Bob Iger and Willow Bay will be donating $5 million to small businesses throughout Los Angeles that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday. “We are grateful to you for your bold leadership,” Garcetti said in a speech that focused mostly on vaccine distribution.
The Walt Disney Company executive chairman and his wife, the dean of USC’s Annenberg School, have been donors to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, which has been making grants to residents during the pandemic.
Garcetti’s speech attempted to explain when Angelenos would be able to get COVID vaccines, though several points remain unclear. Currently, it is still being distributed only to healthcare workers and seniors living in skilled nursing facilities in Los Angeles County.
“This vaccine is safe. It’s your civic duty. It’s going to save someone’s life,” he emphasized.
One of the biggest vaccine distribution facilities in the country will open Friday at Dodger Stadium with the capacity to inoculate 12,000 people each day. But Garcetti admitted the city doesn’t have a clear sense of when more doses would arrive. Though he touted the county vaccination website, it currently only offers a newsletter for further info, rather than appointments or sign-ups. “We can’t add more people until we have more vaccines,” he reminded.
Neighboring counties such as Orange County and San Bernardino have announced that they will be distributing the COVID vaccine to all residents over 65 years old, but Los Angeles County has not yet moved to that tier. As vaccine distribution widens, there was chaos at vaccination sites in New York and elsewhere this week.
Garcetti said that COVID hospitaliztions are finally headed in the right direction. “They are luckily not now at record levels.”
However, “this is the moment for us to double down,” Garcetti advised, to keep levels from rising. He said that although Dodger Stadium has transitioned to providing vaccines, several city sites such as Pierce College and others still have capacity for free COVID testing.
If COVID cases start to go up even more, the city would go into “crisis mode,” Garcetti said, which would likely entail further shutdowns.
“Congress needs to get this relief bill passed immediately,” he said of President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed COVID relief legislation.