L.A. Mayor Garcetti announces criminal charges against 4 non-essential businesses, reopens 16 farmers markets

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Friday that 16 farmers markets would be open throughout the city over the weekend after he suspended operations pending approval of their social distancing plans.

The mayor also announced that the city attorney has filed criminal charges against four non-essential businesses that have refused to close their doors, including one that he said was a smoke shop. In addition, there are 27 businesses that the city has proceedings against.

Garcetti reflected on the past three weeks during his briefing, noting that it has been 19 days since social distancing measures were instituted and 15 days since the stay-at-home order was announced.

He said Friday was the third day in a row that the city was seeing a smaller percentage increase in coronavirus cases, but that “it’s not a time to relax” because although the rate of growth has slowed, cases are still increasing.

Last week there were 5,000 coronavirus tests conducted in L.A. and this week there were 16,000, the mayor said. The coming week would again see an increase in testing capability, with plans to conduct 3,500 per day, he said.

There were 1,627 available hospitals beds as of Friday, including 286 in ICU, along with 890 ventilators.

The mayor announced that 140 new beds would be available for the homeless population as of Friday night in three new shelters. He announced that the YMCA would make nine facilities available for those who need showers.

The city is also expanding the number of beds for those dealing with domestic violence during the stay-at-home order.

“You do not have to stay at home in a dangerous situation,” he said, adding that people can call or text 911 in the city of L.A. to get help.

The briefing comes after the mayor urged Angelenos Wednesday to wear facials coverings when out doing essential tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention followed suit Friday, encouraging people to use coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.

After announcing the new federal guidelines on masks, President Donald Trump had said he did not have the intention of following the advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.”

“It’s a recommendation, they recommend it,” Trump said. “I just don’t want to wear one myself.”

Los Angeles County officials reported 521 new coronavirus cases and another 11 deaths Friday, bringing the total number of patients to over 4,566 as the death toll climbed to 89 countywide.

The mayor has been holding a remote briefing every weekday and on Sundays at 5:15 p.m., live-streamed on his Facebook page.

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