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California

L.A. threatens to shut off water, power of businesses breaking coronavirus rules

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Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed frustration and outrage that some nonessential businesses remained open despite coronavirus restrictions and vowed Los Angeles would take action against them.

Garcetti said his office was still receiving daily reports of nonessential businesses that continued to operate as normal — behavior he called “irresponsible and selfish.”

He also announced a “Safer at Home” business-ambassadors initiative that aims to bring about greater compliance from businesses that are ignoring the city’s order to close.

Such businesses should also expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power, he said.

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The rule:

  • Requires all Los Angeles businesses that demand in-person attendance to cease operations, with exceptions;
  • Orders Los Angeles residents to remain in their homes, with exceptions;
  • Bans all gatherings outside a home, with exceptions.

On Sunday, Los Angeles and other jurisdictions ordered many beach parking lots, hiking trials, recreation areas and sports fields closed after they were jammed over the weekend.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Tuesday said gun shops were nonessential businesses and if they didn’t close their doors, they would be cited and face the loss of their business licenses.

“Gun shops, strip clubs, nightclubs are nonessential businesses. We are trying to get them to close their doors,” he said. “If they don’t close their doors, they will be cited,” which could mean the loss of a business license.

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On Wednesday morning, however, the sheriff walked back that statement. Villanueva said “efforts to close nonessential businesses have been suspended” and that Gov. Gavin Newsom would “determine what qualifies” as one.


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