Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Wednesday evening that private homes and businesses that host large parties and gatherings will have their water and power cut off by the city.
“The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties. They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread,” said Garcetti during a press conference, in which he argued that “large house parties have essentially become night clubs in the hills,” according to Fox News Los Angeles.
Garcetti said the policy would apply to the “egregious cases in which houses, businesses, and other venues are hosting unpermitted large gatherings.”
The Democratic mayor’s announcement comes after a flashy Beverly Hills house party, which reportedly attracted at least 200 guests, turned violent when party crashers showed up. One woman was fatally shot, and two others were injured in the incident.
Garcetti briefly alluded to the party later in his remarks while talking about large events and how super-spreaders can have a “disproportionate impact on the lives that we are losing.”
The mayor, talking about the so-called new nightclubs, 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 Angelinos their lives.”
The mayor told reporters that the new policy will go into effect on Friday evening, and suggested that repeat offenders would be the primary target of enforcement: “If the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property — and we see these properties reoffending time and time again — they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that [the Department of Water and Power] shut off service within the next 48 hours.”
“To be clear, 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,” Garcetti added. “These are focused on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.”
According to Fox News Los Angeles reporter Bill Melugin, the mayor said his decision to enforce the new policy was “rooted in strong law.”
“We know we can do this,” said Garcetti, who also mentioned that attorneys for the city were consulted on the decision.
Our anchor @Elex_Michaelson asked Mayor Garcetti about the legality of this. Garcetti responded that these gatherings are breaking the law. He says this decision is “rooted in strong law” after consultation w/ city attorneys. “We know we can do this,” he says. @FOXLA
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) August 6, 2020
Back in March, Garcetti also threatened to cut off the water and power for so-called non-essential businesses that repeatedly refused to close down, despite the coronavirus public health order mandating that they do so.
“They will wind up facing a misdemeanor charge and DWP will step in to shut off their water and power,” said the mayor at the time.