Los Angeles to cut water and power supply to party houses amid surge in coronavirus

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

LOS ANGELES, California — The mayor of Los Angeles has said that he is authorizing the city to shut off water and power to properties where large parties and gatherings are held in violation of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that, starting Friday, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will cut off water and power service in "egregious" cases where unpermitted large parties and gatherings take place. The announcement came hours after City Councilman David Ryu introduced a motion to hike penalties for property owners who organize large house parties, violating public health orders.

In the motion introduced on Wednesday, Ryu said property owners who skirt building and safety rules or city laws, such as the Los Angeles party house ordinance, are violating coronavirus preventive measures and the city's party house ordinance, which became law in 2018.

California is the worst-affected US state with over 532,000 coronavirus cases.

State authorities have also reported 9,872 deaths resulting from coronavirus, according to a BBC report.

Los Angeles county continues to report the highest number of infections in the state — 197,912 as of Wednesday.

Last month California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an immediate halt to indoor activities at restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

But Los Angeles authorities have reported a string of house parties thrown during the pandemic. Earlier this week, a woman was fatally shot at a party in the city's Beverly Crest neighborhood, where around 200 people had attended.

Mayor Garcetti told reporters that parties are often taking place at homes that are vacant or used for short-term rentals.

"The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond these parties," he said. "They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread."

The US continues to grapple with the world's biggest coronavirus outbreak, with over 4.8 million cases and at least 158,268 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. — Agencies