Public Health receives more than 90 complaints about businesses defying safety measures

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health orders the closure of the Valencia Location of Crazy Otto's Diner. May 18, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Under stricter lockdown restrictions, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health through last month received more than 90 complaints of businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley suspected of being in violation of its health officer order, according to officials. 

Of 93 total complaints, the county said it had investigated 74 as of May 4, of which 56 were not in violation, 17 required a reinspection and one led to a permit suspension, according to Public Health Media, the department’s communications division, via an email.  

Complaints were attributed to different types of businesses. Smoke and vape shops accounted for 21 of the complaints, 12 for barbershops, seven for car washes and four for illegal food vendors, according to Public Health on May 28. 

The county also received eight complaints of employees not wearing masks. Complaints were also sent about businesses that did not require customers to wear face masks. 

These kinds of complaints are handled by Public Health rather than the city of Santa Clarita, according to city Communications Manager Carrie Lujan. 

“The city of Santa Clarita does not have its own Department of Public Health, so we fall under the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as far as the orders to wear masks for essential workers and their patrons. They are also the organization who handles regulating these orders,” she said. 

The county had also received 10 complaints of restaurants or bars open for onsite dining. In mid-May, Public Health closed Valencia Crazy Otto’s for seven days for allowing dine-in service despite stay-at-home restrictions at the time. Dine-in customers were allowed simply out of fear of losing the business, owner Jonathan Carrillo said in a previous interview. 

Nine complaints were also filed against essential businesses that are non-food-related for failing to follow social distancing guidelines. 

The complaints come as the county surveyed about 400 businesses in mid-May and found that 162 had not followed all the safety rules in the health order, according to officials. 

Now in June, several of the safer at home restrictions, such as indoor shopping and dining, have been lifted but businesses and customers are still required to comply with safety measures such as wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing. 

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