LOS ANGELES - Following mass business closures in cities all across the United States including bars, night clubs and dine-in restaurants due to COVID-19, many living paycheck-to-paycheck were left wondering how their rent and other expenses will be payed as their incomes dwindled.
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As of March 16, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state and New York City ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in service. Takeout and delivery will still be allowed.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive order Sunday to close bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms until at least March 31. Restaurants will be closed to the public but Garcetti will allow them to offer takeout and delivery. Grocery stores will remain open.
In response to the closures, Garcetti announced a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to the circumstances related to the pandemic. Garcetti also said he would ask the city attorney to look into whether or not they can “legally prevent commercial evictions for business and restaurants that are affected.”
Garcetti also set up a “COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund,” allowing anyone to donate to those hit hard by the closures. Money from the fund will go to support families, relief for health care workers, health equipment, services for the homeless, and further research into the pandemic.
Miami-Dade Police in Florida announced that their agency would temporarily suspend evictions until further notice following the state of emergency that was declared byMiami Mayor Carlos Gimenez last week.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also signed a moratorium halting residential evictions for non-payment of rent. The order suspends residential evictions related to non-payment or partial payment of rent for 30 days while prohibiting late fees.
“No one should have to worry about losing their home in the middle of a pandemic,” Durkan said. As we take steps to slow the spread of the virus across Seattle’s communities, a part of that response is to ensure that families are not displaced and forced into homelessness.“
Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego announced on Monday, March 16 that the city would halt all financial evictions form city-owned housing during the pandemic.
"This is the responsible thing to do to ensure people have access to shelter and sanitation," said Gallego.
Gallego has also called upon the state of Arizona to follow suit with the city's decision.
On Tuesday, March 17, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an order requiring various city housing authorities to halt evictions.
The order protects Atlanta residents from eviction because of non-payment of rent while eliminating any late fees as a result of non-payment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor also issued an executive order creating an emergency fund of up to $7 million to help assist Atlantans impacted by the coronavirus.
Local governments are not the only ones doing their part to help those affected by the pandemic. The Real Estate Board of New York, which represents owners who operate over 150,000 rental units, announced that it would institute a voluntary 90-day moratorium on evictions.
Sports teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings have created a fund to support hourly employees following the suspension of events at the Staples Center.