By LILY TINOCO and SARAH SHMERLING
While news of COVID-19 cases across California and Los Angeles County spread, businesses and schools throughout Pacific Palisades have amended operations or closed in response.
As early as Wednesday, March 11, several private schools with Palisadian students—including Harvard Westlake and Windward School—announced that they would begin online instruction the following week.
Palisades private schools, including Village School, St. Matthew’s Parish School, Seven Arrows Elementary School, Calvary Christian School, Seven Arrows Elementary School, Le Lycée Français De Los Angeles Pacific Palisades Campus and Corpus Christi School, followed suit, with Los Angeles Unified School District announcing Friday, March 13, upcoming plans for closure.
“California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendents Austin Beutner of Los Angeles and Cindy Marten of San Diego said in a joint statement. “There is evidence the virus is already present in the communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an important contribution to this effort.”
The Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Saturday, March 14, where a two-week campus closure was put in place.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared an executive order on Sunday, March 15, announcing the closure of dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms within the city of LA as emergency steps to take ahead of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
With these measures being put in place, businesses throughout the Palisades are being left to mitigate and offer what they can given the circumstances.
Groza Learning Center and the Academy of Technology Art and Music (both located at 881 Alma Real) have recently had to acclimate.
Groza Learning Center will remain open for those who wish to go to the center, but also offer online tutoring, test prep and the option to learn from home.
“We make our online learning sessions as fun and as interactive as possible,” said Tatyana Yukhtman, director of Groza Learning Center.
The program allows students and teachers to share screens, and includes audio and video, document sharing and additional features.
ATAM has converted every one of its student lessons to online. ATAM teachers conduct their lessons from their computers, teaching everything from tech, art and music through a virtual classroom until it’s safe to continue in-person.
Various retailers in Palisades Village are temporarily closing their shops as well.
Buck Mason and Cuyana both announced the temporary closure of its stores on Friday, March 13. Lululemon closed on Monday, March 16, with plans to reopen March 27.
Zimmermann closed its stores on March 16 and plans to reopen on Saturday, March 28. The Little Market will temporarily close its location through the end of March.
Alfred Coffee closed all of its Los Angeles locations, effective Wednesday, March 18.
“Alfred has a responsibility to lead by example and to do the right thing,” Alfred said in a statement. “We will evaluate our Los Angeles closures in two weeks and will open only when it is safe to do so.” They added that employees will receive regular wages and benefits during this time.
Restaurants throughout the Palisades have announced plans to move to takeout and delivery only. As the situation evolves, courses of action are subject to change.
Gracias Señor’s taqueria will remain open until further notice.
“As long as we’re able to get to the Palisades and provide the same uncompromising quality we strive for, we will continue to open our doors,” owner Rodolfo Barrientos said to the Palisadian-Post. “We want to provide the community a constant amidst all the chaos.”
Another aspect of COVID-19 affecting the Palisades is cleared grocery shelves—with everything from toilet paper to fresh produce in short supply.
“Grocery stores will continue to be open and restocking their shelves,” Mayor Garcetti shared in a tweet. “No need to rush the markets. Stay calm and avoid crowds.”
Erewhon Market in Palisades Village remains open, with one hour of shopping for the elderly and immunocompromised from 6 to 7 a.m., effective Wednesday, March 18. Also beginning Wednesday, Gelson’s is offering one hour of shopping from 7 to 8 a.m. for shoppers ages 65 and over.
Ralphs remains open and is allowing a limited number of customers in the store at a time to foster social distancing. There have also been limits placed on certain items, such as paper towels.
Due to the rapidly changing situation, Palisadians are encouraged to confirm with businesses before visiting or placing orders. An updated list of restaurants that are offering takeout/delivery is available here.
Other major closures and cancellations in the Palisades include the Palisades Branch Library, the postponement of the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association season, and various meetings of local organizations and councils. The Pacific Palisades Farmers Market, which usually takes place on Sundays, will remain closed until Pali High reopens its campus.
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness postponed its March 16 meeting to its next regularly scheduled meeting on May 18.
“In the meantime,” representatives from the task force shared, “PPTFH in partnership with The People Concern will continue to provide services to the Pacific Palisades community and our homeless people.”
As the Post went to print Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 144 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus.
“Because testing limitations still exist,” the department shared in a statement, “the best approach is to practice social distancing at every opportunity, assuming that many people can be infected.”
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