Message from Mayor Alejandra Cortez Regarding COVID-19
For immediate release
March 16, 2020
Message from Mayor Alejandra Cortez Regarding COVID-19
Dear Bell Gardens,
I know these are uncertain times for our nation, but I want to reassure you that in Bell Gardens the Council and staff are working very hard to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone. This letter addresses the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the fears, actions and attitudes that we need to employ for the well-being of ourselves, our family and friends and our community under these rapidly changing times of world health crisis and chaos. Containment is our near-term answer to this public health emergency. As the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves, our City is making modifications to continue to serve our residents, consumers and businesses.
We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our residents, clients, team members, and community. We have been working closely with county and state departments including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) to ensure that our community is still receiving credible and relevant information during this challenging time.
Due to the federally declared State of Emergency surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and following announcements by California Governor Gavin Newsom and Public Health, the City announced that all Bell Gardens facilities will be closed to members of the public until further notice beginning Monday, March 16. These measures are taken to protect both the public and employees. A Special Meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 to adopt a resolution proclaiming a local emergency due to the epidemic created by the coronavirus COVID-19 virus.
We ask residents to please access our self-service options at www.bellgardens.org or by telephone at (562) 806-7700. Our lobbies will be closed, but staff will be answering calls and emails. Physical appointments for service will be considered on a case by case basis and in a way that maintains social distancing standards.
Please see the following updates in response to the evolving COVID-19 emergency as it pertains to Bell Gardens.
City Activities and Events
Effective March 12th, all non-essential public community events and group activities through March 31st were postponed or canceled in order to limit the risk of exposing staff and the public to COVID-19.
The Police Department began implementing several proactive practices and procedures. To protect and prepare our responding personnel, Dispatchers will temporarily ask each caller requesting police assistance with a series of COVID-19 questions. Starting Monday, March 16 all public access to the Police Department lobby and records department will be closed. All business will be done via appointment and only after proper screening questions have been answered.
- Website: https://www.bellgardens.org/government/public-safety/police-department
- Telephone:(562) 806-7600
The City is proud to partner with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services Department to provide much needed resources to our most vulnerable. If you or someone you know needs emergency food assistance, please call the San Gabriel Valley Service Center, the East Los Angeles Service Center or the Centro Maravilla Service Center to make an appointment. Also, to ensure older adults continue to get meals in a manner that reduces exposure/risk to COVID-19, all sites that serve congregate meals will transition to home-delivered or packaged/frozen meals. See interactive map for detailed plans for each site and to locate one near you: bit.ly/mealsites. For additional information visit https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/.
- Website: https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/
- Telephone: (800) 510-2020
Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Theaters, Entertainment Centers & Fitness Centers
All bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment centers & fitness centers are ordered to be closed by LA County Department of Public Health until further notice. Restaurants will be permitted to serve take out or delivery food only. Grocery stores will remain open. If you’re able to, please continue supporting your small business in our community during this difficult time. Here are some ways you can help local business survive this crisis including buying gift cards, shopping local, taking advantage of discounts, ordering in, and tipping a little more than usual.
Montebello Unified School District schools will be closed for students beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020. Students are encouraged to stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible. Students and parents can begin to pick up instructional packets starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Please await further instructions from your principal with specific dates and times. For more information, please visit the MUSD website: https://www.montebello.k12.ca.us/
- Website: https://www.montebello.k12.ca.us/
MUSD Free Meals
MUSD is offering free breakfast and lunch. This is open to all students and children 1-18 years of age. No registration or identification is required. Students can pick up from any school. It doesn't have to be the one they are enrolled in but students must be present to take meals. So if one parent has multiple children, all children must be present.
- Website: www.montebello.k12.ca.us/nutrition
- Telephone: (323) 887-7978
Golf Course will remain open, weather permitting. No change to operations. The Youth Basketball Awards ceremony has been cancelled and awards will be distributed by each team. The Senior Soccer Program will postpone games until further notice. Youth Soccer games schedule will be adjusted to allow for a minimum number of teams on the fields at one time. This will decrease attendance during game periods.
- Website: https://www.bellgardens.org/government/city-departments/recreation-community-services
- Telephone: (562) 806-7650
Recreational Classes and programs such as the STAR program were postponed until such time we are authorized to return to programming. Participants were notified of the cancellations. This included individual facility reservations at facilities where large groups may gather.
PCA, the City’s transit contractor, supplies the drivers with sanitizer wipes, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. The trolley will continue normal business operations.
Street Sweeping and Trash Collection
Street sweeping and trash collection will continue normal operations. Please ensure to continue adhering to the posted signs.
Street and Pothole Repairs
Please contact the Public Works Department at (562) 806-7770 for requests for Street/Sidewalk Repairs, Pothole Repairs and Traffic Sign Repairs.
- Telephone:(562) 806-7770
Passport services have been cancelled through March 31st out of an abundance of caution. If you have any questions, please call (562) 806-7700.
- Website: https://www.bellgardens.org/government/city-departments/city-clerk/passport-services
- Telephone:(562) 806-7700
Physical appointments for service will be considered on a case by case basis and in a way that maintains social distancing standards.
Physical appointments for service will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in a way that maintains social distancing standards.
