DCR News Bulletin: COVID-19 Updates

City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation + COVID-19 News Bulletin

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a new type of virus that recently started making people sick. Due to the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization has categorized the situation as a pandemic and City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a Local Emergency. For information on the status of the virus, the City of Los Angeles recommends reliable sources of information such as the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) 

To support business owners and patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic, local, state and federal agencies have developed resources and tools to assist those impacted at this time.

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Under the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the City of Los Angeles is rapidly responding to the changing landscape of COVID-19. On Thursday, March 19, Mayor Garcetti issued a  'Safer at Home' Emergency Order -- encouraging all citizens to stay inside as much as possible and for the closure of non-essential businesses.

Under the Mayor's 'Safer-at-Home' Order CANNABIS BUSINESS ARE DEEMED ESSENTIAL and those with Temporary Approval are authorized to stay open in the City of Los Angeles.

For more information on COVID-19 from the City of Los Angeles click here.

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Due to  COVID-19, some of the Department’s services have been modified in line with the Mayor’s directives. Please refer to the Department Updates section below for a list of modified services at this time.

COVID-19 + DCR

The Department of Cannabis Regulation (DCR) is taking every precaution possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To help protect the health of our citizens and staff, and in line with Mayor Garcetti’s directives, DCR will be implementing the following:

  • DCR’s Public Service Counters are currently closed.
  • DCR Licensing and Information Services are still available online at cannabis.lacity.org or by phone at 213-978-0738 from 10am to 3pm (Pacific Time).
  • Cannabis Regulation Commission meetings will be postponed until further notice.
  • DCR’s Public Health Inspection Compliance Workshop scheduled for Saturday, May 21 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Additional updates related to modified services are included in the Department Updates section below.

*The Department is currently assessing how to restore and improve services modified as a result of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience at this time.

Mayor Garcetti’s 'Safer at Home' Emergency Order

On March 19, Mayor Garcetti issued a 'Safer at Home' Emergency Order — ordering all residents of the City of Los Angeles to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs.

Under the Mayor's 'Safer-at-Home' Order those cannabis businesses with Temporary Approval are authorized to stay open in the City of Los Angeles.

Please see the highlighted excerpt of the order below.  For a link to the entire Emergency Order click here.

City of Los Angeles 'Safer-at-Home' Emergency Order:

Under the provisions of Section 231(i) of the Los Angeles City Charter and Chapter 3, Section 8.27 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, I hereby declare the following orders to be necessary for the protection of life and property in the City of Los Angeles, effective on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 11:59 PM:

2. Subject only to the exceptions outlined in this Paragraph and Paragraph 5 below, all businesses within the City of Los Angeles are ordered to cease operations that require in-person attendance by workers at a workplace :

(vii) Essential Activities Exempt. Certain business operations and activities are exempt from the provisions of this Order, on the grounds that they provide services that are recognized to be critical to the health and well-being of the City.

These include: (a) All healthcare operations, including hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical and scientific research, laboratories, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, veterinary care providers, mental and behavioral health providers, substance use providers, physical therapists and chiropractors, cannabis dispensaries, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, manufacturers and suppliers. Healthcare operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms and similar facilities.

Please remember to stay safe and healthy during this time. DCR is available via phone or online to answer any questions you may have.

MODIFIED LICENSING SERVICES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Department of Cannabis Regulation has temporarily suspended the following licensing services:

  • Submission of Application Amendment forms and documentation
  • Pre-licensing inspections for applicants
  • Issuance of Temporary Approvals

Please note, due to the closure of City Hall and the Office of Finances Public Counter, applicants and licensees are currently unable to make cash payments at the Office of Finance’s Public Counter. For additional information on methods of payment of taxes and fees, please contact the Office of Finance by email, finance.customerservice@lacity.org, or phone, 844-663-4411.  Finance's website also provides access to their services.

*The Department is currently assessing how to restore and improve services modified as a result of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience at this time.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT

In the interest of the health of our community and in accordance with Mayor Garcetti’s directives, DCR has made the following modification to its services:

  • Cannabis Regulation Commission meetings are postponed until further notice.
  • The Public Health Inspection Compliance Workshop scheduled for March 21 has been postponed until further notice.
  • DCR’s Public Service Counters are currently closed.
  • DCR Licensing and Information Services are only available online at cannabis.lacity.org or by phone at 213-978-0738 from 10 am to 3 pm.

*The Department is currently assessing how to restore and improve services modified as a result of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience at this time.

HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR CONSUMERS

State of California COVID-19 Response FAQs

The State of California is working to support people financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. There are benefits available to workers and employers during this time.

One important thing for workers to know is that the state has removed waiting periods for unemployment and disability insurance for Californians who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and published resources for workers affected by COVID-19.

The state has also extended the state tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020 for all California taxpayers.

In addition to the above, California has developed a webpage with Frequently Asked Questions and Resources for workers, employers, and with information about taxes.

To access these resources, visit their website here.

Facts About COVID-19 / Slow the Spread

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Protect Yourself

  • Clean your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Protect Others
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Wear a Facemask if Sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers

Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

The Department of Cannabis Regulation has developed a page of resources business owners may need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The page includes valuable resources including the City of Los Angeles’s Resilience Toolkit for Los Angeles Businesses, Resources from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), State of California Employer and Employee Assistance, and much more.

To access this Resource page, click here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

The Department of Cannabis Regulation understands the unique impact COVID-19 has placed on local businesses and their workforce in the City of Los Angeles.

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To support businesses during this time, the Mayor’s Office of Community Business has provided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

The CDC’s interim guidance for businesses and employers is based on what is currently known about COVID-19. Some of the recommended strategies for employers include:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, or dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools.
  • Create an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
  • For the full list of updated suggestions and guidelines, please visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.

Emergency Notification

DCR is also encouraging everyone to sign up for NotifyLA, the City’s emergency alerts system, which the City uses to push out updates about COVID-19 prevention. Please encourage your families and friends to do the same.