eric garcetti

As the pandemic devastates small businesses and creative freelancers, Los Angeles is hiring designers and artists in a novel bid to help the local economy recover.

Mayor Eric Garcetti last week launched a new program of online tools for small businesses, along with a plan to hire creative professionals to match with owners impacted by the pandemic. Graphic designers, artists and others will be given a $500 city grant in exchange for services to brick-and-mortar businesses that have been harmed by the stay-at-home orders.

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Los Angeles is expected to roll out COVID-19 test kiosks later this month. A similar program in Berkeley may offer a hint of what it will look like.

Curative Inc. the company that administers COVID-19 tests, started a kiosk pilot program in Berkeley that opened last month.

Located in a park in Berkeley, the self-administered testing sites allow individuals to swab their own mouths and place samples in a supervised receptacle. The purple booth with the company's emblem reads "Welcome to your test spot." and "We're glad you are here."

Fred Turner, co-founder of Curative, tweeted out the photos of those kiosk less than a week before Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a similar program on Wednesday.

The kiosks in Los Angeles will process about 500 tests a day and are an alternative to the city's drive-thrus, which can be difficult for residents without cars to get to, Garcetti said.

"We think this will be a great way of getting tests to people that can't necessarily use one of the drive thrus and making testing more of a part of our daily lives as we continue to fight this pandemic," Turner said during a press conference with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The company is also rolling out a mobile unit that's being deployed to hot spots around Los Angeles. Garcetti said the city wants to be able to bring these to people in need.

"We are just getting to the point where it's getting a lot easier to get tested, but it's going to continue to be a pressing need to offer tests and for anybody who wants a test to be able to get tested," Turner said.

Curative has administered 1 million tests in Los Angeles and is averaging about 18,000 a day with an eye toward growing its capacity further.

Watch the full press announcement below:

COVID-19 Response Update from Mayor Garcetti, August 5, 2020



Join me live at a COVID-19 testing site for the latest on testing and more updates on our work to slow the spread of the virus.

At a virtual town hall held Thursday by dot.LA and PledgeLA to identify actions leaders in the L.A. tech and startup community can take now to break down racial barriers to jobs and capital, and to democratize economic opportunity for the region -- there were ultimately a robust number of questions asked and interest expressed around the issue, though tangible actions remain to be seen.

Nearly 30 years after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, protesters across the U.S. gathered this time to march against systemic racism and violence faced by the black community after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Across social media, tech companies in L.A. and beyond have posted and tweeted their support for #blacklivesmatter, muted their feeds, and opened their pocketbooks, while music companies took part in a blackout. Companies have also donated to various diversity, equity and inclusion causes, but it remains an open question as to what impact those efforts will have.

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