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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Information

From all of us at Santa Monica Travel & Tourism we extend heartfelt empathy for the impact coronavirus is having on our local business community. The well-being and safety of businesses, visitors and residents is our highest priority and Santa Monica Travel & Tourism will continue to provide you updates and accurate information regarding the situation. We are closely monitoring the situation in partnership with our travel partners as well as the L.A. County Department of Public Health and Santa Monica’s Office of Emergency Management.

It is important to obtain accurate information about Coronavirus from reliable resources. Please visit the following for dependable data:

We encourage you to share this information with your team and we will be in touch with updates in the thread below.

May 19, 2021

Santa Monica Modifies Face Covering Requirements as of May 19

On Wednesday, May 19, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg signed the 36th supplement to Santa Monica’s local emergency aligning Santa Monica’s guidance for face coverings with Los Angeles County and the State of California. Under this guidance, face coverings must continue to be worn indoors and around crowds, including for those who have been vaccinated. This allows time for the vaccination rate to increase leading up to the full reopening of the state’s economy on June 15, when face coverings will only be required in certain settings.

“This supplement further signals the return to normal we’ve worked so hard to reach. We are grateful to the 71 percent of Santa Monicans who have been vaccinated and all community members who have worked together to promote the public health,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Thank you for continuing to mask up as we look forward to a full reopening of our State economy on June 15.”

The City has defined crowded space as a space outside of one’s residence where a person cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from non-household members and it is unknown whether all persons present are fully vaccinated. A crowded space includes, but is not limited to, live performances, parades, sporting events, and the Santa Monica Pier, Ocean Front Walk, and the Third Street Promenade on weekends, national holidays, and after 12 p.m. on Fridays.

May 2, 2021

Santa Monica Extends Local Emergency to June 15, 2021

The City of Santa Monica’s thirty-fifth emergency supplement extends the City’s local emergency orders, with certain specified exceptions, to June 15, 2021. The supplement comes as Santa Monica continues to make progress with reopening and COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has expanded to everyone 16 years and older.

The Thirty-Fifth supplement does not extend certain provisions of prior emergency orders, including:

  • Impositions of late payment penalties for unpaid or delinquent Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) charges and Fire Prevention Inspection charges will resume May 1, 2021.
  • Issuing permits for street performers on the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, and Transit Mall will resume May 1, 2021 with social distancing and infection control measures in place. Previously issued performance permits that were suspended from October through December 2020 will be valid from May 1 through December 31, 2021.

For the latest information, please visit, or call the City at 311.

April 20, 2021

New Restaurant Protocols from Los Angeles County Health as of April 17

Los Angeles County Health has posted new restaurant protocols as of April 17 which can be viewed here.

  • Gloves are no longer required for bussing tables
  • Language concerning the distances between tables has been changed to – “tables must be spaced at least six (6) feet apart when measured from the back of the chair at one table to the back of the chair at the adjacent table”. This language better applies to state standards and allows for more seating. The County has also provided diagrams to show how possible seating can be arranged.
  • Vaccinated employees will no longer be required to wear a face shield. They must show proof of vaccination to their employer and also continue wearing a face covering at all times,
  • Customers are now allowed to be seated while waiting for the rest of their party to arrive.
  • TVs are allowed to be used outdoors.
  • Live entertainment is allowed outdoors.
  • Restaurants may also host private events as long as the restaurant is closed for normal business during the time of the private event.
April 16, 2021

Los Angeles County Health Officer Order Updates in Effect as of April 15

Please see the following preview of the additional sector reopening and guidance that will be in place on April 15 with respect to private meetings, events, and conferences today.

Indoor live events and performances will be permitted in Los Angeles County with the following safety measures:

  • Indoor live events and performances are able to open for in-state visitors only, who must pre-purchase tickets.
  • Eating or drinking is not permitted anywhere except pre-designated eating areas.
  • Masks must be worn at all times except when in designated eating areas.
  • There must be 6-feet of distance between different households unless people are fully vaccinated.
  • As with outdoor live events, employers must offer a weekly worker testing program.
  • For venues that hold up to 1,500 people, there is a maximum capacity limit of 15% or 200 people, whichever is fewer. The capacity limit can increase to 35% if all guests are tested or vaccinated.
  • For venues holding more than 1,500 people, there is a capacity limit of 10% or 2,000 people, whichever is fewer. The capacity limit can increase to 25% if all guests are tested or vaccinated.

Private meetings such as conferences, receptions and meetings will be permitted with the following safety measures:

  • There must be a defined guest list or tickets must be purchased.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless attendees are eating or drinking.
  • There must be 6-feet of distance between tables and chairs for guests not vaccinated.
  • There must be assigned seating or a seating chart with a max of 6 people per table for guests not vaccinated.
  • And there can be no intermingling of multiple private events.

For outdoor private events, a maximum of 100 people is allowed, but that limit can increase to 300 people if all guests are tested or vaccinated.

  • Tables are also limited to 6 people from a maximum of 3 households unless everyone at the table is vaccinated.
  • Indoor private events are only allowed if all guests are tested or vaccinated with a limit of 150 guests.

Public Health is also modifying the protocols for private social or informal gatherings. Outdoor gatherings can have up to a maximum of 50 people.

  • Masks will be required at all times unless people are eating or drinking.
  • There must be 6-feet of distance between tables and chairs.
  • Seating at tables is restricted to 6 people from up to three households.
  • If everyone is vaccinated, the capacity limit at tables are not necessary.

Indoor private gatherings are permitted, but strongly discouraged. If you choose to hold an indoor private gathering, the following are required safety modifications:

  • A max of 25 people or a 25% capacity limit where capacity limits exist.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, unless everyone is full vaccinated.
  • There can be no eating or drinking unless everyone attending is fully vaccinated or everyone attending is fully vaccinated except for members of 1 household that does not have any high-risk individuals.
April 1, 2021

L.A. County Qualifies for Orange Tier Threshold, Additional Re-Openings with Safety Measures Set for Monday, April 5

Los Angeles County has met the threshold for the less restrictive orange tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Today, the State released updated numbers; L.A. County’s adjusted case rate dropped from 3.7 new cases per 100,000 people to 3.1 new cases per 100,000 people. The test positivity rate dropped from 1.8% to 1.5% and in areas with the fewest health affirming resources, L.A. County’s test positivity rate dropped from 2.5% to 2.1%.

