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Home > News > News Articles > 2020 > May > Cities Harness Creativity and Pragmatism in Reopening
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Cities Harness Creativity and Pragmatism in Reopening

May 27, 2020
After two months under stay-at-home orders, cities and towns are slowly starting to open back up and just as they managed the shutdown, city leaders are approaching the new directives with creativity, pragmatism, and a vision for the future.
In the City of Long Beach, the city council recently adopted the Long Beach Open Streets Initiative to limit cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets to create more open space for physically distant activity while the local “Safer at Home” health order is still in effect. However, thinking beyond the stay-at-home orders, Long Beach is considering how to incorporate open streets into phased reopening plans.

The initiative could allow residents to engage with the community in a new, safe, way. Looking ahead, open streets without traffic could increase space for outdoor dining, outdoor fitness classes, and possibly personal services. Preserving “Open Streets” in some shape or form is now part of the conversation around how to creatively plan for the future and potentially bolster the local economy, which has been supported by Long Beach businesses and restaurants.

Like cities up and down the state, in-store retail and dine-in restaurants in the City of Grover Beach started opening up with modifications under the state’s public health guidance. But the city continued its #GBtogether campaign as a way to connect residents while they are still being asked to physically distance from each other.

“We know how difficult it is for everyone to be apart from friends and family right now, but we wanted to show that, while we may physically be staying apart, the Grover Beach community is staying together and will come out of this stronger,” said Mayor Jeff Lee.

The city produced several hundred yard signs for the campaign with the encouraging message, “Grover Beach We Got This!” The signs were placed in local community parks and residents are encouraged to take the signs home, take photos, and share them online with the hashtag #GBtogether to show their city pride and community solidarity.

The City of Monterey has also found inspired approaches to bringing people together while they still need to keep a healthy distance apart. The city celebrates its 250th birthday on June 3 and will be hosting a virtual party on that day with the mayor and three former mayors on a panel to provide some fun, historical perspectives. Monterey planned to host community-wide festivities beginning on its official anniversary and throughout the year, however the pandemic and the resulting public health orders changed that, so city staff needed to come up with a way for residents to honor this milestone in the city’s history to replace the mass gatherings that had been planned for months. When it is safe, the city will also host an in-person unveiling of a new public art piece, the Giant Abalone, on Cannery Row. 

The city reached out to residents and collected stories about the people in Monterey that have had an impact on the city’s history. These stories will be shared throughout the year on the city’s website and will be memorialized for future generations. The first two stories were posted last week. You can learn all about the city’s “abalone king” and the man behind the cigar shop that sold “the best 5- or 10-cent cigars in town” back in 1893.

"Beautiful Monterey is a special place to live, work, and visit, and one of the important reasons for this is the preservation and appreciation of our historical assets.  As we go forward to celebrate the 250th birthday of our city which we all love and care for together, we know that history plays an important role in keeping our small town feeling and cultural diversity," said Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson. 

As cities work to provide resources and information to their residents, the League continues to update the coronavirus resource and response webpage as a resource for city leaders. Daily updates on COVID-19 news, resources, and guidance specifically geared toward local officials will help local governments navigate the current situation and is updated as new developments occur. Cities that would like to share the actions they have taken in response to coronavirus can contact the communications team at If you have questions related to COVID-19, please send them to

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