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Pandemic in SCV
May, 2020 - Issue #188
There's really only one story that matters these dark days, and of course, it's who is going to win the Little Miss SCV 2020 Pageant. Oops, wrong timeline. Rather, all we have to talk about these days is the confusing, widespread, deadly COVID-19 coronavirus. Usually, crime and politics are the bread and butter of the local news, but lately, arrests have been down and political campaigns have been muted. Everyone is focused on our rapidly changing world and what it means for them, their loved ones and their livelihood. When you're in a pandemic, that's what you talk about.

Hometown Coronavirus
As I write this, I know there will likely be new COVID-19 developments by the time you receive your issue of Inside SCV Magazine. Such is the nature of an ever-evolving global pandemic. Will the world still be awash in quarantine memes and toilet paper jokes? More seriously, will you or someone you know have caught the bug?

Speculation is futile. Instead, here's a snapshot of how things are in early April, at the time of this writing. Globally, there have been 1,429,437 confirmed COVID-19 cases of which 82,073 were fatal. The Signal reports 6,910 cases in LA County. There are at least 139 confirmed cases in the Santa Clarita Valley - under .1 percent of our population. Still, people are keeping their distance in public, kids have been home from school and masks abound. Is it helping? Epidemiologists say the peak in cases is yet to come, so when you read this, things will likely be worse. Just remember how much can change in a week, and let's hope there will be a quick and drastic change for the better.

"It's important to remember that Santa Clarita has been through challenging times before, and Claritans have always risen to the occasion."
How's Business?
Apart from supermarkets and warehouse stores, the coronavirus has really hit local businesses hard. Non-essential enterprises have simply been shuttered while people shelter in place. This has included closing bars, the non-essential classification of which has been questioned by many Claritans. Sadly, Ice Station Valencia announced that it would be closing its doors permanently. A statement explained that an uncertain time-frame for re-opening and loss of business from the coronavirus pandemic "made a recovery insurmountable."

Meanwhile, the Patios Connection Project has had at least one obstacle cleared. Described as "an over $100 million investment in the future of Westfield Valencia Town Center," the project hinges on bringing Costco to the mall to fill the old Sears space. A luxury movie theater, expansion of The Canyon live music venue, health and fitness center, and more are set to round out the project. Few of these businesses are pandemic-friendly, but recently, the project gained a boost when a group withdrew its appeal contesting the expansion project. Now, the only obstacle is the economy.

Coming Together
It's important to remember that Santa Clarita has been through challenging times before, and Claritans have always risen to the occasion. As Mayor Cameron Smyth said, "Since October, we have gone through fires, a school shooting and now a global pandemic. Each time, Santa Clarita has come together to take care of one another, to do what we need to do for our community and for our neighbors." The current circumstances may be extraordinary, but the response has been reassuringly steady and community-minded.

SCV's own Carl Goldman has provided his measured account of what it's like to have coronavirus on CNN, "60 Minutes," and his own KHTS. He was one of the first Americans to contract and recover from the virus. Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood have each donated hundreds of pounds of fresh food to SCV food pantries. A Hart School District nurse found 30,000 surgical masks to donate to hospitals, and other Claritans have been sewing or even 3-D printing masks. And every day, workers in health care, food service and sanitation, as well as first responders, have kept bravely at work despite heightened risks. They heart the SCV and we dearly heart them for it.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions and catty comments intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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