As the number of COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County continue to grow, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has created a tiered plan to cite and fine businesses that violate orders intended to reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Beginning at the end of August, fines will be issued to businesses that are non-compliant that can range from $100 for the first offense to $500 and a 30day permit suspension for multiple offenses, the Health Department announced today. This includes businesses licensed and permitted by the department and those that are not.
Since March, Public Health received a total of 17,808 complaints and investigated more than 17,000 restaurants, more than 3,500 grocery stores, more than 600 pools, and more than 3,000 other businesses. Twenty-six restaurants, one grocery store, one pool and 67 other businesses were shut down for violations. Most of the businesses under investigation either came into compliance or were working to come into compliance and that’s why they were not closed.
Some of those were in West Hollywood, where the Health Department received complaints in March, April, May, and June about businesses that weren’t following public health guidelines.
For example, on May 6 the Health Department responded to a complaint that Z Pizza at 8869 Santa Monica Blvd. had not posted a public sign warning people with COVID-19 symptoms not to enter, had not provided hand sanitizer near the entrance, hadn’t made restrooms open to customers, and hadn’t provided marketing on the floor to ensure social distancing. It was one of many restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops in WeHo that were inspected for similar complaints.
Dan Tana’s, the famous celebrity restaurant at 9071 Santa Monica Blvd., was investigated on June 26 in response to complaints that it wasn’t limiting the number of guests who could come into the restaurant at the same time and wasn’t enforcing social distancing protocols among employees.
Rosaline, the restaurant at 8479 Melrose Ave. known for its Peruvian food, was reported for not requiring employees to wear face coverings and not providing gloves and other personal protective equipment.
Those businesses all quickly complied with Health Department orders and remained open. However, Fountain Liquor & Market at 7950 Fountain Ave. was closed after an inspection on June 11 found there were rodents inside the store. The Health Department also called out Fountain for a missing paper towel dispenser and lack of soap in the restroom in the rear storage area, dirty toilets in both restrooms with yellow and black stains. and a dirty floor with trash, dust and black grease. Fountain was allowed to re-open on June 13 after the owner, Hiltoon Mohammed, addressed those issues.
“I’m pleased that we’re seeing great compliance in some areas and we want to continue to see that,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Health Department’s director. “But we need to plan for the long-term reopening of our economic sectors while ensuring the public health and safety of our residents and our workforce. We want to be reasonable and work with business owners, but we also know that time is of the essence to slow the spread of this virus and protect the health of workers, customers, and their families.”
The Health Department today reported 2,014 newly confirmed COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County and 49 new deaths from illnesses associated with the virus. That brings the total number of infections to date to 166,848 and the number of deaths to 4,262.
The Health Department reports that 400 West Hollywood residents as of today have been confirmed to be infected with the virus, an increase of one from yesterday’s count. Five residents are reported to have died of COVID-19 related illnesses. There are 523 people confirmed to have been infected in Beverly Hills, an increase of six from yesterday. So far eight Beverly Hills residents have died of COVID-19. In Culver City, the infection count is 301, an increase of two from yesterday. Twenty-seven people have died of COVID-19 related illnesses, with 13 of them in a senior care or other health facility. The Hollywood neighborhood as of today has had 757 confirmed infections, up seven from yesterday. Six residents of the Hollywood neighborhood have died so far. And in the Melrose neighborhood there now are 1,255 people confirmed to be infected, an increase of 10 from yesterday’s count. There are 47 people in the Melrose neighborhood who have died of COVID-19.
As noted before, one way the virus can be transmitted is through a cough, a sneeze or even through air that comes from the mouth when someone talks. For that reason, residents must wear face coverings when out in public and can be cited for not doing so. The citations come with a $250 fine and a $50 administrative fee.
West Hollywood residents with questions about the COVID-19 pandemic or who are looking for resources to deal with it can find answers on the City of West Hollywood’s website. Here is a list of links to sections about particular subjects and issues: