(USA Features) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed Tuesday that city officials would shut off electricity and water to businesses deemed non-essential and ordered to close over pandemic if they remained open.
The Garcetti administration issued an order requiring people in the city to stay home unless they are engaged in essential activities like shopping for food or seeking medical assistance, caring for children or helping the elderly.
In addition, the order requires some businesses to close but some in the city of 4 million have remained open, Garcetti said during a press conference.
“You know who you are. You need to stop it. If you don’t, we will shut you down,” he said, calling business owners defying the order “irresponsible and selfish.”
The mayor added that the city’s prosecutors will examine complaints filed against businesses that continue to remain open despite not fitting the definition of essential.
He also announced a program called the “Safer at Home” Business Ambassadors program, which will see city workers and volunteers with the Mayor’s Crisis Response Team responding to businesses “with the emergency order with a goal of securing voluntary compliance,” according to the mayor’s office.
“These are folks that can get even greater adherence without the threat of the law,” Garcetti said. “The easiest way to avoid a visit by the city is to follow the rules.”
Referrals to the L.A. prosecuting attorney’s office regarding businesses that remain open but are required to close could result in misdemeanor charges.
“Believe me when I say nobody wants to be punitive at a time like this,” Garcetti said. “My ideal is 100 percent self-compliance, and we all hope for the same thing—we want fewer people to get sick and die, we want this crisis to end as soon as possible, and we want to be able to take care of the people that we love most dearly.”
“We can achieve those goals but only if we all do our part,” he added.