Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday that he authorized the Department of Water and Power to cut utilities to a house in Cahuenga Pass that hosted large gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the owners receiving warnings from the city of Los Angeles.
“COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on our city and country, yet the power to stop the spread of this virus and save lives rests in our hands by wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping our distance and avoiding large gatherings,” Garcetti said. “The owner and residents of this home have failed to follow our public health orders and ignored multiple warnings to stop hosting large parties. So today, the city disconnected utilities to this house.”
On Aug. 4, the county Department of Public Health issued a statement in regard to large house parties, which said, “The highest-risk settings are large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least six feet apart and where face coverings are not worn. The consequences of these large parties ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread.”
Garcetti announced the next day that his order prohibiting large gatherings would be amended to allow utility shutoffs at properties hosting large gatherings, parties and events.
The mayor’s office said on Aug. 24 that a house in the Cahuenga Pass area was used to host a large gathering in violation of the order, and while those gatherings were in progress, the Los Angeles Police Department posted warnings on the property that violations of the order are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
The initial warning also provided notice that any future violation of the order could result in a referral to the mayor’s office for consideration of disconnecting utility service.
But on Sunday, the house was again allegedly used to host a large gathering, and Garcetti authorized the DWP to cut the utilities.
“Parties can spread the coronavirus, and any decisions to organize, host, or attend one can mean the difference between life and death,” Garcetti said. “No matter how young you may be, your choices threaten your health. If you’re thinking about joining a party this Labor Day Weekend, cancel those plans.”
It was not immediately clear whether any COVID-19 cases were traced back to the home. More details on the Cahuenga Pass home were not immediately available.
It is at least the second party home where Garcetti has authorized the DWP to cut utilities after “egregious” large gatherings were hosted during the pandemic.
A home in the Hollywood Hills had its utilities cut in August.
Criminal charges were filed Friday against two TikTok stars who hosted two parties at their rented home in the Hollywood Hills, along with the owners of two other houses where large parties have been held during the pandemic, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in announcing the charges against Bryce Hall, 21, and Blake Gray, 19.
Hall and Gray hosted two parties at the home they share on Appian Way within a week, including an Aug. 14 celebration for Hall’s birthday, according to the city attorney.
Penalties for violating the order can range up to a year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines, according to the City Attorney’s Office.