On Wednesday, March 18, West Hollywood manager Paul Arevalo was notified that Mayor John D’Amico had tested positive for COVID-19. Soon after, Arevalo issued an immediate order for all staff members to leave work, close city facilities to the public and transition to work-from-home schedules.
“A majority of city staff members have been transitioned to work-at-home schedules in order to keep the business of the city running with minimal interruptions,” Arevalo said. “West Hollywood City Hall and many public facilities are closed as part of the city’s efforts to protect city staff and community members from community spread of the virus, but we’re all hard at work.”
The city of West Hollywood is focused on making sure the community is getting vital information and resources as many people continue to self-isolate, and prepare for the second week of “Safer at Home” orders.
Arevalo said it was distressing to receive news of D’Amico’s positive COVID-19 results, but the city is taking necessary steps to support each other through the pandemic.
“Our focus remains on protecting our community members and on offering vital resources to our most vulnerable,” Arevalo said. “I have been in regular contact with our Mayor John D’Amico and he has publicly reported he is feeling much better, so we are grateful for that good news.”
The biggest challenge for the city is adapting quickly to being connected in a virtual workspace instead of a physical work environment.
“The doors at City Hall are temporarily shut, but we are here, we are listening, and every division and department is being responsive to community needs,” Arevalo said.
West Hollywood residents can stay informed on updates and information by visiting weho.org/coronavirus and by following the city’s social media accounts @wehocity.
The city is providing resources and services for renters, businesses and seniors.
The City Council approved an urgency ordinance on March 16 that protects renters who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with a temporary eviction moratorium.
It applies to nonpayment eviction notices served or filed on or after March 16 and will remain in effect for 60 days unless extended by the city. Tenants must notify through writing, text or email within 30 days of the rental due date of their inability to pay rent, list ways in which they have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and provide documentation to be covered under the ordinance.
The ordinance states that landlords are not allowed to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant demonstrates inability to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, and landlords are unable to charge a late fee on rent.
However, tenants must eventually pay rent, which will be due within six months after the expiration of the local emergency.
The city of West Hollywood has listed many organizations that assist community members with housing resources. Aid for AIDS and the National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles offer limited rental assistance, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Coalition for Economic Survival, Eviction Defense Network, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Disability Rights California and Housing Rights Center offer free or low-cost legal resources.
There are also specific resources for older adult community members. According to information released by the city, the following community organizations provide social services to older adults in West Hollywood: Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles County Development Authority housing buildings and Jewish Family Services.
Additionally, grocery and retail outlets are providing hours and accommodations for older adults. The stores include Gelson’s, located at 8330 Santa Monica Blvd.; Ralphs, located at 1233 N. La Brea Ave.; Target, located at 7100 Santa Monica Blvd., near the intersection of La Brea Avenue; Trader Joe’s, located at 7310 Santa Monica Blvd. and 8611 Santa Monica Blvd.; Whole Foods, located at 7871 Santa Monica Blvd., near the intersection of Fairfax Avenue; Smart and Final, located at 1041 N. Fuller Ave.; and Yummy Neighborhood Market, located at 7141 Santa Monica Blvd.
Transit services are available for seniors and disabled residents through Dial-A-Ride/TLC, WeHo On-Call Transportation and Cityline. Participants of the city’s On-Call Transportation program have received an additional $50 credit for monthly services.
“We’re doing everything we can to get the word out with a citywide mailing, with phone and web information, with email blasts, with posters and digital billboards in English, Russian and Spanish, and more,” Arevalo said.
City staff members and city partners from community organizations, nonprofits, hospitals and agencies are working around the clock during a critical time, he added.
“West Hollywood is an incredible community full of passion, and we’re always eager to take action to overcome,” he said.
For information, visit weho.org/coronavirus.
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