The Carson City Council has declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus, and the response to the pandemic has dominated City Council meetings. As of April 23, Carson reports more than 200 cases of coronavirus.
The Council has taken several actions to fight the spread of the virus and help residents adjust to the changes the pandemic has brought.
While the public is not able to attend council meetings in-person, all meetings have been live streamed on the City website. Public comments can be submitted via email, by phone call, or on written notes in a drop box outside City Hall in advance of the meeting.
The Council has added weekly meetings to discuss the pandemic, in addition to the regularly scheduled twice monthly meetings.
Face masks are now mandated in public. In reference to this motion, Mayor Al Robles noted “I would much rather say ‘sorry for your inconvenience’ than say ‘sorry for your Loss’”. Initially the council considered a $1,000 fine for violations but that was struck down following pushback.
Additionally, the City is complying with state recommendations to cancel events, and close businesses and city facilities. As a result, only 150 city employees of 850 have been asked to report to work. Those employees deemed “non-essential” have been asked to file for unemployment until they can return back to work.
The Council held a press conference on April 16 to demand a mobile test site for COVID-19 be established in the City. As of April 27, Juanita Millender McDonald Community Center at 801 E Carson St is now a testing site for all residents regardless if symptoms are visible.
With funding from Watson Land Company, the City has partnered with Meals on Wheels, Lighthouse and the YMCA to provide meals to those in need.
The Council granted a grace period for flavored tobacco and e-cig sales until the end of the year. The move comes as a result of vendors stating they did not have enough time to deplete inventory following the ban of sales by the Council in February.
The City is suspending penalties and interest for late payments of parking citations and business license fees, while cracking down on price gouging. Unfortunately, the City has suspended response to public records requests until the emergency has been lifted.
City bus services have been suspended since March 28. METRO buses as well as neighboring city service buses will continue to operate through the city.
The City has fostered a partnership with LYFT that will allow residents a 50% discount for all rides to essential services in the City. The program is offered with a grant from South Coast Air Quality Management District and L.A. Metro. Dial-a-Ride and ACCESS programs will still be available for residents.