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Factory With 'Heartbreaking' Virus Count Is Shut Down

Los Angeles Apparel is closed until it complies with public health mandates
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2020 10:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Los Angeles clothing factory with four coronavirus deaths and 300 confirmed cases has been shut down, CNN reports. County health officials said Friday the Los Angeles Apparel facility had violated mandatory health orders and refused to let health inspectors inside. "The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic," said Barbara Ferrer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment." Seems it all began June 19 when a healthcare provider tipped off county officials about an outbreak at the factory. Officials say they asked the company for a list of its employees, and didn't get one.

Health inspectors then showed up June 26 and found several protocol violations, including a lack of physical distancing and the placement of cardboard barriers between employees, the county said. That prompted Los Angeles Apparel—a company started by Dov Charney, founder of the now-bankrupt American Apparel—to provide a partial employee list that health officials compared with lab results to tally 300 cases. Charney disputes the county's accusations, calling them "political," but admits to mixing new workers with those who might be infected. Marissa Nuncio, head of the Garment Worker Center, calls the four deaths "heartbreaking" and urges workers to notify the Department of Public Health about unsafe working conditions at 888-700-9995, KTLA reports. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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