Los Angeles to cut off water and electricity to prevent wild 'super-spreader' mansion parties

Nick Allen
·3-min read
sign - RB/Bauer-Griffin
sign - RB/Bauer-Griffin

Residents of Los Angeles face having their water and electricity shut off if they hold large parties in violation of coronavirus restrictions.

Eric Garcetti, the city's Democrat mayor, announced the stringent new measure following a series of wild parties, some of them at mansions in the Hollywood Hills.

He said the gatherings were "super-spreader events" and the guests were "super-spreader people".

The mayor said: "These large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills. The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties.

"They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread.”

Under the measures, which comes into force on Friday night, if police establish that parties are repeatedly being held at a property the city's Department of Water and Power will shut off services within 48 hours.

Nightclubs and bars in the city are closed and large gatherings banned.

Sheila Irani of the Hollywood United Neighbourhood Council, said: "Since Covid they've moved all the parties to the [Hollywood] hills. The kids are going stir crazy."

Some party hosts and party-goers have posted images of themselves on social media flouting restrictions.

A mansion party on Monday night on Mulholland Drive ended in gunfire.

One 35-year-old woman died and, when they arrived at 1.15am, police found several people injured in the drive.

About 200 people were at the party and residents reported seeing guests arriving on buses, along with luxury cars outside.

Helicopter footage showed guests without masks crammed around a swimming pool and on balconies.

Lieutenant Chris Ramirez, of the Los Angeles Police Department, said: "When officers arrived they noticed large amounts of people on the roadway and vehicles kind of blocking, double parked and stuff, stacked on the roadway."

He said officers had gone to the property earlier in the evening following calls from neighbours, but there had been little they could do.

"It was a private party, it was indoors," he said. "The main thing is how do you enforce the fact that it was a private party? If it’s a public gathering, it might be different."

Police said they were treating the incident at the Mulholland Drive party as a gang-related shooting.

Mr Garcetti said many of the parties were being held at mansions that had been rented on a short-term basis.

He said the new order allowing for cutting off water and electricity was intended to stop people who had already hosted several parties during the pandemic from doing so again.

California has so far recorded over 530,000 cases of coronavirus, and nearly 10,000 deaths.

Nearly 40 per cent of the cases have been in or near  Los Angeles.

Mr Garcetti said: "This enforcement is not focused on small and ordinary gatherings in people's homes. "These are focused on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us."