Long Beach mayor says tightening COVID-19 restrictions 'the right thing to do'

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Coronavirus is spiking dramatically in California, so much so that Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering new restrictions and tightening the state’s mandatory mask mandate.

The pandemic continues to take a greater toll on Californians of color, especially Latinos, many of whom can’t work from home. Meanwhile, there’s no new relief in sight from Washington, D.C. for all those businesses and workers who are suffering financially from the now-worsening pandemic.

"I think that obviously what’s happening right now is something that we’ve been warned about by the CDC, by the governor, by the state for months, which is winter and fall are here, we’ve expected things to get colder and cases to spike," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "I think it’s the right to do. We have to ensure that hospitals don’t get overburdened. We have to ensure that we have enough PPE and take care of folks."

Garcia’s home county, Los Angeles County, has been in the most restrictive purple tier for weeks, so Monday’s announcement doesn’t change anything for residents there. The mayor expects us to be "well into 2021 before there’s a public distribution process" for a coronavirus vaccine.

As the holidays approach, however, public health experts have major concerns about family gatherings against COVID-19 guidelines.

"We have to sacrifice in order for there to be more lives saved," Garcia told KCBS Radio’s "The State Of California" late Monday. "People need to sacrifice this holiday season so they can spend future holiday seasons with their family and their loved ones."

The mayor, seen as a rising star in California politics and possible candidate to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate, lost both his mother and stepfather to COVID-19 earlier this year.

"This will be my first Thanksgiving without (them)," he said. "It’s going to be hard, but I don’t want that to happen to other people. I don’t want other people to go through what me and my brother are going to go through this Thanksgiving, this Christmas."

Almost 15,000 Long Beach residents have tested positive to date.