Across the state of California, residents are beginning to see postponements, cancellations, and modifications implemented or reinstatement due to the surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
In Long Beach, many are feeling the effects personally with the announcement of schools returning to virtual learning, the continuation of mask mandates, and modifications to vaccine protocols.
Most recently, the City of Long Beach announced several canceled events and modified city services and meetings that directly affect the public. City events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration have been postponed, along with delays in city services as departments experience staff shortages due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Long Beach.
In a press release on Jan. 5, the city announced that services such as trash pick up, street sweeping and the Holiday Tree Recycling pickup may be affected. Recycling containers that have not been collected within their normal schedule are advised by the city to be left out to be serviced the following day.
Requests for gas services and response times for code enforcement are also slower than usual. Tree recycling is slightly behind schedule, and there have been temporary closures of selected libraries throughout the community.
The city has also moved city outreach meetings to a virtual format. Starting Jan. 18, Long Beach City Council and City Commission meetings will be held on a virtual platform. Long Beach residents are also invited to attend the Community Budget Meetings, which have been rescheduled onto a virtual platform on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27.
“Yes, the City has been presented with some challenges, but is being creative with time and staff to continue services and minimize impacts to the community,” said Chief Public Affairs Officer Kevin Lee.
The 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade and Celebration was officially postponed today in response to the wave of new infections.
“While a new date has not yet been determined, the City will continue to reevaluate the feasibility of large community events such as this and decide if it is safe from a public health standpoint to reschedule,” said Jennifer De Prez with the Office of the Long Beach City Manager.
The 2022 Homeless Point in Time Count has also been rescheduled to take place next month, Feb. 24. The location of the event was moved to TheGrand Long Beach at 4101 E. Willow Street. Volunteers are expected to participate in a virtual orientation training prior to the event, with new training dates yet to be announced, according to Paul Duncan, the Bureau Manager of Homeless Services.
In an effort to meet the increased demand for testing, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) opened a larger drive-thru and walk-up testing clinic on Jan. 10 in the former Boeing parking lot near 3590 E. Wardlow Road.
Details on the availability of testing sites, vaccination clinics, and city services on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Jan. 17, can be found here.
To keep up to date with all Covid related changes and announcements, visit longbeach.gov.
By Hannah Shields