Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that homes hosting parties in violation of coronavirus social distancing restrictions will have their utilities shut off.
The mayor said he has authorized the city’s Department of Water and Power to cut utilities to residences within 48 hours after the LAPD verifies they are hosting parties. The decision, which takes effect on Friday, will target “egregious cases” where houses are hosting “un-permitted large gatherings,” Garcetti said.
“While we hope that you will avoid gatherings of all sizes, this enforcement is not focused on small and ordinary gatherings in people’s homes,” the mayor added. “These are focused on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.”
In response to a question about whether it is constitutional to shut off power and water going to private property, Garcetti responded, “You’re breaking the law.”
“This is life and death,” he said.
Los Angeles County’s health department afterwards issued an order banning “gatherings, including parties, during this pandemic in order to protect the health and lives of county residents.”
Early Tuesday morning, a 35-year-old mother of three was shot and killed and three others injured at a party with about 200 people in a Beverly Hills mansion. The shooting is suspected to be gang-related.
California reimposed social distancing and lockdown requirements last month after cases of the virus spiked, including in Los Angeles and San Diego, the state’s two largest counties. Much of the new surge in virus cases appears to be among younger adults, with those under 50 years old making up 60 percent of new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County.
California added 2,347 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, and 68 more people died from the infection, bringing the state’s death toll past 4,800.