Long Beach to allow reopening of small retailers, golf courses and trails Friday; beach path to open Monday

Beginning on Friday, Long Beach will allow the reopening of some small businesses including florists and small retailers such as clothing, music, sporting goods and book stores, as the city moves into a new phase of its economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The businesses will be open for curbside pickup only. Nature trails, golf courses, and car dealership showrooms can also reopen Friday. The city’s beach bike/walking paths and tennis centers can reopen beginning Monday. The beach, however, will remain closed for swimming, exercise, sunbathing and water recreation.

In a news conference Wednesday, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the city will spend the weekend heavily disinfecting public bathrooms before reopening the parks, paths and trails.

Social distancing and other closures, especially on the beach, will be strictly enforced, he said.

“We need people to follow the rules; we are providing relief and we need your help and support with that,” he said.

Long Beach’s announcement comes as Los Angeles County, on Wednesday, said it will allow the reopening of trails, golf courses and small retail businesses on Friday. Earlier this week, the governor announced that jurisdictions could begin to reopen some businesses with safety precautions in place.

While Long Beach generally has aligned with the county for its stay-at-home orders, the city, which has its own health department, is differing from the county slightly with its changes on Monday.

It is not yet clear when the state will allow for the reopening of dine-in restaurants, beauty salons, doctors and dentist offices as well as other businesses.

Garcia said the city over the next two weeks will closely monitor several health indicators, including infection and hospitalization rates and widespread testing.

The mayor noted that Long Beach has seen some positive signs that the pandemic may be waning. Coronavirus hospitalization rates have remained relatively flat with around 40 to 50 people, and the city’s death rate per 100,000 residents is half that of the county’s rate, which is about 14 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Garcia said city leaders remain cautiously optimistic.

“It’s important to know that we’ve begun flattening this curve,” he said. “The data is all going in the right direction, but just please know that data is moveable and can change quickly.”

On Wednesday, Long Beach saw one of the smallest increases in infection rates in days with 791 positive coronavirus cases, just two more from the previous day.

Fatalities stood at 38, with 31 of those people associated with long-term care facilities. As of Wednesday, 49 people were hospitalized and approximately 517 had recovered.

Los Angeles County saw 851 new cases of coronavirus for a total of 28,644. Another 55 people died, bringing the death toll to 1,367.

The city this week will provide direction for businesses who may not be sure if they fall on the reopening list. For information click here.

Editor’s note: This article was corrected to reflect that the beach path will open Monday while nature trails, golf courses, and car dealership showrooms can reopen Friday.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].