Long Beach police increase ‘safer at home’ enforcement as COVID-19 cases grow

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A woman enjoys the sunset while wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Long Beach, California on March 29, 2020. - President Donald Trump on March 29, 2020, abandoned his timetable for life returning to normal in the United States, extending emergency coronavirus restrictions for another month, while Spain suffered its deadliest day. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman enjoys the sunset while wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Long Beach, California on March 29, 2020. – President Donald Trump on March 29, 2020, abandoned his timetable for life returning to normal in the United States, extending emergency coronavirus restrictions for another month, while Spain suffered its deadliest day. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Police in Long Beach are increasing enforcement to help make sure residents are following the “safer at home” order in place to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials announced Friday.

The Long Beach Police Department is increasing enforcement methods to help ensure community safety. While most Long Beach residents have been abiding by the “safer at home” health order that went into effect in March, city officials said some people are still not following the rules.

As of Friday, Long Beach had a total of 316 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including nine deaths from the virus, the city’s health department reported. 

“We are continuing to experience some non-compliance related to social distancing in public spaces,” said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. “Although our officers will have the discretion to issue citations, we are asking everyone to do the right thing and voluntarily comply with these orders. Minimizing the spread of the virus is a shared responsibility.”

City officials said because COVID-19 poses a “substantial danger to public health” in Long Beach, police will make every effort to use a “common-sense” approach that stresses education and warnings over enforcement to gain voluntary compliance to the “safer at home” order.

“People are required to remain home except to travel to essential businesses or to engage in essential activities, provided that physical distancing requirements are practiced,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “It’s that simple. If you continue to violate these Health Orders, you are putting the community at risk and you can be cited to gain compliance.”

Any violation of the social distancing order of six feet or more is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no less than $50 and nor more than $1,000, or by imprisonment for a term of not more than 90 days, or by both, according to Long Beach officials.

Any business that violates the order is subject to civil and administrative penalties.

All parks in Long Beach, as well as open spaces, will be closed on Easter Sunday, along with sports facilities and beaches which were closed in March to help stop the growth in coronavirus cases.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Long Beach, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19.

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