On Tuesday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger chaired the second convening of the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force, collaborating with key leaders to discuss the business and cultural interests of the County, and expressed a goal for the safe reopening of Los Angeles County as early as July 4.
The meeting provided each sector leader with the opportunity to identify and discuss how the current crisis is affecting their industry. In addition, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) presented its research findings on the highest risk sectors and jobs.
“The economic and sociological impacts created by the COVID-19 shutdown have hurt our vulnerable populations the most,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “The County, in partnership with our Task Force members and key stakeholders, is prepared to move forward with recommendations that ensure the safety and well-being of employees and customers while safeguarding public health.”
In his presentation, Bill Allen, president of LAEDC, confirmed there have been more than 1 million unemployment claims filed in L.A. County to date. More than 75% of the projected job losses have an average annual earning of less than $50,000, with restaurants and retail industries hit the hardest.
The Task Force sector leaders echoed the significant financial crisis each industry is facing, emphasizing that prolonged closures will continue to deteriorate the ability of most small businesses to reopen and will cause permanent loss of jobs and wages for millions throughout the County. The members expressed a commitment to develop plans to restart their industry and organizations, committing to protect the public health while minimizing ongoing sociological and economic impacts caused by existing restrictions.
“I understand the urgency to reopen and know many of the experts the County has assembled for this Task Force have been working hard to develop safe and efficient plans to revitalize their sectors as early as next month,” Supervisor Barger said. “I remain focused on working with industry leaders and health officials to safely make way for Los Angeles County to reopen by the Fourth of July.”
The July 4 date indicates a goal of the full or staged reopening of retail, restaurants, and malls. Sector leaders said many businesses and employees will be impacted over the next few weeks.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, cautioned that the July 4 target date is dependent on data. “We have to do a lot of things right so that we can actually get to that date of July 4th. And I think that’s certainly a goal we can reach, but we all are going to need to do our part, and we’re still going to need to pay a lot of attention to what the data’s telling us.”
As of Wednesday, the County has not met benchmarks set by Governor Newsom to move faster into Stage 2 of reopening.