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Businesses Violating The Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order in California

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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread through the United States, each state is taking an active approach in slowing down the spread of the virus. That means many states have put in “stay-at-home” orders as well as various restrictions upon places of business. In March, the State of California and both the City and the County of Los Angeles issued stay-at-home orders. And California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered that “non-essential” businesses must remain closed for an undetermined period of time. It appears that the stay-at-home orders are going to be extended for another three months. In these uncertain times both citizens and business owners have had many questions about what they’re allowed and not allowed to do. While facing financial hardships, business owners have been forced to weigh their options of having to lay off employees and go out of business, or face criminal penalties by remaining open. If you have been charged with violating a stay-at-home order or have been accused of a business violation, call the Law Offices of William Kroger today at (323) 655-5700 to schedule a free consultation.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20

In order to “bend the curve”, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 ordering all non-essential business and governmental operations to close down, and ordering all California residents to remain at home unless they work for one of the “essential” sectors. Under the Governor’s Executive Order essential businesses would include the following 13 sectors:

  1. Healthcare/Public Health
  2. Emergency Services
  3. Food and Agriculture
  4. Energy
  5. Water and Wastewater
  6. Transportation and Logistics
  7. Communications and Information Technology
  8. Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  9. Critical Manufacturing
  10. Hazardous Materials
  11. Financial Services
  12. Chemical
  13. Defense Industrial Base

The order shut down business such as restaurants (unless for take-out), bars, clubs, hair and nail salons, gyms, and large venues such as malls, entertainment venues and convention centers.

Penalties for Violating Stay-At-Home Order and Social Distancing Order

Violating the Governor’s Order is a misdemeanor under Government Code section 8665 and can result in a fine of up to $1,000, as well as imprisonment for up to six months. Governor Newsom has also suggested that non-essential businesses that violate the order might faec regulatory or licensing enforcement.

In April, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer decided to file criminal charges against 10 businesses that violated the shut down order. The businesses included a massage parlor, car wash and a smoke shop. As of April, there were 79 businesses reported by the Los Angeles Police Department for violating the order. At the moment, the business owners accused are facing misdemeanor charges, which can result in fines and imprisonment.

Meanwhile in San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore announced that local authorities will be cracking down on those breaking the social distancing rules. Anyone who is charged may face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to a $1,000.

Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney

These are difficult times, and business owners have many complicated decisions to make in regards to their operations. There’s been a lot of confusion as to what constitutes an essential business. Many businesses were trying to comply with regulations while keeping their business afloat, and couldn’t get a response back from the governor’s office that would clarify the situation. If you have been charged with violating a stay-at-home order, business order, or social distancing order, you have the right to fight against it. We suggest that you speak to an experienced attorney right away. Call the Law Offices of William Kroger today at (323) 655-5700 to schedule a free consultation.

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