Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has authorized the Department of Water and Power to shut off utilities to homes or businesses that host “large” parties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor made the announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 5, amid reports of a rise in house parties that are in violation of public safety orders. Garcetti described such parties as “super-spreader” events, per Los Angeles Daily News.
“These large house parties have essentially become nightclubs for the hills,” Garcetti said during a press conference, Deadline reports. “By turning off that power, shutting off that water, we feel we can close these places down.”
The mayor said this enforcement will primarily focus on the “people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.”
“Starting on Friday night, if LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours,” Garcetti said.
“We will not act lightly, but we will act,” he added. “You’re breaking the law. Just as we can shut down bars breaking alcohol laws, in places that are in criminal violations, we can shut them down … We can actually do the power or water shutoff after a first violation, but we like to educate, not enforce.”
The L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a statement that violating the health officer is “a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both,”
“While we have already closed all nightclubs and bars, these large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the Hills,” Garcetti said. “Many times, the homes are vacant, or used for short term rentals, and beyond the noise, the traffic and nuisance, these large parties are unsafe and can cost Angelenos their lives.”
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