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60 businesses charged with violating stay-at-home rules

L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer revealed the latest round of businesses targeted in a crackdown on those that flout the city's Safer at Home order.
(Mike Balsamo / Associated Press)

The owners of 60 businesses across Los Angeles, including car washes, gyms and hair salons, that have been deemed nonessential by the city but still remain open are now facing criminal charges for violating the mayor’s stay-at-home order.

Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer revealed the latest round of the crackdown on businesses flouting Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Safer at Home order by staying open. Dozens of businesses have been identified by Los Angeles police — investigators have turned over evidence against at least 79 identified by the department.

The number of businesses seemingly ignoring Garcetti’s order has risen steadily as the shutdown drags on and many small-business owners struggle to stay afloat. Although Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved of some phased reopening of the local economy, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has said the county’s stay-at-home orders will “with all certainty” be extended for the next three months.

City Atty. Feuer on Tuesday said Garcetti had made it clear that only essential businesses, such as healthcare providers, grocery stores and organizations serving vulnerable populations, could remain open during the COVID-19 emergency. The prosecutor said there was danger, as noted by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in reopening early
and, Feuer said, illegally in these cases.

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“As Dr. Fauci warned this morning, all our hard work to slow the spread of COVID-19 could be squandered if businesses violate the rules and open prematurely,” Feuer said. “Of course all of us want to get back to work and return to our routines, and I’m extremely sympathetic with businesses that are struggling so much right now. But we will get our economy going sooner if all of us have the discipline to follow the rules now.

“So as we begin the task of carefully reopening Los Angeles,” Feuer added, “my office will continue to be vigilant in enforcing the Safer at Home Order, ensuring that nonessential businesses open only after our health experts say it’s safe to do so.”

Each owner of the 60 businesses faces a criminal misdemeanor charge, and the businesses could lose their licenses to operate. Among them is a San Fernando Valley Harley-Davidson dealer, an Egyptian artifacts store and a dozen smoke shops.


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