A revised Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will go into effect on Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m. to reflect newly permitted activities. This allows the County to follow the state guidelines and wait until three weeks are completed in the red tier to be sure that case numbers do not rise this third week since the County’s earlier re-openings. The Health Officer Order and modified directives for businesses will be posted this Friday, with an effective date of April 5. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) teams will be available this week and through the weekend to provide information about upcoming changes, allowing establishments to be prepared for full compliance with the required safety modifications.

On April 5, assuming County case numbers do not increase, the following changes will be made to the Health Officer Order:

  • Bars that do not provide meals will be allowed to open outdoors with distancing, masking and infection control safety measures. Indoor operations are not permitted. Masks are required except when people are eating or drinking. There can be no counter seating and people can eat or drink only when they are seated. Tables must be 8 feet apart, with a maximum of 6 people from up to 3 different households. There can be no live entertainment, television is permitted, and hours of operations are from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries that do not serve meals can remain open outdoors and can also open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. These establishments will follow the same public health directives as bars for their outdoor areas, however, there are additional requirements for indoor spaces: reservations are required for indoor seating, there is a maximum of 6 people per table and they must be from the same household, and there is no live entertainment or television viewing indoors.
  • Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less with continued safety modifications.
  • Cardrooms can operate indoors at 25% capacity. There must be 8-feet of distancing between tables and masks are always required. Food and beverages remain banned from card tables.
  • Places of Worship can hold services indoors at 50% capacity.
  • Fitness Centers can operate indoors at 25% capacity and indoor pools can now re-open. Masks are always required unless swimming.
  • Movie Theatres can increase capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is less. Seats must be reserved, and each group must have 6 feet of distance from other groups in all directions. Eating is allowed in only designated areas or in your reserved seat.
  • Family Entertainment Centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for distanced activities, such as bowling or escape rooms. Masks remain required.
  • Grocery and Retail Stores can increase capacity to 75%, although Public Health strongly recommends grocery stores remain at 50% capacity until April 15 to allow as many grocery store workers as possible get vaccinated.
  • Hair Salons, Barbershops and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 75% with masks required, except for services where customers need to remove their masks. For services where customers must remove their face coverings, staff must wear a fitted N95 or a mask with a face shield.
  • Museums, Zoos and Aquariums can be open indoors at 50% capacity.
  • Youth and Adult Recreational Sports can apply to Public Health for approval for athletic events, tournaments or competitions that involve more than two teams or multiple individuals.

More information can be found on the LA County Health COVID-19 website.

March 15, 2021

L.A. County Announces Sector Safety Measures for Red Tier Re-Openings

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has qualified for the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy less restrictive red tier that allows for additional re-openings. The County is principally aligned with the state’s reopening framework for the red tier, with mandatory masking, distancing and infection control practices for every business and permitted activity. Additional safety modifications are required or recommended for certain sectors.

Newly permitted activities and modified safety protocols in the red tier includes the following:

  1. Museum, Zoos and Aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity.
  2. Gyms, Fitness Centers, Yoga and Dance Studios can open indoors at 10% capacity with masking requirement for all indoor activities.
  3. Movie Theatres can open indoors at 25% capacity with reserved seating only where each group is seated with at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between any other groups.
  4. Retail and Personal Care Services can increase capacity to 50% with masking required at all times and for all services.
  5. Restaurants can open indoors at 25% max capacity under the following conditions: 8 feet distancing between tables; one household per table with a limit of 6 people; the HVAC system is in good working order and has been evaluated, and to the maximum extent possible ventilation has been increased. Public Health strongly recommends that all restaurant employees interacting with customers indoors are provided with additional masking protection (above the currently required face shield over face masks); this can be fit tested N95 masks, KN95 masks, or double masks and a face shield. In addition, Public Health strongly recommends that all employees working indoors are informed about and offered opportunities to be vaccinated. Outdoor dining can accommodate up to six people per table from 3 different households.
  6. Indoor Shopping Malls can increase capacity to 50% with common areas remaining closed; food courts can open at 25% capacity adhering to the restaurant guidance for indoor dining.
  7. Institutes of Higher Education can re-open all permitted activities with required safety modifications except for residential housing which remains under current restrictions for the Spring semester.
  8. Schools are permitted to re-open for in-person instruction for students in grades 7-12 adhering to all state and county directives.
  9. Private gatherings can occur indoors with up to 3 separate households, with masking and distancing required at all times. People who are fully vaccinated can gather in small numbers indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated without required masking and distancing.

For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit: (English) and (Spanish). Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website,


Every Business in Santa Monica Must Review, Print, Post, and Distribute the Latest Public Health Protocol

The County has made extensive updates to over 20 sector-specific protocols effective March 15. View all updated sector protocols here. If your sector does not have its own protocol, you need to compete the Protocol for Social Distancing: Appendix A.

The City urges all businesses to exercise good judgment in following the new health protocols. Each business adopting new health guidelines as reopening expands is critical in our ability to continue to reopen and recover. You need to review and post the latest version to your front entrance, and ensure all of your employees receive a copy.

Over the next week, City emergency order enforcement teams will be working to ensure local businesses adhere to new protocols, especially in high-risk indoor environments.

January 26, 2021

Yesterday, the State lifted the Regional Stay Home Order and moved all counties back into the Blueprint for a Safer Economy color-coded tiers. Los Angeles County, along with the majority of the State, is in the most restrictive purple tier.

