The Beverly Hills City Council, with a 4-1 majority, voted to repeal the moratorium on elective and cosmetic surgeries, allowing plastic surgeons to reopen their doors immediately.
The moratorium on surgeries was made March 16 to curb the spread of coronavirus in the city.
Council member John Mirisch, was the lone vote against the repeal.
"It's bad policy and it's irresponsible. The motion was made to just basically rescind the protections we've taken more than a month ago and open up those floodgates. Not only does it send the wrong message, it's just the wrong thing to do at this time I think," said Mirisch.
Mirisch said he believes there should have been distinctions made in the ordinance.
"I was absolutely supportive of angioplasty, tumor removal, heart valve replacement, those sort of medically necessary procedures. What I do have a problem with is allowing purely elective cosmetic surgery so rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, Botox, that sort of thing. I don't think people need Botox now. I think that can wait. I don't think people need liposuction. I don't think people need face jobs especially when you're supposed to be covering your face," said Mirisch.
Mirisch points to LA County coronavirus cases as a reason to not allow cosmetic surgeries. "We're not doing well in the county when it comes to our infection rate. We're [Beverly Hills] actually the fourth most infectious city in all of LA County and so you can argue maybe it's because it's an older population but that's all the more reason to take precautions I would suggest," said Mirisch.
Mirisch said safety protocols need to be mandated for medical practices and is planning to add the topic of safety measures to the Council agenda for next week.
"We didn't take any specific measures to ensure that surgery centers and medical buildings that will be seeing increased traffic now have higher standards of hygiene, or cleaning or other safety measures," said Mirisch.
However, Dr. Arash Moradzadeh is already implementing safety measures at his office. "Things are never gonna really be the same at least not until we have a vaccine and eradicate coronavirus. We've taken a lot of measures to make sure safety is at the top, starting with infrared thermometers where we scan all of our employees as well as every patient before they enter our office. We do telephone pre-screening beforehand asking them key questions," said Moradzadeh.
Moradzadeh will also not allow patients to wait in the waiting room. He ordered an abundance of PPE, and is recommending patients quarantine seven days before and after elective surgery, and get COVID-19 testing before the scheduled surgery. "We're not going to take any unnecessary risks. We're going to do what we can to make the transition smooth and safe," he said.
Moradzadeh believes critical medical surgeries are important and should be prioritized, but believes plastic surgery is important too. "I do believe that the essential life-saving surgeries are the key and most important factors and we are going to focus a lot of our attention on that.
While Botox may not be as important we can still conduct that in a very safe manner. People need these procedures because it helps them feel better and feeling better is very important right now when we're taking such a psychological impact of being stuck at home or losing our jobs," said Moradzadeh.
Moradzadeh said it will not be "business as usual" when he reopens. He will be offering limited appointments. "There's not going to be that many appointments available. We're spreading things out very, very wide because we have a sanitation protocol that is taking place," said Moradzadeh.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced a plan to resume surgeries but said plastic surgeries were not included.
Mirisch believes Newsom could eventually overturn the Beverly Hills ordinance. "It's very possible we're going to get an executive order where it's not just a recommendation or a guideline but the Governor forbids that and in that case, we're gonna have to adhere to what the state actually says," said Mirisch.
Mirisch is calling for more testing before determining how to properly reopen.