Bell Gardens County Library
Out of an abundance of caution and based on recommendations from Public Health to practice social distancing, all LA County Library locations will be closed to the public beginning Saturday, March 14 at 5 pm through March 31. Due dates for borrowed materials will automatically be extended, no late fines will be assessed, and customers can return materials when the Library reopens. Customers can also access information about the coronavirus on their website at https://lacountylibrary.org/coronavirus/.
Visit them online at https://t.co/t8ldFR7yMx to access their digital resources 24/7.
- Website: https://lacountylibrary.org/coronavirus/.
Are COVID-19 fears costing you money? Protect yourself from price gouging during the COVID-19 emergency and report it to L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 for investigation. They can help you avoid scams and understand your consumer rights. Learn more: https://dcba.lacounty.gov/coronavirus/.
- Website: https://dcba.lacounty.gov/coronavirus/
- Telephone: (800) 593-8222
Californians are protected from illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food, and other essentials. If you experience price gouging, submit a complaint to the Office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra at http://oag.ca.gov/report or by calling 800-952-5225.
- Website: http://oag.ca.gov/report
- Telephone: 800-952-5225
Unemployment Insurance, Disability and Paid Family Leave Benefits
The California Employment Development Department provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by coronavirus in California. If you can't work, are being required to work less, or your child's school shuts down due to COVID-19, visit https://t.co/VvrBqUM9lT for more information.
You don’t have to be diagnosed with COVID-19 to take a paid sick day. You may be able to use Paid Sick Leave (PSL) for prevention if you or a family member have been exposed to COVID-19. Retaliation for lawful use of PSL is prohibited.
- Website: https://t.co/VvrBqUM9lT
Disaster Distress Helpline
The National Disaster Distress Helpline offers 24/7 confidential emotional support for those who have experienced #disaster and may be experiencing distress, including responders, rescue & relief workers. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- Website: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
- Telephone: 1-800-985-5990
- Text: text TalkWithUs to 66746
Various Utilities Offer Assistance Due to COVID-19
- SoCalGas Announces Suspension of Service Disconnections as Part of Company’s COVID-19 Response.Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced a suspension of service disconnections to any customers who are having a hard time paying their bill. This policy will remain in effect until further notice. Customers are encouraged to call 1-877-238-0092 to speak with a representative about their bill. SoCalGas customer service is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
- SCE Responds to COVID-19 Emergency, Suspends Service Disconnections - Southern California Edison (SCE) announced that it is suspending service disconnections for nonpayment and waiving late fees, effective immediately, for residential and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. Details on these programs are available at sce.com/billhelp or by calling 1-800-950-2356.
- Verizon Will Help Residents and Small Businesses Disrupted by Impact of Coronavirus by Waiving Late Fees and Keeping Customers Connected - Verizon announced for the next 60 days it will waive late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. In addition, the company will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
- Starting Monday, March 16, the Charter Communications-owned company will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with children in grades K-12 or in college who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps.Families can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees will be waived for new student households,
Immigration Resources *Added 03/17/2020
We know there is fear and uncertainty not only with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but with some recent ICE presence in our community and surrounding communities. The City Council and staff are here to protect and serve all of the people of Bell Gardens, regardless of their immigration status. If you have any immigration questions, please contact our trusted sources: CHIRLA at 1-888-6CHIRLA (1-888-624-4752). The hotline is available 24/7 and is staffed by knowledgeable, bilingual (Spanish/English) referral specialists. Due to social distancing requirements, be on a lookout for a virtual know your rights workshop.
Emergency Order for Temporary Business Closures *Added 03/17/2020
Effective March 16, 2020, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Issued an Emergency Order for Temporary Business Closures. Specifically, the Health Officer orders the immediate closure of the following types of businesses:
- All bars and nightclub that do not serve food will be closed to the public. Bars that sell food can continue to do so for delivery and pickup only.
- All restaurants, retail food facilities and snack shops are prohibited from serving food for consumption on premises.Drive-thru and food for delivery and pick up only.
- All movie theaters, live performance venues, entertainment venues, and arcades will be closed to the public.
- All gyms and fitness centers will be closed to the public.
These emergency steps help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect people across LA County. If you’re able to, please continue supporting these small business in our community during this difficult time. Here are some ways you can help local business survive this crisis including buying gift cards, shopping local, taking advantage of discounts, ordering in, and tipping a little more than usual. Anyone from the public may file a complaint with LA County Public Health for businesses not in compliance at 1-888-700-9995.
For the best and latest information on COVID-19, always check with trusted sources:
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization
- L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
- L.A. County residents can also call 2-1-1
The City has been circulating alerts and messages through our social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure to follow us:
- @City of Bell Gardens - local government
In closing, this is a friendly reminder to take a deep breath, be kind to one another, wash your hands and stay home whenever possible. There is no reason to panic-buy excess supplies. Please purchase what you need and wait for stores to restock. Don’t stand in long lines or go into crowded stores. Remember to practice social distancing at every opportunity, assuming that many people can be infected. Lets protect our most vulnerable and encourage 65+ and those with chronic illnesses to stay home. We are all in this together.
All the best,
CITY OF BELL GARDENS
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