The threat of spreading a potentially deadly disease hasn't been enough to stop house parties in Los Angeles, hence the city's latest strategy: turning off the power. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he would allow water and power services to be shut off to residents who hold large gatherings, though these often occur at vacant homes or short-term rentals. With the closure of bars, "these large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills," Garcetti said, per the Los Angeles Times. Parties are a major reason the COVID-19 case rate has quadrupled among those aged 18 to 29 since June 9, and tripled among those 30 to 49, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, per Deadline. "If people are getting together at parties … it is almost impossible to prevent transmission of this virus."
Beginning Friday evening, police can request that the city shut off utilities to homes that have repeatedly hosted large gatherings, per the Times. Anyone found violating the public health order banning such gatherings may also face a fine, jail time, or both. Ferrer described thousands of complaints each week and said officials were "working hard" at enforcement. But "we will not be able to arrest our way out of the pandemic," she added, putting the onus on partygoers. Some 200 people were gathered at a mansion on Mulholland Drive Monday when police arrived following complaints from neighbors. Officers impounded illegally parked vehicles but did not disperse the group, per the Times. Hours later, officers responded to a gang-related shooting near the property. Three people were injured, one of whom later died. (Read more coronavirus stories.)