Breaking News —
Los Angeles, May 23 . .- Los Angeles neighborhoods will limit vehicle traffic on several sections of its streets this Saturday, giving more space to residents to exercise as part of a measure that aims to encourage residents to stay in their neighborhoods, while the government of President Donald Trump pressures the area to relax its restrictions by COVID-19.
With 43,052 positive cases and 2,049 deaths from coronavirus as of this Friday, Los Angeles County is the most affected area in California by the outbreak.
Deaths represent 56% of all deaths in the state, and local authorities are working to delay opening the area, and contain a possible increase in infections.
This reluctance encouraged the Justice Department to send a warning letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, saying that federal authorities were concerned that the city was applying “an arbitrary and harsh approach” to orders to stay home, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In a press conference this Friday, the head of the City Council responded saying that the measures are not guided by politics but by science, and collaboration with residents.
“So, we will talk to the industry and business owners and we will talk to employees and work groups supported by science, the numbers (contagion) will always guide us forward, there is nothing else,” said Garcetti.
On this long weekend in which Memorial Day is celebrated, and which marks the beginning of the summer holidays, the city of Los Angeles has seen almost its four million inhabitants stay at home, which represents a challenge for the authorities.
Los Angeles’ beaches and parks were opened with restrictions for the public to maintain social distancing.
The recommendations focused on encouraging Angelenos to avoid crowds, so the “Slow Streets” program is presented as an option to stay home on this long weekend.
“This is an exciting time for us to have a little more space in our neighborhoods to do what we are already doing, walking, taking a baby in a stroller, skating, riding a bike,” said the mayor.
The head of the City Council warned that no streets are being completely closed and that emergency access will be allowed.
The first phase of “Slow Streets” covers approximately seven miles of the streets of west Los Angeles, the mayor reported.
The program allows neighborhood community boards to bond. More than a dozen neighborhoods have already joined the program.
Authorities have declined to publish all areas where the initiative is currently in effect because it could get more people to show up, but neighborhood councils could announce them individually, said Colin Sweeney, spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT ).
The city still prohibits group meetings, and the holding of typical barbecues with neighbors, as well as games involving physical contact and other meetings.