With the lifting of the Regional Stay Home Order, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order that was issued on November 25 is now in effect until a new Health Officer Order is issued later this week to more fully align with the sector openings permitted in the purple tier.

The following is allowed with adherence to all of the sector specific directives to ensure distancing, wearing of face coverings, and infection control:

  • Private gatherings outdoors up to 3 households and up to a total of 15 people
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Cardrooms outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Miniature golf, go karts, batting cages outdoor operations at 50% occupancy
  • Outdoor recreational activities are open
  • Hotels & motels for tourism and individual travel allowed
  • Fitness facilities open for outdoor operations
  • Personal care services open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Indoor mall, shopping center, lower-risk retail open at 25% indoor capacity; food courts and common areas closed

The following restrictions remain in effect until January 29:

  • Restaurants, wineries and breweries remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out only.
  • Non-essential businesses closed from 10pm to 5am

Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside their household and around others.

The Health Officer Order is posted on Public Health’s website and was disseminated via email to sectors.

January 10, 2021

Out of an abundance of caution and to contribute to regional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica Pier will temporarily close Sunday, January 10 and remaining weekends in January. The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible and the closure is part of meeting this need.

The Santa Monica Pier will temporarily be closed on the following days:

  • Sunday, January 10, 2021
  • Thursday, January 14, 2021
  • Friday, January 15, 2021
  • Saturday, January 16, 2021
  • Sunday, January 17, 2021
  • Monday, January 18, 2021
  • Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  • Saturday, January 23, 2021
  • Sunday, January 24, 2021

Santa Monica Pier is open 6am – 10pm weekdays during January 2021. During this limited operational phase, some shops and restaurants will be open, some with limited hours and services. Guests can still take a break, enjoy the fresh air and support the shops and restaurants that have reopened for take out.

December 30, 2020

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica Pier will temporarily close for the New Year’s holiday weekend. The closure will be effective at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30 through 6 a.m. on Monday, January 4. The closure aligns with public health officials’ plea with members of the public to stay home as much as possible and dissuade the public from gathering in crowds.

December 23, 2020

The City of Santa Monica has closed all staffed cashier’s booths in beach parking lots. If you are visiting Santa Monica beach during this holiday season, please plan to pay for beach parking at the payment kiosks located in the parking lot.

December 7, 2020

Los Angeles County released the Revised Targeted Temporary Safer at Home Health Officer Order for Control of COVID-19 (12/6/20), which is effective now through at least 11:59 p.m. on December 27, 2020. This Revised Temporary Order has been updated and is issued as a response to the sustained and substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

A list of the businesses, recreational sites, commercial properties, and activities which are closed are listed on page six of the Revised Temporary Order. To align and comply with the State’s December 3, 2020 Regional Stay Home Order (PDF), in addition to the businesses that were already closed, the Health Officer orders the closure of the following:

  • Family entertainment centers for all activities
    • This includes (but is not limited to) closure of miniature golf, go-karts, and batting cages
  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums
  • Personal Care Services, including (but not limited to) closure of hair salons and barbershops
  • Cardrooms

This order may be extended beyond December 27, 2020  if the projections of the Southern California Region’s total available adult ICU bed capacity is less than 15%.

December 1, 2020

Temporary Targeted Safer at Home Health Officer Order

Los Angeles County has released a revised County Health Officer Order (HOO): Temporary Targeted Safer at Home Health Officer Order for Control of COVID-19: Tier 1 Substantial Surge Response, November 28, 2020.

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surging, L.A. County announced additional safety modifications that become effective today, Monday, November 30, 2020 and remain in effect for three weeks through December 20, 2020.

A summary document of the changes is also available on Public Health’s website.

The new temporary order aims to reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • Asking individuals to remain in their homes and with their immediate households as much as possible;
  • Reducing mingling with others not in your household;
  • Requiring everyone to wear a face covering whenever they are engaging in activities outside their homes where they are, or can be, in contact with others not in their households;
  • Reducing capacity at sites where non-household members mingle to avoid crowding.

All public and private gatherings and events with individuals not from the same household are prohibited, except for faith-based services and protests.

Residents are still permitted to travel to and from essential businesses, work or provide services to a healthcare operation or essential business; residents may also engage in essential activities, or participate in permitted individual or household outdoor and indoor activities while practicing required distancing, infection control and masking.

Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking. They are permitted to remain open for pick-up, delivery, and take-out and breweries and wineries may remain open for retail sales at 20% occupancy.

November 23, 2020

Public Health to Modify Health Officer Order to Restrict Dining at Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries and Bars Amid Surge in Cases

As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified to restrict dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars as the five-day average of new cases increased to more than 4,000 cases. The modified order will take effect Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m.

To reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive thru, and delivery services. Wineries and breweries may continue their retail operations adhering to current protocols. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next three weeks. Click here to view the county’s press release.

November 20, 2020

Revised Health Officer Order: Los Angeles County Restrictions to Curb COVID-19 Spread Start November 20

Los Angeles County issued a revised order, Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control or COVID-19 on November 19, effective as of November 20, which will tighten pandemic safeguards and restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase significantly. These safeguards and restrictions protect the public health and safety of our residents, and their ability to be served in our hospitals.

COVID-19 cases have more than doubled since the beginning of November and hospitalizations have increased from an average of about 900 a day to well over 1,000 a day in same time period.

The first measures, effective on Friday, November 20 are:

  • For non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors—including retail stores, offices, personal care services—occupancy will be limited to 25% maximum capacity.
  • The number of patrons at outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries will be limited to 50% max outdoor capacity.
  • The number customers at cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages will be limited to 50% maximum outdoor capacity.
  • Services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff wearing face coverings.
  • Services that require either the customer or the staff to remove their face covering, such as   facials and shaves, are not permitted.
  • Food and drinks cannot be served at these establishments to customers.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
  • Outdoor gatherings remain the only gatherings permitted, and they must only include 15 people maximum who are members of no more than 3 households.

