SAN FRANCISCO - In the wake of protests around the state and across the nation, California's state Department of Human Resources sent a directive to close all state buildings “with offices in downtown city areas” on Monday, a sweeping mandate that covers everything from Department of Motor Vehicles offices to those that license workers and provide health care.
“After consultation with the California Highway Patrol and Office of Emergency Services, the decision was made this evening to advise all state departments with offices in downtown city areas to close tomorrow, and to notify staff of the decision,” said Amy Palmer, a spokeswoman for the state Government Operations Agency.
The directive was sent Sunday evening and it was left up to officials at individual agencies to determine which buildings should be closed.
A state Department of Justice memo sent to employees said the attorney general’s offices in Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego would be closed, though employees who can work from home should do so.
“Staff assigned to these offices should not report to work for any reason. Staff who are able to telework should continue to do so despite the office closures,” the memo said.
The move comes after armed National Guard soldiers lined the steps of Los Angeles City Hall and cities across California declared curfews Sunday to head off more violence after unruly demonstrators at earlier protests burned police cars, broke into stores and skirmished with officers.
In more than 20 cities, thieves smashed their way into businesses and ran off with as much as they could carry — boxes of sneakers, armloads of clothes and cellphones and TVs.
Nearly 400 people were arrested in Los Angeles from unrest Saturday as protests have become increasingly violent over several nights because of outrage over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, Police Chief Michel Moore said.
In San Diego, a protest took an ominous turn after several hours when police said they fired tear gas to disperse a crowd pelting them with rocks and bottles.
In Sacramento, where no curfew was imposed, nightfall brought more violence and destruction at businesses in the city’s midtown area and near the Capitol after a largely peaceful daytime protest. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at those who ignored orders to leave.