Orange County Cities Move to End Local Emergencies

By Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley is a daily news reporter for The Epoch Times based in Southern California.
July 7, 2021 Updated: July 7, 2021

Huntington Beach and Fullerton joined a minority of Orange County, California, cities on July 6 in moving to end local emergency declarations.

While Fullerton City Council unanimously ended its local emergency declaration, Huntington Beach City Council unanimously took the first step toward its termination by directing the city manager to prepare the necessary documents.

“[Terminating the local emergency declaration] seeks to bring economic sustainability,” Huntington Beach Councilman Mike Posey said during a July 6 council meeting.

“What better way to announce to the world that Huntington Beach is open for business? We’re eager to fill our hotels, we’re eager to fill our restaurants, like we did on the Independence Day weekend.”

Mayor Kim Carr disagreed that repealing the local emergency ordinance would impact the city’s visitation.

“Our hotels were jammed this weekend,” Carr said, alluding to July 4 celebrations that drew thousands of tourists and residents to the city.

“I don’t see how this is suddenly going to open the floodgates for people coming to Huntington Beach by just making the statement.”

Orange County’s emergency declaration will likely remain in effect through September, Huntington Beach City Manager Oliver Chi told the council.

Chi said many cities are choosing to prolong their emergency ordinances.

“Most cities aren’t ending these just on the off chance that something were to happen,” he said. “The likelihood of that is fairly low at this point, based on the vaccination rates in California and Orange County.”

The local emergency order allowed cities to recoup reimbursable costs for any pandemic-related operations, and allowed them to “streamline some of the procedural protocols” for necessary purchases during the pandemic, Chi said.

“Given our operational stature right now, where everything is back to full reopening, we have very little in the way of reimbursable expenses,” Chi said. “Likely, there’s not going to be a financial impact for us [to terminate the local emergency].”

If a local emergency needed to be reinstated due to the CCP virus pandemic and the city didn’t have one already in place, it could potentially “lose access to reimbursable costs if we had to ramp up our operations,” Chi said.

However, the city can reinstate a local emergency declaration to receive federal aid at any time, should the pandemic intensify.

Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley is a daily news reporter for The Epoch Times based in Southern California.