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Garcetti Orders Eviction Moratorium and More Closures As LA County Shuts Down Offices

The view from the now-shuttered Griffith Observatory. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tonight issued a moratorium on evictions and wide bans on dine-in restaurants and entertainment facilities in the city. The order came just minutes after L.A. County officials announced they were shutting down all offices starting tomorrow.

The city has endured challenges like wildfires and earthquakes before, Garcetti said. But unlike natural disasters, the mayor said that to tackle an infectious disease, “we are all first responders.”

“This isn’t just someone else’s responsibility, but it is the responsibility of each one of us.”

Here are some key points from Garcetti’s order:

  • In addition to preventing residential evictions, he's asking the city attorney "if we can legally prevent commercial evictions” to help businesses.
  • Bars and nightclubs will close. So will movie theaters, arcades, gyms and fitness centers.
  • There’ll be a prohibition on eating-in at restaurants but delivery, takeout and drive-through options are allowed.
  • Groceries, pharmacies and food banks are exempt from closures.
  • The mayor is urging churches and places of worship to close
Garcetti said all measures go into effect at midnight Sunday night.

"I want to stress that I have not taken these steps lightly," he said. “We need to take these steps to protect our city right now."

L.A will also roll out a loan program later this week to assist the city’s 400 hardest-hit small businesses, Garcetti said.

In a whirlwind day of closures, the mayor's sweeping announcement came a few hours after Gov. Newsom released far stricter guidelines for Californians, asking residents 65 and older and others with high health risks to self-isolate, an edict that he said affected 5.3 million residents.

In response, Garcetti said, the city’s Department of Aging is working to expand Meals on Wheels and other delivery programs to help feed people who depend on city-run rec or senior centers for meals.

Both moves came on the same day L.A. County officials said they were closing buildings to the public as a "precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the county made the decision because:
“We need to do all we can to protect the public and our employees in the midst of this expanding public health crisis. Our departments will continue to provide essential services to our residents, but it is prudent to limit public access to our facilities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and urge the public to follow the guidance of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”

Here are some details:
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  • County hospitals and clinics will remain open
  • Essential services from first responders will continue
  • Many departments will continue to operate with modified services to minimize in-person contacts.
  • Los Angeles County libraries and museums are closed