Los Angeles County is enacting a temporary moratorium on commercial and residential evictions to protect residents and business owners alike from the fallout of the coronavirus crisis as 50 new cases of COVID-19 were announced.
The measure comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced homeowner and renter protections statewide.
The county moratorium will be in effect retroactively from March 4 through May 31.
Tenants will have six months after the emergency declaration to pay the property owner for any back rent owed, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis explained.
The measure also includes stopping utility shut offs, due to lack of payment, and late fees.
In addition, the county is calling on retailers to enact measures to prevent hoarding and panic-buying of essential goods.
"Today, L.A. County is standing together, but six feet apart," Solis said in detailing the proclamation.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger recognized that the call by local officials to close businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic has affected thousands of people, and the county is working with authorities on the state and federal level so small businesses don't "fall through the cracks."
Additional information about resources available to business owners is available on the county's website.
Also announced Tuesday, U.S. Small Business Administration will offer low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses in California that are struggling as a result of the coronavirus.
“The devastating economic impact of COVID-19 is palpable,” Kevin McGowan, director of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, said in a news release Tuesday. There is a great need for economic support during the coronavirus disaster, and SBA federal disaster loans are an excellent resource for small business owners.”
The total number of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County is now up to 144. Most of the new cases of coronavirus in the county are currently being investigated, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. She added that the county has seen a dramatic increase in the ability to do lab testing.
“We anticipated that we would see new cases, and we will see new cases as we increase our capacity to test,” she said.
Ferrer said that while there are more cases of coronavirus in the county, that does not mean social distancing efforts are not working. She encouraged people to stay home if they can.
During a daily briefing on Los Angeles’ response to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Eric Garcetti reiterated Ferrer’s comments on local cases, and said that 96 percent of private tests for COVID-19 are coming back negative.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Tuesday morning show there are 4,226 diagnosed cases in the U.S., with 75 deaths. L.A. County has reported one fatality.