April 7, 2020

L.A. Moves to Shut Down Non-Essential Businesses, But Construction Continues

Holland & Knight's West Coast Real Estate and Land Use Blog
Douglas A. Praw
Breaking Ground: West Coast Real Estate and Land Use Blog

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that as of April 3, 2020, eight businesses had been referred for criminal prosecution for failing to comply with the city's Safer at Home order that prohibits nonessential work in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"We had a smoke shop that just refused to close," Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times. "And even when police officers were there, they said, 'Forget you' — probably not in as nice words — 'we're not going to do it.' "

"We want to let people know that we are serious about this, that businesses that flagrantly violate this will be shut down short term and prosecuted in the medium term as well," added Garcetti, who said the city was taking steps to shut off the smoke shop's power.

Construction Sites Have Stricter Safety Guidelines

Unlike in San Francisco and New York, construction projects in Los Angeles continue unabated by Garcetti's orders. However, the mayor has promulgated new rules that require construction companies working in the city to create "comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plans." Those plans must incorporate more than a dozen safety guidelines developed by the city's Department of Building and Safety, including control measures such as social distancing, symptom checking, hygiene, decontamination procedures and training. 

The COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Construction Sites calls on employers to provide personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face masks, "as appropriate" for certain jobs; to install hand-washing stations throughout work areas; and to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including shared tools and handrails. Failure to comply with the guidance may result in withheld inspections or shutting down the construction site until the condition is corrected.

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