Staying At Home In The Valley

December 3, 2020

 

 

As we find ourselves closer to the end of 2020, I know it’s been a challenge to keep up the good fight. A recent story from the LA Times reports that our Valley neighborhoods are being hit hard by the coronavirus. Even with updated guidelines, we must be especially diligent to help get these numbers down, and keep our friends and family safe and healthy. Our latest Stay-At-Home order is here, and helps frame how we approach the coming winter months. Please be sure to review the information available in this newsletter, along with other opportunities to apply for grants, take an online meeting to learn more about tax updates, and to keep your loved ones who may be at risk of COVID-19 fed, and connected to our community.

Of course, giving back in preparation for the holidays is important too. But I also want to remind you to stay alert when being solicited for money and other donations. Even I have recently had my personal social media accounts hacked by fraudsters pretending to be me in an attempt to scam people. Please know that anytime #TeamHertzberg shares information or details regarding organizations in-need, these outlets are properly vetted, and we would never ask you to give your hard-earned money to illegitimate entities. If you have been solicited, or need more details to know where your time and contributions are going, contact my office today. It’s important that we work together during these trying times to keep our Valley strong. We need your help more than ever, so please reach out to me on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an email, and let me know what you need.

Stay safe and be well,


Bob Hertzberg

HEALTH AND SAFETY

COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS REMAIN HIGH

The LA County Dept. of Public Health shows 8,507 additional cases of coronavirus since we last reported before the Thanksgiving holiday. That makes for a total of 71,207 cases of COVID-19 in the San Fernando Valley. The communities of North Hollywood, Pacoima and Sylmar continue to have the highest local case numbers. Remember, following the new Stay-At-Home orders can help minimize the spread of the Novel Coronavirus during this holiday season. To learn more, visit the Public Health website.

LA’S NEW STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

Increasing rates of COVID-19 infections and rising hospitalization rates have called for a new Stay-At-Home Order that will remain in place now through Dec. 20. Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible. Additional safety modifications include:

  • Gatherings: 
    • All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:
    • Essential retail - 35% maximum occupancy
    • Non-essential retail (includes indoor malls) - 20% maximum occupancy
    • Personal care services - 20% maximum occupancy
    • Libraries - 20% maximum occupancy
    • Fitness centers operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
    • Museums galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
    • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors - 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities all of which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:
    • Beaches, trails, and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
    • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
    • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools:  
    • All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 schools and day camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed non-essential businesses/activities: 
    • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools) Cardrooms

Governor Gavin Newsom has recently said that 51 of California’s 58 counties that are currently in the most-restricted purple tier of California’s COVID-19 risk assessment system may soon see additional restrictions.

GREAT PLATES PROGRAM EXTENDED

An incredibly helpful program has extended its deadline to Dec. 8th in order to continue to help some of our most vulnerable communities. Great Plates partners with local restaurants, hospitality and transportation industries to provide meals to qualified seniors who have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19. Participants can receive up to three home-delivered meals a day. For more information or to apply before the Dec. 8th deadline, visit the L.A. County Great Plates Program website.

JOBS AND ECONOMY

LOCAL RESTAURANT OWNERS: APPLY FOR “KEEP LA COUNTY DINING” ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Starting Dec. 3rd at midnight, eligible businesses can apply for the Keep LA County Dining Assistance Program for up to $30,000 in working capital assistance. Applications are open until Dec. 6th at 11:59 p.m., or until 2,500 applications are received, whichever comes first. The funding can go towards employee payroll expenses, capital to continue operations, payment of outstanding business expenses, and adaptive business practices needed to remain open. Preference will be given to businesses that converted to outdoor dining operations as of Nov. 4th as a way to provide assistance for COVID-19 restrictions. For questions or more information about this grant, please reach out to (626) 943-3833 or keeplacountydining@lacda.org.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER TO HOLD VIRTUAL TOWN HALL FOR WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS

On Dec. 9th, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the National Association of Women Business Owners California will host a virtual town hall on insurance issues for women business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many businesses experiencing tremendous economic loss, it is critical for you to have up-to-date information on services and resources. If interested, you can register for the free virtual event here.

