The mayor of Los Angeles is threatening to shut off the lights at businesses that refuse to close their doors during the coronavirus outbreak, a threat that a religious liberty attorney calls legal but extreme.
So-called “non-essential” businesses are being threatened with legal action by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who called it “irresponsible and selfish” to remain open while the city grapples with the virus.
The sprawling city of four million residents is following the “Safer at Home” policy which exempts a long list of businesses including bike repair shops and farmers’ markets alongside pharmacies and medical clinics.
But some businesses such as gyms and nightclubs didn’t make the list, and city government is threatening to take legal action against them beginning with a call from a prosecutor.
"The easiest way to avoid a visit is to follow the rules," the mayor warned this week at a press conference.
Brad Dacus of the California-based Pacific Justice Institute, whose law firm routinely battles the state's far-left agenda, tells OneNewsNow he is watching the legal restrictions closely.
"While it is extreme,” he observes, “it is quite possibly or even likely legal under the circumstances under the time being.”
Similar bans have been imposed across the country allowing governors, mayors, and city councils to use little-known laws to impose drastic measures to slow the virus’s spread.
According to The Los Angeles Times, California has 4,052 confirmed cases and 83 deaths as of March 27. Twenty-one deaths occurred in Los Angeles, where 1,230 cases have been confirmed and many more are likely.