In a bid to help the struggling and shuttered bars and restaurants, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an order allowing them to deliver alcoholic beverages in the city of Los Angeles. Among other emergency orders he signed Monday related to the coronavirus outbreak was a temporary suspension of evictions through Ellis Act proceedings, which allow landlords to sell their buildings and exit the rental market if they want.
Both orders are a reflection of the economic hardships residents and businesses are enduring and the unusual measures authorities are taking to offset them.
“This step is necessary to keep tenants in their homes as we’re asking them to stay home, and if you cannot pay rent, you cannot be evicted,” Garcetti said, adding that not every landowner is part of a large corporation. “The money you owe won’t disappear. You’ll have six months to pay it back … and everyone is struggling.”
In turn, many landlords who refrain from evicting their renters may be allowed to fall behind on their mortgage payments. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced plans to grant mortgage forbearance for landlords who suspend evictions.
Garcetti said he also signed addressed the order allowing restaurants and bars to deliver alcoholic beverages, saying he hopes the move will generate more revenue for those small businesses.
Additionally, the mayor also signed an order that “relaxes” parking restrictions for commercial vehicles in industrial zones.
Garcetti hailed the success of a new online portal that opened Monday allowing people to register for testing if they have coronavirus symptoms, are 65 or older or if they have underlying health issues. He said the website, lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs, did not crash and more than 70 people were able to get tested for the virus.
The capacity of the portal could ultimately be as many as 1,000 tests per day, he said.
He also again stressed the need for people to engage in social distancing, chastising those who gathered in large groups over the weekend.
“We know who you are, and this is serious,” Garcetti said. “Stay home and save lives. That’s all of our top priority.”
Garcetti reiterated that the Department of Water and Power will not shut off utility services during the emergency declaration over coronavirus.
Public transportation continues to operate, but starting Monday, all Los Angeles Metro and the city’s DASH bus riders were asked to board and exit through the rear door, unless they need to use the wheelchair ramp, to keep people distanced from bus drivers.
The mayor said he hopes to deploy ambassadors to help people who are being forced to work in non-critical businesses that are still open despite the Safer at Home orders requiring non-essential businesses to close.
“Shut it down or we will shut it down,” Garcetti said. “We spelled out what can be done and what can’t be done.”