Through the state’s effort to help restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles will begin using local eateries next week to provide food for its emergency senior meal program, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a statewide senior meal program that will tap into funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state.

Garcetti described the expansion of the senior meal program as a win-win situation.

“A win because we’re feeding folks who need meals, who are most at-risk in this crisis and who we need to stay at home because coronavirus is the most deadly threat to them,” Garcetti said.

“It’s a win because we’re helping … L.A.’s hard-hit hospitality and restaurant industries stay in business and keep their workers on the job.”

Garcetti said the meal program’s delivery services will be handled by taxi drivers, who have also been affected financially by the pandemic.

Taxi drivers have already been through background checks and will be provided with personal protective equipment to safely deliver the meals, Garcetti said.

About 150 restaurant workers and taxi drivers will be put back to work through the program starting next week, Garcetti said.

The city expanded its senior meal enrollment program from 5,000 people to 12,000 people two weeks ago, which provides people 65 and older with low incomes 10 meals per week. People can’t be enrolled in another meal program if they want to apply.

The program can be reached between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays at 213-263-5226 or people can apply at coronavirus.lacity.org/seniormeals.

Restaurants wanting to participate in the program can also contact the city through that website and phone number.

Starting Tuesday, the city will allow people working in businesses deemed essential by the Safer at Home orders to apply for a COVID-19 test, even if they are not showing symptoms.

Garcetti said at the city and county’s testing sites there has been an 8% positive COVID-19 rate and a 15% overall positive rate, which includes tests conducted by the county’s health lab, tests conducted at hospitals and others.

People can sign up for a test at coronavirus.lacity.org/testing.

Earlier Monday, Garcetti spoke on KPCC’s “AirTalk” and said it could be two to six weeks before Los Angeles can reopen businesses and public spaces.

“I do see the curve has been flattened,” Garcetti said during his evening coronavirus update. “We will see steps moving forward. That could be in public spaces. That could be in places where people work, most importantly.”

Garcetti said his determination will be based on greatest needs for reopening the city as well as the risks associated with opening certain businesses or places. The city’s Safer at Home orders expire May 15, but Garcetti said everything will not be opened at once.

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