The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion on July 6 to impose fines on businesses found to be out of compliance with protocols set forth by county health officer orders and the Department of Public Health guidelines.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District, and Janice Hahn, 4th District, calls for imposing a fine the first time businesses are non-compliant and, in the case of repeated offenses, revoking business permits. Tens of thousands of restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms and other businesses in Los Angeles will be covered by the motion.
During the last weekend in June when restaurants were open for in-house dining and bars were open, inspectors with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health found that 49% of bars and 33% of restaurants were not adhering to indoor physical distancing protocols. Workers were not wearing face masks and face shields at 54% of bars and 44% of restaurants. Bars are currently closed under state and county health orders, and dine-in service is currently not allowed in restaurants.
“The recent spike in cases and hospitalizations is very, very serious and jeopardizes our ability to care for people who get sick,” Kuehl said. “This motion says, ‘business owners, please take this seriously. You are part of our community. Act responsibly, and if you won’t, we will take action. The first time we will fine you. The second time, we will shut you down.’”
The board asked officials from the Department of Public Health and County Counsel to report back in 14 days on a plan for fines. According to the motion, a variable fine amount would likely be based on the maximum occupancy of the business, the level of non-compliance and severity of risk to public health.
“We want every business to reopen safely. We had hoped we could rely on voluntary compliance, but it is clear we will need to enforce the health orders,” Hahn said.
For information, visit bos.lacounty.gov.
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