Los Angeles Apparel, the reincarnation of Dov Charney-led American Apparel, has closed its factory after an outbreak of coronavirus infected more than 300 people and killed four.
Public health officials initially shut down operations on June 27 after finding what they described as “flagrant violations of mandatory public health infection control orders.”
The company was allowed to open as essential business since it started making face masks, but failed to cooperate as officials tried to investigate reports of an outbreak, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health told CBS. On July 10, the factory was ordered closed again, weeks after a medical worker reported the outbreak.
“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement.
“Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment that adheres to all of the health officer directives — this responsibility is important, now more than ever, as we continue to fight this deadly virus.”
Charney, who was ousted from American Apparel for perpetuating a culture of sexual harassment, as well as allegedly misusing company funds, told the New York Times that, “I don’t think that press release represents the point of view of the people I am working with at the department of health. Some of them have apologized to me. It’s not truthful.”
He also issued a statement, saying,
“In all fairness, it’s morally irresponsible for the Health Department to speak on the infection rates at our factory without also addressing its connection to the issue at large: that the Latino community in Los Angeles is left vulnerable to Covid-19 in a healthcare system that provides no support with testing and no support or assistance for those that test positive.”
According to the Department of Health, the factory will be closed until “they can show that the facility is in full compliance with Public Health mandates.”