Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced during his daily remote briefing Tuesday that the city is working to guarantee workers in certain sectors can get their jobs back after COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted, adding that L.A. won’t be pressured into reopening early.
The city has to start preparing for people who work in hotel, food, airport service and janitorial services to be among the first to be rehired, the mayor said.
The Los Angeles City Council is working on legislation — which Garcetti says he will sign immediately — to create a “worker retention ordinance” to allow those workers to come back to their jobs.
Such workers “can’t be the victims when we get back to work” of new, cheaper labor being hired before them, he said. However, “there’s only so much we can do locally,” the mayor said, emphasizing the need for financial federal support.
Garcetti said that 13% of the national workforce has been left out of the $483 billion aid package approved by the Senate Tuesday, since it doesn’t directly give aid to cities.
The briefing comes after the mayor released a $10.5 billion proposed budget Monday for the year ahead, beginning July 1, calling the city’s financial future “unpredictable.” The spending plan includes service cuts and nearly 16,000 worker furloughs in an attempt to manage economic fallout from the pandemic.
The plan is expected to result in fewer street repairs and longer wait times for the city’s 311 public service hotline, although safety and health services are not to face cuts, the mayor said.
The budget predicts revenues will go up 1.8%, in comparison to the 4.5% annual average growth the city has seen over the last six years.
Garcetti said “this is bigger and it will hurt more” than the 2008 recession.
The mayor acknowledged that the pandemic is an unprecedented situation that can leave a toll on people’s mental health, adding that he, too, experiences panic attacks.
“Our lives have all been interrupted, suspended eerily and indefinitely,” he said. “The isolation is real. But whatever you’re feeling, know that you’re not alone. This is not a permanent new normal. This is a period of time that will pass.”
The L.A. County Department of Mental Health has a 24-hour hotline that people can call if they are feeling depressed or overwhelmed at 800-854-7771. There is also a Crisis Text Hotline that can be reached by texting HOME to 741741.
The city of L.A. had 680 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,904 — an 11% increase from the previous day. And, for the second day in a row, L.A. County reported a significant backlog in positive coronavirus tests, bringing the total number of cases to 15,140, with 663 deaths.
The mayor said that 60% of all coronavirus tests in California have been conducted at the 34 L.A. city and county testing sites.
Mayor Garcetti has been holding a remote press briefing via Facebook Live every weekday and on Sundays at 5:15 p.m.