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Nonessential businesses in Burbank have mostly complied with county order to stay closed

Burbank officials are working to make sure nonessential businesses in the city abide by Los Angeles County's Safer at Home order and remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

While Los Angeles County’s Safer at Home order requires nonessential businesses to shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, not everyone has complied with the mandate, including a few places in Burbank.

City officials were mum about the specific number of nonessential businesses in violation of the county order but did say they included several professional offices and retail establishments.

Sgt. Derek Green, a spokesman for the Burbank Police Department, said officers have been sent out to some of these businesses to determine whether they were violating the order or are actually considered essential.

“It’s not necessarily a business open to the public, but it’s a place that might be conducting activities within an office building,” he said.

Closing nonessential stores and limiting contact between people is meant to help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Green added that officers also responded to a report of a church on Glenoaks Boulevard allegedly violating the mandate by offering prayer service.

In addition to grocery stores and pharmacies, businesses that are allowed to stay open under the county order include office-supply companies, hotels and taxi services. Faith-based organizations can still operate as long as worship services are conducted virtually.

Simone McFarland, a Burbank spokeswoman, said the city so far hasn’t needed to take any formal enforcement action, such as issuing a citation, against the alleged violators.

“As we learned who these companies were, we have reached out to them to educate them as to the requirements of the order(s),” she said in an email. “We have been very successful in reaching voluntary compliance.”

McFarland said businesses and individuals who believe they may still be in noncompliance with the Safer at Home order can contact the city’s COVID-19 hotline for guidance by either calling (818) 238-5580 or emailing COVID19@BurbankCA.gov.

Other cities in the state have had to take tougher actions to get nonessential businesses to shut down.

In Los Angeles, 14 businesses — including a car wash, massage parlor and several smoke shops — are facing misdemeanor prosecution after refusing to close, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The criminal charges come after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said earlier this month the Department of Water and Power is authorized to shut off service to any nonessential businesses failing to heed the Safer at Home order.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, at least 18 citations were issued by San Diego police to businesses accused of illegally operating during the pandemic.

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