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State Denies City’s Request for Local Control Over Reopening Process

Published on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 3:57 pm
 

The state’s public health department turned down a variance request from the city’s health department that would have allowed Pasadena to control its reopening process, according to a press release issued late Wednesday.

“We are capable and confident of ensuring [sic] adherence to all state requirements. We believe it is important to provide the latitude to exercise our local authority that the Governor has conferred by his Executive Order. Therefore, we are respectfully requesting revisions to the COVID-19 Variance Attestation Form be made to allow for local control,” said Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh in a prepared statement.

According to the release, Dr. Goh contacted the California Department of Public Health advocating for local control over the re-opening process.

Up until now, Pasadena has been required to follow the state’s guidelines and the only local control was the ability to have stricter guidelines, but not guidelines more liberal, than the state’s order.

The Governor signaled a change in course with the possibility that local health jurisdictions have some control over the re-opening process.

Specifically, the Governor indicated that local health jurisdictions may apply for a “variance” to Stage Two re-opening requirements. If a variance was granted a local jurisdiction could, for example, reopen restaurants or allow drive-through graduations, provided certain criteria were met.

Only four cities in California have their own health departments — Pasadena, Long Beach, Berkeley and Vernon.

The city has been informed the California Department of Public Health will not consider Pasadena’s variance request and will only consider such requests from counties, despite what the Governor has said.

This will leave Pasadena and Long Beach locked into whatever LA County decides.

Earlier this week, the county targeted July 4 as a reopening date.

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