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Garcetti To Non-Complying Businesses: 'We Will Shut You Down'

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With the city receiving daily reports of non-essential businesses continuing to operate despite orders to remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says he will step up enforcement action.

The mayor's "Safer at Home" order requires non-essential businesses such as grooming services, bars and nightclubs that don't serve food, and the like to close until further notice. Only critical businesses supporting infrastructure and public health and safety, such as hospitals and medical facilities, health care workers and emergency responders, internet and telecommunications companies, grocery stores and restaurants (but takeout and delivery only) and the like can remain open. (Here's more information on what kinds of businesses are deemed "essential.")

"This behavior is irresponsible and selfish," Garcetti said, speaking via remote live stream for his daily briefing on the pandemic. "It may serve a few people for a moment, but it will put all of us at risk for a long time."

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Garcetti said enforcement actions will start with verbal warnings and requests for voluntary compliance. If a business still fails to cooperate, the city will shut off the business's water and power:

"You know who you are, you need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and to shut it down, because if you don't, we will shut you down."

Garcetti said assured residents that the city will not take the same approach — shutting off water and power — for residences.

Here's how the mayor described the escalating measures, according to Garcetti:

  • The city is asking businesses to comply and encouraging local residents to call 311 to report non-essential businesses that are refusing.
  • The city is launching a "Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program" with city workers and volunteers from the mayor's Crisis Response Team. Together with LAPD officers, these team members will visit non-essential businesses that are refusing to comply for the purpose of "obtaining voluntary compliance." This team will share information on repeat offenders with the LAPD, which could ultimately result in citations.
  • Neighborhood prosecutors with the City Attorney's office, who help enforce public health and safety measures and cover every police station in the city, will also being contacting businesses to warn them of violations before escalating to stronger enforcement.
  • Repeat offenders can ultimately face misdemeanor charges, and the city will, if it needs to, shut off a business's water and power.

Joining other cities and county agencies that have shut down public trails and beach parking, Garcetti also said L.A. and Santa Monica are closing the Santa Monica stairs, a popular spot for workouts.
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