Signal Hill City Council gets reopening update

Signal Hill City Hall (Richard Grant | Signal Tribune)

Signal Hill Dog Park now open, Library and City Hall to partially open in early May.

Excitement continues to build as California takes tentative steps toward reopening with the number of COVID-19 vaccinations increasing. Signal Hill is no exception. 

City Manager Hannah Shin-Heydorn informed the Signal Hill City Council on Tuesday, April 13 that the Signal Hill Dog Park at 3100 California Ave. is now open after being closed for a year and undergoing some repairs from fire damage. 

Signal Hill Dog Park at 3100 California Ave. (Anita W. Harris | Signal Tribune)

Dog Park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and dog owners must wear a mask and practice physical distancing from those outside their own households, Shin-Heydorn said.

The City is also planning on opening the Signal Hill Public Library at 1800 E. Hill St. on Saturdays only beginning May 1, Shin-Heydorn said. The library is currently being used by students as a supplemental school on weekdays.

Saturday visitors will be given time limits and allowed only within a certain capacity, Shin-Heydorn said. Visitors will also be screened with questionnaires and must wear masks and maintain physical distancing. 

“All play areas are closed and all toys have been removed,” Shin-Heydorn said. “But we’re very excited to let everyone back to the library.”

Signal Hill Public Library at 1800 E. Hill St. (Courtesy City of Signal hill)

The City is also planning to reopen City Hall to the public as of Monday, May 3, Shin-Heydorn said. The building is currently available to public by appointment only. Visitors have to wear a mask, answer a COVID-19 questionnaire and maintain physical distancing.

Residents can continue to contact departments through the City’s website, by email and by phone, Shin-Heydorn added, encouraging visitors to still use the City’s appointment system since the building is small.

“We can only fit about two people in our lobby at any given time,” she said. “So rather than have you wait outside or in your car, if you’d like to make an appointment, we can guarantee a timeslot for you.”

Shin-Heydorn emphasized that all City openings depend on LA County remaining in the orange “moderate” tier or moving to the yellow “minimal” tier of COVID-19 risk, according to the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” guidelines. 

Chart summarizing the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” color-coded tier system. LA County is currently in the orange tier of “moderate” risk. (Courtesy CDPH)

Under the orange tier, most service businesses—including restaurants, breweries, wineries, movie theaters, gyms, salons, museums and aquariums—can be open, though at only 25% to 50% of capacity and with safety protocols in place.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he expects all sectors of the economy to fully reopen by June 15, moving the state “beyond the blueprint.” 

However, that will depend on two conditions being met: 1) the state has a sufficient supply of vaccines for anyone 16 years of age and older who wants to be inoculated, and 2) hospitalization rates remain stable and low.

“If everything continues to follow the downward trend [of cases, hospitalizations and deaths] that we’re currently seeing, all industries across the state will be able to return to normal operations, with common-sense risk-reduction measures in place,” Shin-Heydorn said. 

She noted that Californians will still be required to wear masks after June 15 and that COVID-19 testing and verification requirements will still be necessary in certain settings. Signal Hill offers free testing on the Library’s terrace on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 3pm, she said. 

“What can each of us do to get ‘beyond the blueprint’?” Shin-Heydorn asked. “We can wear a mask and we can get vaccinated.”

Non-vaccinated residents can register to get a shot through the CDPH’s My Turn website at myturn.ca.gov. Residents can also register to get vaccinated at the Kaiser Permanente Signal Hill Medical Offices at 845 E. Willow St., whether or not they are a member, Shin-Heydorn said.

All California residents 16 years of age and older are eligible to receive a vaccine as of April 15. However, the City of Long Beach is already offering walk-up vaccinations to Long Beach and Signal Hill residents 16 and over. More information can be found on Long Beach’s VAXLB website.

As of this week, about 40% of Signal Hill residents have been vaccinated, Shin-Heydorn said. The city currently has 1,129 COVID-19 cases, and eight residents have died from the virus.

“Looks like this summer—if all goes well—will feel like the ‘dawning of the age of Aquarius,’” Mayor Edward Wilson said after hearing the update. “We’ll be able to get out and enjoy each other’s company.” 

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