Supes to discuss COVID-19 business-compliance fines, vaccine efforts

Los Angeles County Seal.

A little over a year after the COVID-19 emergency was declared in Los Angeles County, the county Board of Supervisors is set to continue discussing ways to assist the county in recovering, during Tuesday’s regular meeting. 

One motion would revisit the public health officer order’s enforcement protocols, as residents look to rebuild businesses and return to work. 

In July, the board allowed Public Health to incorporate fines into violations to ensure greater levels of compliance. 

“This was a reasonable measure earlier in the pandemic when many businesses were blatantly violating the health officer order, and there was a need for stricter enforcement to deter these activities,” stated the motion, co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, and Supervisor Janice Hahn, of the 4th District. 

The current enforcement protocol includes a $500 fine on the first visit if a business is found in violation of the order, with another $500 fine on the second visit if violations were not corrected, as well as a 7-day permit suspension. 

“An enforcement protocol that too quickly escalates to temporarily shutting down a business may unnecessarily compromise people’s jobs and livelihoods,” the motion continued. “As various business sectors are reopening for the first time in many months and protocols are often updated with state and local safety measures, it is unreasonable to issue a fine at the first finding of non-compliance to businesses that are working quickly to gain compliance.”   

The motion comes as L.A. County is expected to soon be given the green light to reopen more sectors via the state’s metrics, as COVID-19 figures have continued their steady decline.  

The motion would therefore remove the fines, instead focusing on educating businesses of violations and the importance of compliance with such protocols, as well as having permit suspension occur no sooner than the third visit.  

Another motion is set to detail plans for the county to adhere to the state’s requirement that 40% of COVID-19 vaccine doses are allocated to underserved communities, which Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.  

The plan would also augment the state’s Healthy Places Index data source for proper distribution, which the motion stated does not adequately report the county’s underserved population, with plans to utilize more accurate and equitable metrics.  

A third motion would also work to expand vaccine access by assessing the need for extending clinic hours, while developing a strategy to increase effectiveness and efficiency at county-run sites.  

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