LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is cracking down on large unpermitted gatherings that are occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a press briefing Wednesday afternoon the mayor announced enhanced enforcement to address several large house parties that have recently occurred.
He has authorized the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to shut off services to homes, businesses and venues that host unpermitted large gatherings.
His announcement comes a day after a woman was killed and several others were injured during a shooting at a mansion party in Beverly Crest.
“Starting Friday night if the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at the property and if we see these properties reoffending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request the DWP shut off services within the next 48 hours,” the mayor said.
When asked about the legality of this, Garcetti said that these gatherings are breaking the law. He said this decision is “rooted in strong law” after consultation with city attorneys.
“We know we can do this,” he said.
Garcetti said this enforcement is not focused on small or ordinary gatherings at people’s homes.
“These large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the Hills,” Garcetti stated. “These large parties are unsafe and can cost Angelenos their lives.”
Often times the homes used for large scale parties are vacant or used for short term rentals.
Videos from past house parties show dozens of people gathering in small or enclosed areas and not wearing a face mask.
In Los Angeles, large gatherings with people outside of your immediate household are not permitted at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Los Angeles County's public health director warned again Wednesday that such gatherings are forbidden under coronavirus-prevention orders, and attending them endangers the public at large.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health, said infection rates among residents aged 30 to 49 nearly tripled between June and late July, and rates among those 18-29 quadrupled.
"Gatherings are simply not allowed at this point under the health officer order," Ferrer said. "Because they create a lot of risk for transmission at activities that really are not essential. These parties and gatherings with people not in your household hurt all of us as we try to reduce our case rates so we can get our children back to school and get other adults back to their jobs.”
She said people in the 18-29 age group now represent twice the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the county than they did in April, matching the rate of people aged 80 and over. People aged 30-49 now represent 25% of all hospitalized virus patients.