Authorities are trying to crack down on parties that have moved from clubs to short-term rentals in the Hollywood Hills amid the the city’s stay-at-home orders, the Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday.
“Since the stay-at-home order has closed down the Hollywood nightlife, we have seen that that nightlife has kind of moved up into the hills and people are renting short-term rental properties, and then promoting parties there as if there were clubs,” LAPD Capt. Steven Lurie told KTLA.
The captain said that though local police can’t enforce social distancing or mask wearing at the private parties, there could be fines and jail time for disturbances, and homeowners could have their listings pulled from short-term rental sites.
And with the coronavirus still spreading through L.A. County, which is the epicenter of the pandemic in California with 49,774 known infections, Lurie said these parties are “irresponsible.”
“These are places where people are close together, they’re generally not wearing masks and they’re potentially spreading the virus,” Lurie said.
Last week, a party that drew more than 100 people to a short-term rental on 1410 Miller Drive ended when a man accidentally shot himself in the groin while he was showing his firearm to a friend, according to Lurie.
Police were already at the scene responding to calls about the disturbance when the gunfire rang out, drawing an even larger response.
Officers found three guns and broke up the party. Lurie said there may be criminal charges filed in the case.
“If police are called to the location of a party, there will be consequences,” city attorney prosecutor Ethan Weaver said in a video. “The consequences can range from a citation up to criminal prosecution and six months in jail. Those consequences don’t just apply to the person throwing the party… If your house has been cited for a party violation in the past, you as a property owner, can be held responsible even if you are not present.”
On Thursday, a small group gathered outside the home to protest parties at short-term rentals and call for local officials to take action.
They held signs reading “No Party Houses in a Pandemic” and “Enforce the Law.”
Last week’s party on Miller Drive wasn’t the only one to trigger loud noise complaints from neighbors.
There was a 30% increase in loud party calls this Memorial Day, compared to last year, according to Lurie.
In L.A. County, even as more spaces reopen, gatherings of any size are still not allowed, according to the county’s public health department.
Bars and nightclubs are still closed, as are gyms, theaters, stadiums, theme parks, piers, beauty parlors and barbershops, playgrounds, museums and community centers.
Earlier this week, the county’s public health director urged residents to adhere to public safety orders, saying a spike in infections is possible as more people leave their homes.
“There is a lot at stake as we reopen,” Barbara Ferrer said. “More people being around one another can result in more transmission of COVID-19— just more cases and likely more hospitalizations and deaths. This is why it couldn’t be more important for us to take care of each other when we’re out of our homes.”