LA County aims to put teeth in enforcement of coronavirus orders – Daily News

on Jul8
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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 7, moved toward putting teeth into enforcing the county’s public health orders amid growing concern that lax enforcement is fueling the spread of the coronavirus.

The board approved a motion by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl that could lead to fines on businesses upon a public health inspectors’s first finding of “non-compliance” of a health order.

The Board also sought a plan that would establish a fine amount, based on the occupancy of the facility and other factors, and it would look for protocol for a business that is fined that could lead to revoking a business permit.

“If we hope to slow the rapid increase in new cases while still allowing businesses to reopen, we must ensure that businesses are following the Health Officer Orders and guidelines,” according to the motion.

On Tuesday, a record of high of 4,015 new cases were conformed, along with 46 new deaths — numbers that back up data that shows increasing hospitalizations rates and rates of transmission, weeks after the county began in earnest to reopen an economy that had been shuttered by stay-home orders.

On the weekend of June 27 and 28, public health inspectors found that 49% of bars and 33% of restaurants were not adhering to physical distancing protocols indoors, according to the motion by Hahn and Kuehl. And more than 50% bars and 44% of restaurants were not enforcing a requirement that their workers wear face masks. More than 65% of retail stores and 83% of restaurants failed to post Public Health protocols, as required by local law.

Supervisors said that a in typical scenario now, an inspector might show up at a business out of sync with health regulations between three and five times before actually shutting it down.

The inspector would advise the business on the first visit — and might issue a violation order on the second or third visit. It might take until the fourth or fifth visit for the business to be temporarily shut down.

“At no point in the process is a fine currently issued in connection with a violation order or at any other time, even though DPH has code enforcement authority to issue fines for non-compliance,” the motion reads.

The board’s action on Tuesday also sought help from other departments in imposing the fines. Public Health, in conjunction with the County Counsel, will come up with a plan and return to the board within 14 days.

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