TAX PENALTY AMNESTY PROGRAM FOR BUSINESSES 

To support businesses negatively impacted by the current economic climate, the City of Los Angeles Office of Finance is administering a Tax Penalty Amnesty Program from now until Dec. 17th. During this time, both registered and unregistered businesses can pay any outstanding principal, interest, and fees owed to the City and avoid penalties for up to 40% of taxes due, with no questions asked. Click here to learn more about what taxes qualify for the program and how to participate.

FREE ONLINE COVID-19 SAFETY COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM OFFERED FOR LA COUNTY BUSINESSES

Businesses operating in LA County can access a free online course for COVID-19 Safety Compliance. The course provides information on workplace safety practices to protect employee health, physical distancing measures, infection control measures, public communication tools, and more. Once completed, you will receive a certificate and window seal for your storefront. For more information, please visit this website.

STATE CONTROLLER’S PROPERTY TAX POSTPONEMENT (PTP) PROGRAM

The PTP program allows eligible homeowners who are seniors, are blind, or have a disability to apply to defer current-year property taxes on their principal residence. Homeowners must meet certain requirements, including but not limited to, having 40% equity in their home, and an annual household income of $45,000 or less to qualify for the program. For a full description of the PTP program, please visit the fact sheet on the State Controller’s website.

Applications for the 2020-21 tax year are now available, and will be accepted through Feb. 10, 2021. The deadline has been extended to June 1, 2021, for counties that have had a declared wildfire disaster. For additional information, visit the Controller’s website, email postponement@sco.ca.gov or call (800) 952-5661.

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY PROGRAM

The State Controller’s Office safeguards lost or forgotten property, known as unclaimed property, until it is reunited with the rightful owners. Common types of unclaimed property are bank accounts, stocks, bonds, uncashed checks, insurance benefits, wages, and safe deposit box contents. You may search for unclaimed funds here.

VALLEY LIFE

TOURNAMENT OF ROSES TAKING VIDEO SUBMISSIONS FOR VIRTUAL NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION    

The Rose Parade has been a historic event and an integral part of L.A. history, and organizers need your help! Although the in-person Rose Parade has been cancelled due to the global pandemic, the Tournament of Roses is taking video submissions that will air on national television starting at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The two-hour Tournament of Roses New Year’s Celebration event will air on ABC, KTLA, NBC, Univision, as well as other channels. 

What kind of videos can you submit? The Tournament of Roses asks for 15-30 second high-quality horizontal videos, with yourself or your family holding up a sign with messages and hopes for the New Year of 2021. You can submit your videos here by today, Dec. 3. 

CSUN AWARDS $500,000 TO CAMPUS PROJECTS THAT SUPPORT DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to 14 campus projects that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Projects that received funding cover all aspects of campus life- from supporting students of color, to applying or transferring to CSUN and peer mentorship programs, the development of live performances, and even the collection of oral histories. To find out more about projects that were funded, click here.

L.A. SANITATION & ENVIRONMENT WEBINAR ON INSTALLING RAIN BARRELS

As weather forecasters predict an extended dry season, rainwater harvesting on rare rainy days becomes a sustainable means of both saving on your water bill and improving the environment. To promote use of rain barrels for rainwater collection, the L.A. Sanitation and Environment Watershed Protection Program is holding a free webinar on Dec. 5 on the green benefits of installing a rain barrel. Click here to register. For more on how you can start harvesting rain, click here.

MISSION HILLS TOY GIVEAWAY

The Mission Area Community Police Station is hosting a drive-thru toy giveaway for anyone in need of free toys this holiday season. It is taking place on Sunday, Dec. 13th, from 9 a.m. - noon, or until supplies last. To pick up toys, wear your mask, and stop by the Mission Community Police Station

REMEMBER, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

I always appreciate hearing from you and any feedback you might wish to share. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send me an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You’re also invited to share your own stories and experiences, so please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.