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Councilmember Haidar Awad and the Hawthorne city council held a special meeting on Sunday, March 15, 2020, to declare a local emergency. This proactive declaration under California Law allows the city to take necessary actions, if needed, to keep our residents safe from “epidemic … or disease” if such conditions arise. It will give the city authority to act quickly in an emergency, coordinate with state and federal authorities, and access resources.

“First, let me say there is no need to panic. While it is normal to have a sense of anxiousness and uncertainty, let us never forget that we are the ‘City of Good Neighbors.’ Now more than ever, we need to help and protect each other-not abandon our values, said Councilmember Haidar Awad. “Hoarding is not the answer-it’s not neighborly-please take and use only what you need so your neighbors can also be safe and comfortable.”

As a precaution, the city will suspend meetings and events and will continue to re-evaluate this and other actions based on the latest information from state and federal authorities.

“Our primary concern is the safety of our residents and employees,” said Councilmember Awad. While there is some information on Coronavirus on the city’s website, Councilmember Awad has set up quick access to resources and information at COVID19.haidarhawthorne.com. “We will rise to meet this challenge and will be stronger for it. This condition won’t last forever and eventually, our situation will return to normal. Let us pray that normal comes sooner rather than later,” said Councilmember Awad.

Councilmember Awad is also encouraging Hawthorne residents to sign up for the South Bay Regional Alert and Warning Notification system at AlertSouthBay.haidarhawthorne.com or go to AlertSouthBay.com. The system will provide alerts with the city’s response to coronavirus but also deliver other critical notifications. The Los Angeles County’s Public Health Department has recommended that public organizations, including the City of Hawthorne, do the following to protect themselves and others from the illness: Educate and emphasize the importance of everyday personal prevention actions such as regular handwashing and posting of “steps for handwashing” in all city restrooms. Minimize, where possible, close contact and the sharing of objects such as cups, food and drink. Modify, postpone, or cancel large conferences or events. Follow all social distancing recommendations issued by the Public Health Department. Cancel all Recreation and Community Center programs, training classes, special events, and sports activities until further notice.

Provide adequate supplies for good hygiene, including easy access to clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, banisters, countertops, faucet handles, and phones. Use the usual cleaning agents and follow the label directions.

Encourage and support staff, and volunteers, to stay home when they feel sick. Remind them to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication. Provide employees with accurate information about novel coronavirus and steps they can take to protect themselves, their families and members of the public, including disinfecting public counters, desks, common areas, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, and other high-touch surfaces.

Avoid non-essential travel, public gatherings, or places where large groups of people congregate, such as ticketed events (such as theaters, concert halls, and sporting events) especially if you are at a higher risk of getting sick from infection, such as the elderly (65 or older), people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women. Implement ways to ensure continuity of services, if on-site operations are reduced temporarily, such as through teleworking, and flexible schedules with cross-training or staff.

Consider how to protect employees who are at higher risk for adverse health complications. This may include strategies such as telecommuting and staggered shifts to increase physical distance among employees. For updates and information about the coronavirus situation in the United States and in Los Angeles County, severity, treatments, precautions, and other important public health information in multiple languages, please visit LADPH at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus and the CVDC at http://www/cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmI.

Order: Stay Home Except for Essential Needs

The following information is taken from the California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website at covid19.ca.gov and was current at time of this paper’s publication. You can get more detailed information at that site and additional information at COVID19.haidarhawthorne.com.

The Governor of California, the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health are ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.

How long will we stay home?

This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice.

What can I do? What’s open?

Essential services will remain open such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/Laundry Services
  • Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

What’s Closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers

Where does this apply?

This is in effect throughout the State of California.

Employment and Taxes

The state has removed waiting periods for unemployment and disability insurance for Californians who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The state has also extended the state tax filing deadline to June 15, 2020 for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. The state has removed waiting periods for unemployment and disability insurance for Californians who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The state has also extended the state tax filing deadline to June 15, 2020 for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.

What if I can’t work because I’m taking care of someone who’s sick or quarantined?

  • You can use paid sick leave if your job has it.
  • You can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.

What can I do if my work hours are reduced because of COVID-19?

You can file and Unemployment Insurance claim.

What can I do if I miss work because of school closures?

You can file an Unemployment Insurance claim.

Are there health risks to shopping at grocery stores?

Crowded settings may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. When you need to go to the grocery store:

  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (such as shopping carts)
  • stay six feet (three paces) away from other people
  • avoid touching your face
  • when you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • if soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • If you are at higher risk of getting very sick (over 65 or with serious medical conditions), try to minimize errands by getting groceries delivered or asking for help from friends or family.