CALIFORNIA— The City of Los Angeles is penalizing businesses that hang “We’re Open” vinyl signs letting customers know they are open amid the pandemic.

The Department of Building and Safety requires businesses to apply for a permit to display signs and banners. The businesses must pay $356 fine in the next 30 days, or it will increase to $1,176.

Owner of Crave Cafe in Studio City, AJ Shalob, received a letter from The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety that fined his business $356 for a “We’re Open” sign.

Shalob told LA Times, “It’s been tough to keep Crave open during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shalob continued, “The restaurant has had to lay off more than a dozen workers as customers stay home. Ever-changing health orders have added more challenges. Restrictions on inside dining have been particularly hard because the restaurant doesn’t have a large outside seating area.”

During an evening media briefing on Friday July 24, Garcetti said the fine was issued after Building and Safety received a complaint about the banner, which was hung without a permit in violation of the city’s rules.

Mayor Garcetti is “temporarily waving the requirement for businesses to obtain a permit for these types of fines. Additionally, the city will rescind any fines that have been issued.”

Other businesses such as 24 Hot Chicken & Waffle Bar, Fantastic Sams salon, Chop Stop salad shop, and Trader Joe’s also received similar fines.