LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Retail stores in Los Angeles County will be able to welcome back customers for in-person shopping beginning Wednesday, Los Angeles County supervisors said Tuesday following an announcement by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Stores will have to adopt the county's COVID-19 safety protocols and personal services locations like hair salons will not yet be permitted to reopen and dining in at restaurants will still not be allowed, though that could change soon.
Under intense pressure from business owners, the county Tuesday asked for state approval to open dining rooms and barber shops. The debate was heated and not all supervisors agreed, but an answer could come by the end of the week.
"Every county around us has reopened," Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. "If we do not begin to listen to our constituents and listen to what is going on in this county, we are going to have more jobs lost, because many businesses are not going to be able to reopen."
On Monday, the California Department of Public Health announced the state-wide reopening of in-store retail shopping, but it must be approved by county public health departments.
On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors discussed the plan and a motion to allow individual cities to move forward with easing safer-at-home restrictions if they have a lower number of cases.
After two months of being shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, Kathleen Teague, owner of Maison on Main Boutique in Newhall, and other small business owners in L.A. County anxiously waited to hear when they would be able to welcome back customers for in-store shopping.
"We're ready to open our doors, we're ready to have everybody just come in and get Main Street alive and rocking again," Teague said.
Teague said Santa Clarita has shown that they do in fact have a lower number of cases so she's been preparing to reopen by staffing, stocking, and sanitizing.
"Keeping my store cleaned, keeping my products coming in, keeping my plants watered, keeping it ready," she said.
In L.A. County, small retailers and stores inside shopping malls were allowed to reopen this weekend but only for curbside pick-up services.
"As long as it's safe for everyone. If it needs to be extended, I'm ok with that too...but by the same token, I understand the dire need of people going back to work," said Santa Clarita resident Rosalia Schmidt when asked what she thought about going back to in-store shopping.
Over in Orange County, the Brea Mall has opened for in-store shopping and there was a steady stream of people going in there Tuesday, but a number of stores are still closed.
In the Inland Empire, a similar story at the Tyler Galleria in Riverside but shoppers said they're happy to be back in the mall.
Back in L.A. County, many shoppers and business owners are hoping to do the same thing soon.
Once approved, stores will have to follow several health precautions including social distancing requirements. L.A. County's Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer must sign off on the action.
"I'm confident, I'm optimistic," said Teague. "I think there has to be some point to whereas small businesses and small retail, we just have to reopen."
Meanwhile, counties across California including Ventura, Orange, and San Bernardino counties received state approval Tuesday to allow hair salons, barbershops, and other grooming stores to reopen, albeit under "serious modifications."
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