Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth formally opposed the extension of state and Los Angeles County’s Safer at Home Order, citing economic reasons in a letter dated Thursday.
Smyth addressed Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger in the letter, noting that the city relies heavily on sectors that have completely shut down operations, including entertainment and aerospace production as well as the obvious retail and food service industries.
The letter stated that Santa Clarita has joined Palmdale and Lancaster in proposing a flexible reopening plan, rather than one order for the entire county.
“The (Santa Clarita) City Council is requesting a more fragmented, regional reopening plan for the North County region – all cities within which have very low rates of infection,” Smyth said in the letter. “After two months of adhering to the guidelines and directives issued by both state and county public health officials, the City of Santa Clarita can continue the progress against the virus while allowing our local economy to slowly and responsibly initiate the recovery process.”
Santa Clarita was named the 17th hardest hit U.S. city by the virus in terms of unemployment, according to WalletHub. At the same time, the city has maintained a low infection rate, Smyth said in the letter.
Local hospital Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial, Smyth said, has accounted for only 529 COVID-19 cases of the county’s 34,428, or just 1.5 percent; the standalone hospital began staff reductions last week.
Drastic rate differences between regions should correlate with how parts of the county reopen, Smyth argued, adding that he hopes to meet with Barger to discuss the matter further.
After L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a meeting Tuesday that restrictions would remain in place for several months, Barger issued a statement that said in part: “I am eager to reopen more of L.A. County as soon as it’s safe to do so. … These decisions will be guided by the latest science and data collected. I’m confident that as more of our communities continue to comply, the sooner we can resume normalcy.”