Observations on a plagued Hollywood Boulevard

Observations on a plagued Hollywood Boulevard
Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

Street performers are struggling – 2:13 p.m.

Javie Rubio, a Mickey Mouse street performer, was spotted at 2:13 p.m. Wednesday, looking for customers on an empty stretch of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California. Angelenos would recognize this occurrence as reflective of our new world.

Usually, the Walk of Fame (on Hollywood Boulevard) is New York City-level crowded. That crowd attracts hustlers like Rubio, since the expectation is that more than 10 million people will visit the historic Walk of Fame during an average year. However, we all know that 2020 has been anything but ordinary. Thanks, COVID-19.

Rubio was interviewed this August by the Los Angeles Times. He confided to their readers that during this month last year, he would have made 10 times what his daily earnings are now.

“The only thing we’re trying to do now is to survive," Rubio said about his family’s situation.

Hollywood tour buses are still in motion – 3:39 p.m.

Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

An indication that out-of-state visitors are still visiting the boulevard is that Hollywood tour buses still have some customers.

And while, yes, it’s easy to pass judgment on the passengers in the Hollywood Value Tours vehicle pictured, it’s also worth trying to dig deeper into the bigger picture first.

The owner of Hollywood Value Tours, Mohammed Jewel, explained to the Los Angeles Times that their tours only occur twice a day now. According to Jewel, that’s a stark difference from the 20 tours per day that Hollywood Value Tours would otherwise expect to conduct on a ‘normal’ summer day.

Jewel has had to cope with cutting most of his staff. The impact from those of us who try to be “good” by not going on potentially risky pleasure excursions during this pandemic unfortunately has the “bad” side effect of other people losing their jobs in a dwindling economy.

Social distancing guidelines are largely ignored – 3:59 p.m.

Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

Four unmasked women were observed walking on Hollywood Boulevard in an area near the Hollywood & Highland shopping center. They walked down the iconic star-adorned stretch until being halted by the stop of a red hand. When the digital walking man later prompted the women’s resumed motion, they entered into a gaggle of pedestrians – some were masked, some were not.

That scene goes against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CDC recommends that folks practice social distancing by staying at least six feet apart and wearing masks in public. These guidelines exist to protect us from spreading the novel coronavirus – the cause of COVID-19.

The lack of social distancing on Hollywood Boulevard is of particular concern because, the day after this scene, the LA County Department of Public Health reported the milestone of 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in LA County since the start of this pandemic.

Keeping masks on 24/7 isn’t practical – 4:03 p.m.

Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

Outside of Souvenirs of Hollywood, a young girl posing with peers and, of course, an Elvis statue hurried to take off her mask so as not to delay photo-taking adults.

Like life, Hollywood Boulevard presents many opportunities to forgo caution in favor of taking full advantage of a moment. It’s only human to indulge. However, the typical desires and discomforts that inevitably lead to imperfect following of public health guidelines must be acknowledged as the world reopens.

Some expectations for the reopening of schools, for example, maybe don’t fully account for human restlessness. Peter Hotez, the dean of National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine commented on just this.

“The social-distancing expectations and mask requirements for the lower grades are unrealistic,” Hotez said. “In communities with high transmission, it’s inevitable that COVID-19 will enter the schools. Within two weeks of opening schools in communities with high virus transmission, teachers will become ill. All it will take is for a single teacher to become hospitalized with COVID-19 and everything will shut down.”

Remembrance is important – 4:04 p.m.

Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

Aside from all of the masks, Hollywood Boulevard looks different right now because of artistic efforts to honor the legacy of John Lewis and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Source: The Millennial Source/ Angela Guglielmino

Lewis, who passed away in July, is drawn in the above picture. Lewis has been described as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced."

Hollywood Boulevard is where the public remembers some of the movers and shakers of the world, so it’s only fitting that those advocating for social justice should also have representation there alongside the many famous entertainment figures already commemorated with stars.

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