In the middle of a coronavirus, L.A charges four stores that refuse to close

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Los Angeles prosecutors laid criminal charges against two tobacco stores, a shoe store and a discount electronics retailer on Friday, accusing them of refusing to close despite orders to fight the coronavirus.

This is the first time the city has laid charges for violating the “Safer at Home” order, which forces companies deemed non-essential to shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

City Atty. Mike Feuer said on Friday that the four stores were considered non-essential businesses under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s decree.

“The mayor’s order is clear: only essential businesses, such as health care providers, organizations serving vulnerable populations and grocery stores, can remain open during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Feuer. “We are all safer at home. The nonessential businesses that remain open at this time endanger public health and safety, and my office is committed to vigorously enforcing the mayor’s order. “

Garcetti said stores are life-threatening. In a store, the police were told, “” Forget yourself “- probably not in such nice terms -” we are not going to do this, “said the mayor.

“We want people to know that we are serious about this, that companies that blatantly violate this will be shut down in the short term and prosecuted in the medium term as well,” said Garcetti.

Feuer’s office identified the accused companies as Business Discount Electronics, 556 S. Broadway; Hot Box Smoke Shop, 9115 S. Western Ave .; DTLA Smoke Shop, 223 1/2 W. 6th St .; and Brother Shoes, 818 W. Slauson Ave., Unit B. Business calls went unanswered on Friday.

Los Angeles police this week began referring cases to the city’s attorney for companies suspected of violating the emergency order. Feuer said his office is examining 30 other referrals for possible prosecution.

The city turned to prosecution after the district attorney’s program, the tobacco law enforcement program and the Safe Neighborhood and Gang Division, in coordination with the mayor’s ambassador program, n have failed to obtain voluntary compliance from non-core businesses operating during the pandemic. Their collaboration has helped dozens of other businesses recognize their obligation to shut down to protect the health of the community.

City officials, led by Garcetti, have warned since last week that they will prosecute non-essential businesses still open. The mayor said the Ministry of Water and Energy would cut service to the premises of the non-compliant companies.

Most beaches, trails, recreation areas and other points of interest are closed, including the trails at Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon Park in Los Angeles.

Under the Safer at Home order, all non-core businesses are expected to close.

What remains open:

  • Pharmacies
  • Food: grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Banks
  • Service stations
  • Laundromats / laundry services
  • Core functions of local and state governments, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services

What is closed:

  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment places
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Congress centers
  • Restaurants in the restaurant
  • Many parks, beaches, trails, recreation areas
  • All other non-core businesses



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