California Imposes ‘Limited’ Curfew Due to COVID-19 Surge

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a mandatory overnight stay-at-home order that will be instituted throughout most of California to combat a surge in new coronavirus cases, a measure that comes just days after the governor enacted a dramatic rollback of reopenings in much of the state.

The order issued by the California Department of Public Health will prohibit most nonessential activity outside the home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening roadmap – the purple tier. The restriction goes into effect Saturday and lasts through December 21, though it could be extended.

October 27, 2020

On October 23 the County Department of Public Health released the revised County Health Officer Order

Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control of COVID-19: Blueprint for a Safer Economy- Tier 1

The order was revised to:

  • Permit batting cages, miniature golf, and go-cart racing for outside services;
  • Permit personal care establishments to offer services indoors with modifications;
  • Clarify permitted food services at indoor malls and shopping centers;
  • Increase the percentage of students with IEPs and ELs and other high-need students allowed at any one time on a K-12 campus from 10% to 25%; and
  • Permit schools to reopen TK-2nd grades for classroom instruction only with a waiver application approved by Public Health.

This County Health Officer Order as well as other pertinent information can be found on the LA County COVID-19 website.

September 24, 2020

Santa Monica Issues Twenty-Sixth Supplement To The Executive Order Of The Director Of Emergency Services Declaring The Existence Of A Local Emergency

The City of Santa Monica has issued its Twenty-Sixth Supplement To The Executive Order Of The Director Of Emergency Services Declaring The Existence Of A Local Emergency” in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic with the following key points relevant to local businesses:

  • Authorizes the Director of the Community Services Department to promulgate regulations and issue permits for gym and fitness establishments to engage in commercial fitness activities at City parks, City park parking lots, and City beaches;
  • Authorizes the Director of the Community Services Director to implement guidelines and regulations to permit the use of City sites for drive-in movie theaters, vehicle-based parades, concerts, and other events to the extent permitted by and conducted in accordance with all requirements of the County Safer at Home Order;
  • Extends the City’s moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for reasons other than nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020;
  • Extends the City’s moratorium on evictions of commercial tenant 1s for nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020, subject to the requirement that for rent due after September 30, 2020, except for rent due for periods in which the commercial tenant 1’s business remains closed because the County Safer at Home Order requires it to remain closed, the commercial tenant 1 must pay at least 50% of the rent due in accordance with the terms for payment set out in the tenant’s lease;
  • Suspends all penalties related to business licenses and business improvement district assessments for fiscal year 2019-2020 through October 31, 2020 – penalties related to business license for fiscal year 2020-21 began to accrue as of September 1, 2020 unless an extension application was timely filed pursuant to the Third Revised 18th Supplement, and penalties related to business improvement district assessments for fiscal year 2020-21 are not suspended and will accrue if assessments are not timely paid;
  • Permits some events, activities, programs, and gatherings scheduled in City facilities by permit or license if they are permitted by and will be conducted in accordance with all requirements of the County Safer at Home Order; and
  • Extends the expiration of prior emergency supplements through December 31, 2020.
September 3, 2020

Hair Salons and Barbershops can Reopen at 25% Capacity for Indoor Services

Effective Wednesday September 2, hair salons and barbershops can reopen at 25% occupancy for indoor services as long as they have infection control safeguards in place and comply with the County’s Health Officer Order (HOO) Reopening Protocols for Hair Salons and Barbershops, which require physical distancing and face coverings for both employees and customers. As permitted by the state, hair salons and barbershops are encouraged to maintain as many operations outdoors as possible. Please note that personal care services and spas are not considered hair salons and barbershops.

August 25, 2020

Santa Monica Shines COVID-19 Assurance Program for Businesses Launches

The Santa Monica Shines COVID-19 Assurance Program is a new platform geared to help our business community understand and implement COVID-19 safety requirements. The FREE online program is designed to support businesses with safely reopening and operating during this health emergency. Upon completion, businesses will receive a Santa Monica Shines graphic for use in promotional materials and a window cling to proudly display to their customers and our community!

  • Each business needs to designate one Safety Supervisor who will be responsible for registering the location. This requires filling out a brief online questionnaire about the implementation of LA County Health Department’s Safety Protocols.
  • Once our location is registered, the rest of the team can sign up and take the online safety and empathy courses and review the customized COVID-19 Safety Protocols Packet.
  • We will then verify that each location is compliant by having businesses schedule a visit with a team member to conduct an online or on-site walk through to receive the Santa Monica Shines Assurance Seal to display in the window. This shows your team members and the public that you take safety seriously!

Learn More Here

The Santa Monica Shines COVID-19 Assurance Program was created in partnership with City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, Arrow Up and Sustainable Works.

This program has been funded by the City of Santa Monica’s Economic Recovery Task Force with match funding support provided by Santa Monica College. The Santa Monica Shines program has been guided by the Economic Recovery Task Force communications and outreach team of residents, community and civic leaders, and supported by our local Businesses Improvement Districts, Santa Monica Pier Corporation, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and Santa Monica Travel & Tourism to ensure its success.

July 20, 2020

Salons Permitted to Offer Outdoor Services

With new guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, some barbering and cosmetology services are allowed to be offered outside. Permitted outdoor services include skin care, cosmetology, nail services, and massage therapy. Chemical hair services, electrolysis, tattooing and piercing services are not allowed indoors or outdoors in Los Angeles County.

Find complete guidance on performing personal care services outdoors sent to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology here.

July 13, 2020

LA County Announces Additional Closures

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the following sectors must stop indoor operations effective July 13 in Los Angeles County.

  • Fitness centers
  • Worship services
  • Offices for non-critical sectors
  • Personal care services
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Indoor malls

Effective July 13, 2020, All counties in the state of California must close indoor operations in these sectors:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
  • Zoos and museums
  • Cardrooms

Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide.

Find full details here.

