As we all grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, large cities like New York and Los Angeles grapple with how to keep millions of citizens from spreading the disease. On Wednesday, LA mayor Eric Garcetti said large gatherings — currently banned throughout California and the U.S. — may not be allowed through the end of this year, and possibly into early 2021.
Garcetti told Wolf Blitzer during a CNN interview, “It’s difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands anytime soon, so I think we should be prepared for that this year.”
Both New York and Los Angeles are enormous markets for mass gatherings to take place, from sports teams to movie premieres and — closest to our line of work here at TFL — auto shows. With Garcetti’s announcement, what hope there is that organizers will be able to put on the 2020 LA Auto Show as scheduled is quickly slipping away.
At this point, it’s far too early to tell whether the event will be officially cancelled. We’ll post an update if that happens in the coming weeks or months.
The LA Auto Show typically takes place in late November and early December, but several prominent figures warn against staging large gatherings again too soon, for fear of triggering a new spike in coronavirus cases. Right now, the short-term focus on kickstarting an economy crippled by stay-at-home orders and the first wave of COVID-19 cases sweeping through the city. To that end, the mayor announced a five-pillar process to reopening Los Angeles for business. A strong system of testing has to be in place (that’s been a slow process), real-time tracing of new outbreaks, enough hospital capacity to handle incoming patients without being overwhelmed, and a more aggressive approach to new cases so that the city won’t have to shut down again.
Garcetti continued to mention throughout the interview that we cannot go back to business as usual as local and state governments discuss lifting stay-at-home orders. “But I do think, as we’ve all said, there is no light switch that will go on, this is more like a circuit breaker box and we have to have the ability to turn it all off again should we see outbreaks.”
Currently, the city of Los Angeles has extended the outstanding stay-at-home order through May 15.