Long Beach to close public buildings, waive fees, modify meetings

Long Beach is suspending penalties for late fees and citations, closing public buildings and making other modifications to meeting schedules and activities in hopes of stemming the spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Saturday.

The changes, which go into effect on Monday, include:

City facilities
  • The city will be suspending penalties and interest for late payments of utilities and parking citations, business license fees and library fines that are incurred beginning March 15 and at least through the end of the month. The city also will be returning city park fees or other city fees for canceled activities and events at city facilities.
  • City Hall and the Port Administration Building will be closed to the public through March 31, or until further notice, with residents encouraged to use online services and phones. Essential city services will continue, but in-person services at City Hall will be suspended through March 31, or until further notice. City employees should still report to work on Monday as scheduled.
  • Several facilities will be closed through the end of the month, including: the Parks, Recreation and Marine office, the sports office, community recreation centers, Leeway Sailing Center, community pools, the Belmont Pool and the El Dorado Nature Center Museum.
  • City parks, skate parks and dog parks, El Dorado East Regional Park, Nature Center trails and golf courses will remain accessible to the public and their maintenance and upkeep will continue. Marina offices will remain open.
  • Public beaches will remain accessible to the public; however, all planned public events have been canceled through March 31, or until further notice.
  • All recreation programs, classes, permits and reservations, along with youth and adult sporting activities, are canceled through March 31, or until further notice.
  • The Long Beach Airport remains open.
Senior services
  • Senior centers will remain open, with limited services. Senior lunches will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (with appropriate social distancing) at Cesar Chavez Park (401 Golden Ave.), El Dorado Park West (2800 N. Studebaker Road), Expo Center (4321 Atlantic Ave.), McBride Park (1500 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.), Ramona Park (3301 E. 65th St.) and Silverado Park (1545 W. 31st St.). The Long Beach Senior Center (1150 E. Fourth St.) will remain open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday with lunch service only.
Animal care
  • Long Beach Animal Care Services will remain open and will be implementing temporary protocols to protect the community and staff, and ensure animals at the shelter continue to receive care.
  • Adoption services will continue with appropriate social distancing.
  • Animal Control Officers will continue to accommodate the most urgent health and public safety issues in the community.
  • Pet licensing can be done at the shelter by drop box; via mail by sending payment to: 7700 E. Spring St. Long Beach, CA 90815; over the phone by calling 562-570-3081; or online at longbeachanimalcare.com.
Libraries
  • Public city libraries will be closed through March 31, or until further notice. While libraries are closed, Long Beach Public Library is relaxing its borrowing policy: All late fees will be suspended and due dates extended during this period, patron holds for items will be suspended, patrons can hold onto the items they have already borrowed, items may be returned in outdoor book drops at any of the city’s 12 locations.
  • Patrons are encouraged to make use of the library’s collection of digital resources available 24/7: E-books and e-audiobooks for children and adults, magazines, music and movies are available for free streaming and download, and  students also may access free online tutoring and learning resources;
  • Library staff are available to provide assistance through telephone reference at 562-570-7500, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other services
  • All services requiring in-person visits or public service counter assistance (including licensing and building permits) will be suspended or made available via phone, online or through email.
  • The Long Beach Water Department will close its Administration Building beginning Monday to at least the end of the month. All services requiring in-person visits or service counter assistance will be suspended and made available via phone, online or email only.
  • Building inspection services will continue.
  • Health facilities are open for essential services; however, the Housing Authority will be closed to in-person visits and services will be provided online or via phone.
  • The Long Beach Police Department’s business desk at Police Headquarters will remain open, though the city encourages everyone to call 562-435-6711 for non-emergency police assistance and 562-570-7260 for general information and questions regarding filing police reports.
  • Jail visitation will be curtailed with the exception of clergy and lawyers.
  • All public works services will remain in place with the exception of in-person permit submissions, which can be made online at longbeach.gov/lbds/building/permit-center/online/.
  • Refuse collection and street sweeping will continue per the usual schedule.
  • Energy Resources will provide restoration of gas service to customers currently shut-off for non payment. For more information, visit: longbeach.gov/energyresources.
  • Passport services and civil ceremonies provided by the City Clerk’s office will be suspended.
Fees
  • To aid residents and businesses financially, the city will be suspending penalties and interest for late payments for utilities and parking citations, for business license fees and library fines that are incurred beginning March 15 and at least through the end of March.
  • The city also will be returning city park fees or other city fees for canceled activities and events at city facilities.
City Meetings
  • Next week’s Long Beach City Council meeting will take place via teleconference.
  • The City Council meetings of March 24 and April 7 will be canceled or conducted by teleconference. Electronic comments are encouraged.
  • Commission meetings will either be suspended or conducted by teleconference at least through April, or until further notice.
  • Written comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected].
  • The Council Chambers will be open to members of the public for comment, but public health officials encourage electronic comments.

For additional assistance, please call 562-570-INFO (4636).

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