July 2, 2020

Santa Monica Cares Clings and Signage Available for Businesses

Santa Monica Cares Toolkit items including six feet apart floor stickers, face covering clings, and more are now available for pick up, Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Santa Monica Travel & Tourism’s Main Street Visitor Information Center located at 2427 Main Street.

Please pull inside the Edgemar Center parking lot, alert the parking attend you are there to pick up an item at the Visitor Information Center, enter the Visitor Center through the front door where our friendly staff will assist you.

Pick up location information: 

Main Street Visitor Information Center
2427 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 393-7593
Email: [email protected]
Hours:  Wednesday – Sunday 11:00am to 4:00pm

Santa Monica Strengthens Face Covering Requirement and Allows for Citations and Refusal of Service

The City of Santa Monica has issued a Twentieth Supplement to the local emergency declaration strengthening and clarifying requirements for wearing face coverings and setting penalties for those who do not wear them when required. Face coverings are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses can now refuse service to any person who does not wear a face covering or fails to comply with social distancing.  Businesses must also take all reasonable steps to ensure those in line or entering their business wear face coverings and comply with physical distancing requirements.  The supplement authorizes administrative citations for failing to wear face coverings, for individuals, as $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation, and $500 for a third violation.  For businesses, the administrative citations are $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation, and $1,000 for a third violation.

The supplement clarifies that the face covering requirement applies:

  • When individuals are or can be in contact with or walking near or past others who are non-household members in both public and private spaces, including, but not limited to, walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, meaning that a face covering must be visible and ready to be immediately put on whenever a moving person approaches within 30 feet of a non-household member;
  • When patronizing a business, including while standing in line to enter any business;
  • When obtaining services from healthcare operations, unless otherwise directed by the healthcare provider;
  • When obtaining services from and while inside or at any location or facility engaging in essential government functions;
  • When waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • When driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present;
  • When participating in an in-person protest; and
  • When engaged in work, either at a business or off-site (other than at one’s own residence) and (i) interacting in-person with any member of the public; (ii) working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time; (iii) working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others; (iv) working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; or (v) in any room or enclosed area where people who are non-household members are present and unable to maintain a minimum six-foot separation from one another.

Exemptions from the face covering requirement apply to the following:

  • Persons younger than two years old;
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
  • Persons who are (i) outdoors alone or with household members; (ii) stationary; and (iii) maintaining at least six feet between the edge of the area they are in and the edge of the next closest person’s area;
  • Persons who are actively engaged in a water-based activity, including, but not limited to, swimming and surfing.
  • Persons compliant with the County Department of Health’s Protocol for Restaurants Opening for On-Site Dining under which customers who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service are not required to wear face coverings while they are eating or drinking;
  • Persons wearing personal protective equipment (“PPE”), such as medical-grade N95 respirator or a similar mask that is more protective than a face covering;
  • Persons compliant with any other reopening protocol issued by the County Department of Health authorizing persons to remove their face coverings.
  • Santa Monica’s order is in effect until July 31, 2020.

To keep the community informed of the importance of face coverings, residents and businesses can pick up free lawn signs and retail signage to help inform friends, neighbors and customers. Free signs are available for pick up at the Downtown Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Info Booth (Saturdays and Wednesdays, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) or the Main Street Visitor Information Center located at 2427 Main Street (Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).

L.A. County Dims Re-Opening Measures

Effective July 1, both the State of California and Los Angeles County Department of Health have announced new rollbacks of re-opening efforts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.Governor Newsom has ordered closures of indoor operations for the following sectors:

  • Restaurants
  • Wineries
  • Movie theaters and family entertainment
  • Zoos, Museums
  • Cardrooms

These closures are in effect in 19 counties across the state, including Los Angeles County. The closure of bars in the county also remains in effect.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has also announced additional rollbacks:

  • Staff and patrons of gyms must wear cloth face coverings and gloves.
  • L.A. County beaches are closed from July 3 at 12:01 a.m. through July 6 at 5:00 a.m. to prevent dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly COVID-19. This includes the Santa Monica Pier, beach parking lots and the beach bike path. Fireworks displays throughout the County are also prohibited.

Santa Monica Launches Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Provides Free Meals to Children

Santa Monica is launching a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program to provide rental funds to eligible residents who demonstrate a loss of income or increase in expenses due to the COVID-10 pandemic. Applications will launch on Tuesday, July 7. The emergency rental assistance program will provide eligible applicants up to three months of rental assistance to pay rent for August 2020 or later, up to an estimated 300 households. Eligible applications will be entered into a lottery for final selection. Find full details here.

In addition to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the City has opened its free summer lunch program this week for school-aged children at Virginia Avenue Park. The program is a collaboration with The Way Forward Foundation, and the Department of Education, and offers free grab-and-go meals Monday through Friday at Virginia Avenue Park outside of the Patio Room just north of the Thelma Terry building. All meals meet the nutritional requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture and will be distributed June 29 – August 14, 2020 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (meals will not be served Friday, July 3 due to the holiday). Adults can pick up a bag lunch for each school-age child in their household without a child present due to COVID 19 safety guidelines until supplies last. This service is walk up only. For more information about the lunch program, call 310-458-8688 or email [email protected]

Santa Monica Extends Temporary 10-minute Curbside Pickup

The City of Santa Monica has extended temporary 10-minute curbside pickup for restaurants through July 31, 2020. Find full details here.

June 30, 2020

Santa Monica Extends Local Emergency to July 31

On June 29 Interim City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Lane Dilg issued a nineteenth supplement that, with certain specified exceptions, extends Santa Monica’s local emergency declaration and all associated orders to July 31, 2020. Later expiration dates stated in specific supplements remain unchanged.

