Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday he hopes laying off city employees, including Los Angeles Police Department personnel, will be a last-resort measure, but the city is prepared to do so amid financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope that (layoffs are) at the very bottom of the list, and our City Administrative Officer (Richard Llewellyn) has asked us … all of our departments to say how will we close this worst-case scenario if there is no help,” Garcetti said.

“The reason why I want layoffs to be the very last thing is it hits our most vulnerable employees and key services.”

The City Council has been mulling ways to reduce potential layoffs or furloughs in the last few months, but that was before the recent spike of COVID-19 cases.

Garcetti said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update Los Angeles is still pleading for federal assistance to help cities recuperate from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Garcetti also announced a program to help food service workers.

A one-time $800 stipend will be provided to 4,000 food service employees living in Los Angeles who can demonstrate economic hardship due to job loss or at least a 50% reduction in income.

Front or back of the house employees at restaurants, food stands, mobile food units and push carts, and breweries, wineries and bars that serve food on the premises are eligible aid under Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees, or SERVE.

Recipients with confirmed eligibility will be selected and chosen from a randomized list. Applications will open on Monday at 9 a.m. and close at midnight Dec. 11.

The program will be funded through the nonprofit, Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, Garcetti said.

Garcetti said a partnership with T-Mobile will provide free internet hotspot devices for five years to students most in need.

“A report over the summer show that 90% of these at-risk young people could not connect in a way that ensures their engagement to their virtual classrooms,” Garcetti said.

“Attendance is down, F’s are way up, but it isn’t just our children that are failing in school. We are failing them.”

Garcetti also said wait times at Los Angeles COVID-19 testing sites have been reduced to 30 minutes at Dodger Stadium, 15 minutes at some of the other more frequented sites and no wait time at the rest.

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