Letter to the Community from Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen
Letter to the Community from Laguna Beach Mayor Bob WhalenCity of Laguna Beach, March 30, 2020, Media Release
Dear Laguna Beach Residents,
I want to update you on several items regarding the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, my heartfelt thanks go out to our residents for the great job that you are doing in respecting the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order! As the Governor said again in his news conference today, the most potent step that each of us can take to overcome this pandemic is to be vigilant in practicing social distancing. Please keep up the great effort that you are making. It will save lives.
Second, I am most proud of the efforts that our first responders and City staff are making every day to enforce social distancing rules and respond to resident needs. One week ago, the City of Laguna Beach became the first City in Southern California to close beaches and our trailheads. Later last week the City of San Diego, the County of Los Angeles and others followed and closed their beaches. Our Marine Safety and Public Works personnel and our Police Department stepped up and did an outstanding job of closing our beaches and trailheads within 24 hours and in educating the public regarding the need for the closures. I extend my personal thanks to all of our employees who are working so hard to enforce these closures and to respond to other calls for service.
The City Council understands the sacrifice that the closures require of our residents but, again, we believe these actions will save lives. Right now we are in the early stages of this health crisis and need to maximize public safety. All of us on the City Council thank you for your patience and understanding.
For the past week, the City Manager and I have been working with the County of Orange to obtain information regarding the specific number of COVID-19 cases in our community. Today we received the first local figures and 22 positive cases have been reported in Laguna Beach.
What should we take away from these figures? First, I urge everyone not to overreact to the numbers. We knew we would have COVID-19 cases in our city and know that the number of reported cases will rise for some period of time. To me, these numbers reinforce that the aggressive actions that the City Council took a week ago to close the beaches, trailheads, pool, and sport courts were appropriate and necessary. Next, it further underscores the importance of social distancing and avoiding contact with others to the maximum extent possible. By practicing social distancing, avoiding contact with others as much as possible and washing hands frequently, the vast majority of us are going to be fine.
We have received input from you about social distancing concerns at grocery stores. The Business Liaison Unit of our Police Department has been in contact with each of our major grocery stores over the weekend to ensure that social distancing is enforced at those stores. The stores have been willing to comply and we appreciate their cooperation.
We have also received input from you about concerns that residential construction is continuing in the City. Under the Governor’s order, residential construction is an essential activity that may continue. Our Community Development Department is working hard to ensure that contractors respect neighbors and minimize impacts.
We appreciate the support, input and suggestions from everyone in the community regarding our COVID-19 efforts and will continue to respond to issues raised by our residents. I am confident that we as a City are taking the right steps to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach and we will continue to put the safety, health and well-being of our community first.
Finally, I encourage all of you to stay in touch with family and friends in this most difficult time and to please reach out if you need assistance. As we have shown in the past, we are a resilient community and we will come through this together.
City of Laguna Beach