Here are the specified exceptions to the extension order that Santa Monica residents and businesses should know:

  • The City’s plastic bag ban will resume on July 1, 2020. This means customers can resume bringing reusable bags when making essential trips.
  • Parking citations associated with monthly street sweeping will resume July 1, 2020. Please move your car for street sweeping next week, July 6 – 10.
  • Towing for violations of the California Vehicle Code relating to abandoned vehicles resumes as of July 1, 2020.
  • The expiration of Santa Monica Fire Department annual permits of operation is not further extended, and they will expire as of July 1, 2020.
  • Late payment penalties for unpaid or delinquent Transient Occupancy Taxes, Utility Users Taxes, and Parking Facility Taxes resume as of July 1, 2020.

Santa Monica extends its local emergency as key metrics continue to show steep increases in community spread of COVID-19. Find full details here.

Santa Monica Beaches Close for July 4th Holiday Weekend

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is ordering L.A. County beaches, including those in Santa Monica, closed from July 3 through July 6 at 5:00 a.m. to prevent dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly COVID-19.

All public beaches, piers, public beach parking lots, beach bike paths that traverse that sanded portion of the beach, and beach access points will be temporarily closed to the public as of 12:01 a.m. on July 3, 2020, until 5:00 a.m. on July 6, 2020. For more information, please read the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s news release.

June 28, 2020

Governor Newsom Announces Action to Close Bars in Los Angeles County

Today, Sunday, June 28th, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs in Los Angeles County effective immediately. The order includes six other California counties, including Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial. For more information, view the California Department of Public Health press release

June 19, 2020

Face Mask Requirement for State of California

Yesterday Governor Newsom announced that face coverings are now required throughout the state due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in California. Please review updated guidance from California Department of Public Health here.

LA County Reopening Guidance for Bars, Personal Care

A modified Health Officer Order and directives for the reopening of additional businesses was issued with an effective date of June 19. The Health Officer Order allows for the following sectors to reopen once they implement the required protocols for infection control and distancing. Links to the protocols are provided below for reference:

Eviction Moratorium Extended for Residents and Some Commercial Tenants

On Wednesday, June 17th, the City of Santa Monica issued a revised supplemental emergency order that extends the City’s eviction moratorium for residential tenants to July 31, 2020.

The moratorium covers nonpayment of rent and certain other evictions. The repayment period for residential tenants remains unchanged at twelve months from the time the moratorium ends.

The revised supplemental emergency order also extends the City’s eviction moratorium for certain commercial tenants to July 31, 2020, narrowing its focus to small businesses most in need of protection.  A number of businesses, including publicly traded companies and businesses with more than 100 employees, are no longer covered under the moratorium.

For commercial tenants, the level of protection depends on the kind of business. The supplement defines three categories of commercial tenant: Commercial Tenant 1, Commercial Tenant 2, and Commercial Tenant 3. A definition for each is available here. A Commercial Tenant 3, which includes publicly traded companies and businesses with more than 100 employees, will receive no protections as of June 30, 2020.

More information

Minimum Wage for FY 20/21

Santa Monica’s wages effective on July 1, 2020 are as follows:

  • $15/hr for businesses with 26 or more employees
  • $14.25/hr for businesses with 25 or fewer employees
  • $17.13/hr for hotel employees

The new wages are now posted on the City of Santa Monica’s website with updated downloadable legal notices here:

June 12, 2020

LA County Moves to Reopen Leisure Travel

Los Angeles County public health experts and government officials have announced leisure travel can resume in the county effective Friday, June 12, permitting our hotels to welcome back visitors. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health announced that the Health Officer Order will be modified to include infection control and distancing requirements for re-opening the following sectors. Links to sector protocols are below for reference:

Additionally, the following guidelines for leisure travel were shared:

Hotels, lodging and short-term rentals for tourism and individual travel

  • Employees, including housekeeping, must wear face coverings and limit touching guests’ belongings.
  • Guests will be screened for symptoms. People experiencing symptoms will not be allowed an overnight stay. Guests who feel sick should not travel or stay in a hotel.
  • Stringent cleaning and laundry protocols will be in place to protect staff and guests.
  • Reusable materials in rooms, such as magazines, menus and local attraction details, will be removed.
  • Rooms should be left vacant 24 to 72 hours after a guest has departed for proper cleaning.
  • In the event of a presumptive case of COVID-19, the guest’s room will be removed from service and quarantined. In the event of a positive case, the room should only be returned to service after undergoing a deep cleaning in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
  • Property managers, timeshare operators, and other rental unit owners and operators must only rent unoccupied units and cannot rent rooms or spaces within an occupied residence.
  • Saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs will remain closed.
June 9, 2020

Santa Monica Expands Temporary Outdoor Dining and Extends Delinquency Date for Business License Renewals

Santa Monica has updated their declaration of a local emergency relating to the novel coronavirus that expands the areas in which restaurants can launch temporary outdoor dining spaces and authorizes extensions of the delinquency date for business license renewals for two months, to November 1, 2020.

The  supplement allows restaurants to temporarily expand outdoor dining to immediately adjacent sidewalks and private spaces owned by the restaurants and expands the authorization to encompass sidewalks in front of buildings adjacent to restaurants with the owner’s consent and also private spaces that are not owned by restaurants (with the owner’s consent) as well.  The authorization for temporary outdoor dining is effective through September 7, 2020. To learn more, download the sidewalk dining application on the City’s Economic Recovery website or click here.

The 18th supplement also extended by two years the deadlines for reviewing and acting on planning applications, exercising rights under planning entitlements and expiration of building permits. Applications for extensions are due by no later than July 31, 2020.

Santa Monica Waves Fees and Fast Tracks Permits For Business Recovery

Santa Monica has issued a supplemental emergency order expediting business recovery efforts from the recent civil unrest by fast-tracking permits and eliminating fees for Santa Monica businesses that suffered damage and need to conduct repairs. The supplement applies to businesses that suffered damage from civil unrest following the May 30 declaration of a local emergency. The supplement waives permit and plan review fees for permits for repairs. Applications for permits must be submitted to the City within 60 days of today, June 4, 2020, to be eligible for the fee waiver.

