The latest local news highlights to kick off the week of Monday, September 25, 2o23.
Long Beach Launches Innovative Business Insights Tool to Empower Small Businesses
The City of Long Beach has introduced a new Business Insights Tool, a free online resource designed to provide small businesses with access to valuable big data. This tool enables local businesses to analyze their performance, enhance marketing strategies, and gain insights into competitors, suppliers, and untapped markets. This resource is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses at various stages of development. The Business Insights Tool is powered by SizeUp, a technology vendor, and helps businesses answer questions such as where to establish their businesses, how they compare to competitors, ways to attract more customers, and where to advertise effectively. To promote this resource, the city is hosting a workshop on October 3, 2023, encouraging local entrepreneurs and small business owners to participate. The workshop will provide guidance on conducting market research, identifying potential customers and suppliers, and fostering business growth. Additional language interpretation can be arranged with prior notice. To access the Business Insight tool, click the following link: Long Beach Small Business Insights. Learn more here.
Long Beach Implements Speed Limit Reductions for Enhanced Roadway Safety
Long Beach has initiated a phased plan to lower speed limits on 92 miles of city streets, aiming to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. Approximately 50 segments will see new speed limits of 20 mph or lower, while other major corridors, including 7th Street, will experience a 5 mph reduction. The changes were made possible by the passage of California State Assembly Bill 43 in 2021, which granted more authority to local jurisdictions in setting speed limits. The City’s High-Injury Network guided the selection of streets for these reductions, covering both major arterial corridors and residential neighborhood streets. Corridors with new speed limits include Long Beach Boulevard, Cherry Avenue and Orange Avenue in North Long Beach; Easy Avenue, Willow Street and Burnett Avenue in West Long Beach; Carson Street, Stearns Avenue and Atherton Street in East Long Beach; and multiple streets in Central and Downtown Long Beach such as 10th Street, 7th Street, 3rd Street and Pine Avenue. For more information and a detailed map of the changes, residents can visit longbeach.gov/speedlimits. Learn more here.
Government Offers Four Free COVID-19 Tests per Household
Starting Monday, September 25, the federal government will provide up to four free COVID-19 rapid tests per household upon request. This initiative addresses the importance of widespread testing in mitigating the spread of the virus, particularly in light of historical peaks in COVID-19 hospitalizations during January. Many previous pandemic programs offering free testing, treatment, and vaccination ended with the expiration of the emergency designation. However, the Department of Health and Human Services is now investing $600 million in COVID test manufacturing, aiming to strengthen the U.S. supply chain and reduce reliance on overseas producers. This funding will support 12 U.S. manufacturers in producing 200 million tests. Additionally, the government advises against discarding unused tests, even if they have expired, as many expiration dates have been extended. To order testing kits, visit COVID.gov/tests. Learn more here.
Long Beach Shifts COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Uninsured and Underinsured Individuals
The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has revised its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, focusing on those without or with limited insurance coverage. This move aims to cater to the 25 to 30 million U.S. adults who lack health insurance or have insufficient coverage for vaccine costs. City-run vaccination clinics will now exclusively provide free vaccines to individuals aged 12 and older in this category. Vaccines for children 6 months and older will be available starting September 27. The clinics will offer the updated monovalent vaccines, which target current coronavirus strains. The FDA has deauthorized the bivalent vaccine, further emphasizing the importance of the updated shots. The vaccine schedule recommendations have been adjusted to accommodate different age groups and conditions, ensuring broader accessibility. For appointments, individuals can visit MyTurn.ca.gov. Learn more here.
Long Beach Promotes Clean Air Day and Tree Planting Program for a Healthier City
In commemoration of the adoption of the Long Beach Climate Action Plan (LB CAP), the city is hosting California Clean Air Day on Oct. 4 to educate the public about air pollution’s health impacts. The event will also highlight the Tree Planting Program, which will provide free trees to neighborhoods in an effort to improve air quality. The Conservation Corps of Long Beach will plant trees along Harbor Avenue, targeting improved air quality along the I-710 corridor. Residents are encouraged to apply for and schedule tree plantings in their neighborhoods through the program’s website. The Long Beach Climate Action Plan (LB CAP), approved by the City Council in August 2022, addresses both climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation goals to counter climate change’s adverse effects on infrastructure, services, and community well-being. Their goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, emphasizing community involvement for a sustainable and healthier Long Beach. For more information and participation details, visit longbeach.gov/sustainability/. Learn more here.