Mayor Alicia Weintraub’s Letter to the Community
Sometimes we have a week where it feels like it is one step forward and 20 steps back. This week felt like one of those weeks. Just when we thought there was some light at the end of the long COVID tunnel, we had to face more sobering closures. We have had a major surge in cases, even in Calabasas. We have seen examples of massive social gatherings - including COVID "house parties" and wedding receptions - people not distancing themselves from each other, and some refusing to wear face coverings. These all led to new strict guidelines coming down from the State of California and LA County. Remember, as an incorporated city, we can be stricter than the guidelines, but we cannot be more lenient.
This is adversity. How we respond to adversity is what helps define us.
We are facing this head on. The City Council on Wednesday voted to enforce a section of the Calabasas Municipal Code and Calabasas Executive Order 2020-07 that will fine the public for not wearing a mask. Starting Monday, if you are not wearing your mask in public when you are near other people not from your home, you may be fined $100 for the first offense. We do not want to do this, but we have to start taking this mask order seriously. Many people do take it seriously and wear face coverings and we thank you, but many others choose not to and the complaints coming into City Hall are rising by the day. You have seen them, as have I, walking around shopping centers or parks, getting close to others with no face covering - or wearing a mask around their chin or not covering their nose. No more. The same goes for businesses. The rule is you must wear masks inside a Calabasas business. Business owners, if you see a customer not wearing a mask, or your employee is not wearing a mask, you need to make them wear a mask as well.
I mentioned house parties. You may have seen the recent news stories about Calabasas resident - and YouTube celebrity - Jake Paul throwing a massive party at his house a few days ago. We have been in close contact with the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station and gatherings like this are finished until the strict guidelines are lifted. The City and law enforcement take this very seriously and we are adopting a zero-tolerance policy - no warnings. If you see a large gathering that could endanger public health during this pandemic, call the Sheriff's Department and the party will be broken up immediately, and those hosting may be looking at financial penalties. Previously, the Sheriff was giving warnings and telling hosts that this cannot happen again. The warning period has ended and the Sheriff understands that all parties are to be broken up immediately. Under the Calabasas Municipal Code, the Sheriff is allowed to end any unruly gathering, defined to include any gathering that threatens public health. Gatherings that are held in violation of the state, county and city COVID-19 related Safer at Home Orders is a gathering that threatens public health. Please contact the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station at 818-878-1808 and the City of Calabasas Code Enforcement Hotline at 818-518-3201 if you encounter a large gathering.
We are also doing what we can to help businesses. The absolute last thing we want is businesses forced to close and people lose their jobs. We want to make it easier for businesses to stay open. For example, we are working on ways to temporarily permit businesses so they can operate outdoors. There may be hair salons or other indoor businesses who may be able to set up their shop outside. The nature of their business may preclude them from offering every service they would offer indoors, but at least they could offer some services that can bring in revenue. If you are a business who has questions about this, please contact City Hall at 818-224-1600.
I know you have heard it a million times, but we truly are all in this together. If we work together, as one 25,000-person team, we can beat this virus and one day we can gather together, businesses can re-open, and all of our children can attend school in person.
Have a great weekend.