As COVID-19 cases have dropped in Los Angeles County, the city of Beverly Hills is ending some of the emergency regulations adopted during the pandemic while extending protections for renters. The council’s decision comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to end California’s COVID-19 state of emergency on Feb. 28.
“I think we do have to face the fact that COVID as we know it is over,” Vice Mayor Julian Gold said during the Feb. 7 City Council meeting.
The council unanimously adopted an urgency ordinance that upholds a May 31 deadline for tenants to pay back rent debts accrued during the city’s eviction moratorium, and preserves a 3.1% maximum rent increase until June 30, 2023.
Council members also unanimously agreed that the city resume enforcement of non-compliant signage in front of businesses. During the pandemic, the city did not enforce laws on signs and banners placed adjacent to businesses. The council directed city staff to set a date for when enforcement will resume, and begin an outreach campaign 30-days prior.
The council also directed staff to phase out curbside pick-up spaces.
“We will bring that back to you … with some recommendations of where we can keep the few that we want and then reduce the [overall] number [of curbside pick-up spaces],” City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey said.
In a written public comment, Elizabeth An, CEO of Crustacean Beverly Hills, said that the pick-up spaces in front of the restaurant continue to be a valuable asset to customers.
The council decided to continue waiving fees for businesses that request permits under the OpenBH program, and decided that Hunt-Coffey will maintain authority over issuing OpenBH permits. Council members also agreed to extend restrictions on third-party delivery services, which limit the maximum fees they can charge restaurants.
During the pandemic, take-out orders became the biggest source of revenue for Chaumont Bakery, owner Frederic Laski stated in a written comment. Keeping delivery service fees low is integral to the bakery’s survival, he added.
“Capping the fees on delivery services allowed us to keep our costs down and provide the same level of quality while maintaining our food cost,” Laski stated. “We would like for the city of Beverly Hills to keep applying the fee cap on third party delivery services.”
Mayor Lili Bosse agreed it is important to maintain restrictions on food-delivery services, given their popularity is unlikely to wane.
“We want to encourage our businesses to thrive,” Bosse said. “Even though businesses are open, there’s still a lot of people that have gotten used to ordering in and having it delivered at home, and I’m not sure that that model is going to change. I would rather … our businesses have that funding as opposed to the third party.”
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