Santa Monica Releases Temporary Outdoor Dining Encroachment Form and Guidance

The Temporary Outdoor Dining (COVID) Encroachment Form and Guidance is approved and the City of Santa Monica is ready to start accepting applications from local businesses as many restaurants are keen to safely re-open and expand their dining operations outside.

This temporary encroachment agreement will enable restaurants/cafes/food retailers to temporarily extend their operations, at no charge, to the areas adjacent to the restaurant and any parking, courtyard, plaza, or other private open space area owned or leased by the restaurant for outdoor dining in accordance with attached guidelines to help support their safe operations during COVID19.

The guidance and form is here.  The completed form and insurance should be submitted to the City of Santa Monica at [email protected]

Emergency Order Expediting Business Recovery Efforts
Interim City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Lane Dilg issued a supplemental emergency order expediting business recovery efforts from last weekend’s civil unrest by fast-tracking permits and eliminating fees for Santa Monica businesses that suffered damage and need to conduct repairs. Click for more information.

LA County Releases Toolkit for Dine-In Restaurants

LA County’s Department of Public Health has prepared a toolkit for dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs and wineries offering sit-down, dine-in meals. The toolkit offers further guidance on:

  • COVID-19 Prevention Practices
  • Physical Distancing Requirements
  • Infection Control
  • Protecting Employees
  • Protecting Customers and
  • Resources to communicate with your staff and customers

Restaurants and other food facilities are encouraged to support takeout and delivery service when possible.

If you still have questions about prevention practices and/or requirements, visit LA County’s Department of Public Health (DPH) website or call (888) 700-9995 for more information.

Santa Monica Clears Path for Safe Reopening of Restaurants and Salons

In tandem with Los Angeles County, Santa Monica has signed a seventeenth supplement to Santa Monica’s declaration of a local emergency, re-opening restaurants for in-person dining and salons.

Here are the protocols you can expect at hair salons, barbershops, and in-person restaurant dining:

Barbershops and hair salons

  • Physical distancing measures will be in place.
  • Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever. Clients feeling unwell should reschedule their appointment.
  • Everyone, including clients, must wear cloth face coverings while in the salon or barber shop and clients are encouraged to wear face coverings with earloops to ensure the face covering does not interfere with the hair service.
  • Magazines, coffee and other amenities will not be available.
  • Clients are encouraged to use credit cards and contactless payment systems. If electronic or card payment is not possible, customers should come with exact cash payment or check, if available.
  • Stylists may only serve one client at a time.

Personal grooming that is still closed, or prohibited, at this time:

  • Nail salons
  • Spa services, including massage, facials and waxing

In-person dining in restaurants:

  • Physical distancing measures will be in place.
  • Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever. Patrons feeling unwell should not eat at a restaurant.
  • Outdoor seating and curbside pickup are prioritized.
  • Reservations will be encouraged.
  • Customers will be asked to wait for their table in their cars or outside the restaurant to prevent crowds from gathering.
  • Diners must wear cloth face coverings when not eating.
  • Bar areas will be closed.
  • Occupancy capacity will be limited to 60% for the next three weeks.
May 28, 2020

Los Angeles County Announces Re-openings

Los Angeles County has announced a new round of re-openings. Physical distancing requirements, cloth face coverings and other safety protocols must be observed as the recovery progresses. Activities now permitted under the changes include:

  • Faith-based organizations may resume services, with the number of congregants limited to less than 25% of the building’s capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.
  • All retail, including those located in indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers may now open for business at 50% capacity.
  • Flea markets, swap meets and drive-in movie theaters may resume operations.
  • Pools, hot tubs and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association may now open.
May 22, 2020

Marvin Braude Beach Bike Path Re-Opens

Los Angeles County has announced the re-opening of the Marvin Braude Beach Bike path. Allowable recreation activities at the beach now include swimming, surfing, running, walking, skating, and biking. Santa Monica’s beach parking lots and meters remain closed. More information on LA County beaches and parking lots can be found at

May 14, 2020

Retail Re-Opens for Curbside Pickup

Curbside pickup for all retail stores (except indoor malls and shopping centers) is now available in Los Angeles County. Call or visit store websites for orders and hours. In-store pickups are not permitted and customers must wear cloth face coverings at all times and maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet.

May 13, 2020

LA County Beaches Re-Open for Recreational Use

As of Wednesday, May 13th, Los Angeles County has loosened beach related emergency orders for recreation only. The Santa Monica Pier, beach bike path, beach parking and Muscle Beach will remain closed. Physical distancing and face coverings are required.


  • Individual or family ocean activities (such as surfing, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, body surfing)
  • Individual or family active recreation & exercise (such as walking, running)


  • Sunbathing, or sitting or lying on sand
  • Picnicking
  • Chairs, canopies or coolers
  • Biking
  • Group or organized sports (such as volleyball)
  • Gatherings or events
  • Fishing


  • More than 6 feet physical distance from others at all times(except between members of same household)
  • Face coverings, when out of the water AND around others (except for children under age 2 and children with breathing problems)
  • Stay at home if you, or someone you live with, is sick

CLOSURES STILL IN EFFECT (until further notice):

  • Beach Parking Lots – CLOSED
  • Bike Path (on the sand) – CLOSED
  • Piers, Boardwalks & Walkways – CLOSED
  • Beach Accessways – CLOSED
  • Volleyball Nets – CLOSED
May 7, 2020

Selected Businesses to Open for Curbside Pickup May 8th

As part of its Roadmap to Recovery, Los Angeles County officials announced  the first phase of reopening will begin this Friday, May 8 with some low-risk retailers and other businesses reopening with limited operations. This means Santa Monica, along with LA County, will begin to ease some of the Safer at Home guidelines while continuing to prioritize public health and safety as we continue to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following operations will be permitted to reopen for curbside pick-up while adhering to physical distancing, face coverings, and infection control protocols:

  •  Toy stores
  •  Music stores
  •  Bookstores
  •  Clothing stores
  •  Sporting goods stores
  • Florist shops

In addition, car dealership showrooms will be permitted to open for sales with physical distancing and infection control protocols in place. Offices, schools, dine-in restaurants, and malls are not included at this time. Other non-essential businesses not included in the list above must continue to adhere to the County’s Safer at Home order.

