Left-wing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that small business owners who do not adhere to his coronavirus mandate and shut down their “nonessential” businesses could be criminally charged and have their water and power shut off.
“If you don’t (shut down), we will shut you down,” the mayor threatened his constituents.
So-called “nonessential businesses,” which include bars, gyms, gun shops, and hair salons, have been forced to shutter under the mayor’s order, indisputably causing direct economic pain for employers and their employees, at no fault of their own.
While employers likely see their own actions as necessary to stay afloat and pay their employees, Garcetti slammed them as “irresponsible and selfish.”
“We’re still getting reports, each day, of nonessential businesses that continue to operate as normal. This behavior is irresponsible and selfish,” said the mayor. “It may serve a few people for a moment, but it will put all of us at risk for a long time.”
Garcetti’s so-called “Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program” plan will crack down on businesses not adhering to his shutdown mandate.
At his directive, businesses that refuse to shutter should “expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power,” the mayor outlined, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Moreover, Garcetti said employers could also be hit with a misdemeanor charge if they continue to serve the public.
“If a nonessential business is refusing to comply with the order, city workers and volunteers from my crisis response team will join the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) in obtaining voluntary compliance with our directive,” he said.
“We are ready to deploy these folks, identify businesses that are not doing what they are supposed to, issue initial warnings, and if necessary, share information on occurring noncompliant establishments with LAPD for further enforcement that may result in a referral to the city attorney’s office or citation actions,” he added.
The mayor encouraged L.A. residents to refer businesses that do not comply with his mandate to authorities. “They will wind up facing a misdemeanor charge and DWP will step in to shut off their water and power.”
“You know who you are, you need to stop it,” Garcetti threatened noncompliant business owners. “This is your chance to step up and to shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut it down.”
Reiterating his plan on social media, Garcetti posted: “Let me be clear: it is unacceptable for non-essential businesses to continue their operations as normal,” he wrote. “I announced the Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program to help ensure businesses comply with our emergency order to keep our communities safe.”
Let me be clear: it is unacceptable for non-essential businesses to continue their operations as normal.
I announced the Safer at Home Business Ambassadors Program to help ensure businesses comply with our emergency order to keep our communities safe. https://t.co/7eMFdg1PSa
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) March 25, 2020
Currently, Los Angeles county has 662 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and a total of 11 deaths.
In New York, where there has been more testing than anywhere else in the country, there is a total of 26,348 confirmed cases, and 271 fatalities.
Related: Stanford Professors: Coronavirus Death Rate Estimate Likely ‘Orders Of Magnitude Too High’