Honorable Governor Gavin Newsom

State of California

State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814 

Dear Governor Newsom, 

RE: Request Consideration of the State of California to permit the cities in the South Bay Region of Los Angeles County to open businesses consistent with the Red Tier for COVID-19 

For the past six months the City of Torrance and the other cities of the South Bay Region of Los Angeles County (South Bay) have complied with COVID-19 protocols and mandates of the State of California and the Los Angeles County. As you are aware, Los Angeles County is unique in that it is comprised of 88 cities with unique characteristics, demographics, and businesses and a population of more than 10 million people. 

The State and the County have made great strides in opening and reopening businesses. It is imperative that the State take a regional approach to Los Angeles County because of the number of jurisdictions and population which is more than three times that of San Diego and Orange Counties. 

For example, the City of Torrance with a population of nearly 150,000 residents has a total of 1,340 COVID-19 cases with a death total of 67 with most of the deaths occurring at senior care facilities. Other South Bay cities have similar numbers. Given the relatively low infection and deaths rates in the South Bay, we request that you consider granting a variance for our region for possible reopening of business sectors in the South Bay. Based on the state's new tier system, if the South Bay is considered a region, we are certain that we could move into a less restrictive tier much sooner than LA County as a whole. 

Our small businesses are hurting financially and are at the crossroads of making tough decisions to close their doors for good. As we know small businesses are crucial for our economic growth. In the South Bay we are home to major shopping centers that are ready to open their doors to the community. It is not equitable that large box stores are open but malls, movie theaters, and other businesses remain closed.

As we continue the reopening phase we need to move quickly, deliberately and cautiously to get our businesses open and thriving once again. It is important that we continue to be driven by the scientific data and the unique needs of each community. The City of Torrance and all South Bay cities will continue to monitor community transmission rates, continue public education on safety protocols, and make adjustments by business sector. The safety and health of our residents, employees, businesses and visitors continues to be our primary objective. And, we firmly believe that our business community can reopen and we can maintain the public health in doing so.

Your consideration of this request is very much appreciated.

Drew Boyles, Mayor, City of El Segundo 

Mary Campbell, Mayor, City of Hermosa Beach 

Richard Montgomery, Mayor, City of Manhattan Beach 

Patrick J. Furey, Mayor, City of Torrance

John Cruikshank,, Mayor City of Rancho Palos Verdes 

Dave McGowan, Mayor Rancho Palos Verdes Estates 

Bill Brand, Mayor City of Redondo Beach 


Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D, M.P.H., MEd, Director of County of Los Angeles Public Health Department

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