LA County announced that trailheads and golf courses will begin to reopen on Saturday, May 9.

All other Santa Monica closures, including the beach area, Santa Monica Pier, and Palisades Park remain in effect.

Physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, frequent hand washing, self-isolation and self-quarantine will remain critically important for the foreseeable future.

Governor Newsom Releases Updated Industry Guidance

Following up on the state’s announcement that it will begin modifying the stay at home order on Friday, May 8, Governor Gavin Newsom today released updated industry guidance – including for retail, manufacturing and logistics – to begin reopening with modifications that reduce risk and establish a safer environment for workers and customers.

Californians are flattening the curve as part of the stay at home order issued on March 19, 2020. These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on the roadmap for modifying the statewide order. The Resilience Roadmap stages that California is using to guide its gradual reopening process are:

  • Stage 1: Safety and Preparedness
  • Stage 2: Lower-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 3: Higher-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 4: End of Stay at Home Order

When modifications are advanced and the state’s six indicators show we’ve made enough progress, we can move to the next stage of the roadmap. We are now moving into Stage 2, where some lower-risk workplaces can gradually open with adaptations. Stage 2 expansion will be phased in gradually. Some communities may move through Stage 2 faster if they are able to show greater progress, and counties that have met the readiness criteria and worked with the California Department of Public Health can open more workplaces as outlined in the County Variance Guidance.

April 21, 2020

Santa Monica Extends Local Emergency and Associated Orders Through May 15th

Santa Monica City Council has extended its local emergency through May 15th, 2020, including its eleven emergency supplements and public space and facility closures. This extension aligns with Los Angeles County and the State of California and their public health authorities to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

April 15, 2020

For Essential Businesses: Social Distancing Protocol Must Be Posted by 11:59pm April 15th

As part of the LA County Department of Public Health Stay at Home Order, essential businesses open to the public in Santa Monica—excluding clinical settings within Healthcare Operations—are now required to create and publicly post LA County Social Distancing Protocol by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, April 15th. The protocol asks essential businesses to address public health requirements, including:

  • Facility capacity
  • Physical distancing
  • Cleaning and disinfection including providing hand sanitizer, soap and water, or disinfectant
  • Restroom accessibility
  • Directing the public to not enter if they are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms
  • Use of face coverings by employees, contracted workers, and members of the public
  • Communicable disease control recommendations

Please print out the form, fill it out and post at or near the entrance of your business tonight, April 15th by 11:59 pm.

To view the LA County Department of Public Health order that addresses the social distancing protocol click here and refer to pages 2 and 3 of the order.

Santa Monica Farmers Market Shift to Single Weekend Market

The Santa Monica Farmers Markets will temporarily shift all weekend markets (Saturday Pico Farmers Market at Virginia Avenue Park, Saturday Downtown Santa Monica Farmers Market and Sunday Main Street Farmers Market) into one larger, Saturday market at the current downtown farmers market location (Arizona Avenue between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue) for the duration of the County and State Stay at Home Orders.

The consolidated Farmers Market plans to be open on Saturday, April 18, to allow access to essential groceries like fresh produce and to continue offering CalFresh/EBT and Market Match for qualified shoppers. The market’s continuation of service also minimizes economic impacts to participating farmers, so they remain able to serve the market community in the months and years to come.

April 9, 2020

Face Coverings Required by Santa Monica Businesses and Patrons

The City of Santa Monica issued the eleventh supplemental order to its local emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), requiring all individuals who work or provide services at “covered” businesses to wear face coverings while performing their work. The order requires employers to either provide or cover the cost of face coverings for employees as well as access to hand washing at least every 30 minutes. Under the order, customers of businesses are also required to wear face coverings to provide additional protection for workers and other visitors to businesses.

“We are acting in collaboration with cities throughout the County to flatten the curve and protect our residents, businesses, and workforce,” said City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Rick Cole. “It’s best to stay home this week, but if you have to visit an essential business, it is essential to cover your face to protect lives.”

Face coverings or a scarf (dense fabric, without holes), bandana, neck gaiter, or other mask or covering made of cloth or other fabric that covers a person’s nose and mouth. Single-use face coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles. Medical grade face masks are not part of this definition and should be limited to use by healthcare and essential service workers.

The order defines essential business under the term “covered business,” which include:

  1. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, warehouse stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, pet supply, water, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning or personal care products), including stores that sell groceries and sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
  2. Organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including gang prevention and intervention, domestic violence, and homeless service agencies);
  3. Hardware stores, nurseries; building supply stores;
  4. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, vegetation services, tree maintenance, landscapers, gardeners, property managers, private security personnel and other service providers who provide services to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation to properties and other Essential Businesses, as that term is defined in County of Los Angeles’s Safer at Home Order;
  5. Laundromats, dry cleaners, laundry service providers;
  6. Restaurants and other food facilities that prepare and serve food;
  7. Businesses that ship, truck, provide logistical support or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences, Essential Businesses, Healthcare Operations, and Essential Infrastructure, as those terms are defined in County of Los Angeles’s Safer at Home Order;
  8. Airlines, taxis, ride sharing services and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living and other purposes expressly authorized by the County of Los Angeles’s Safer at Home Order; and
  9. Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities.

All Santa Monica residents are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings whenever they go outside their homes to obtain essential services and goods, as defined by the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and the County Department of Public Health’s Safer at Home Order.

April 8, 2020

Santa Monica Broadens Its Temporary Eviction Moratorium

The City of Santa Monica issued a revised supplemental order that strengthens the City’s eviction moratorium in response to the deepening impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The order further broadens the eviction moratorium in several ways, including:

  • It extends the end date for the moratorium to May 31, 2020. The City has authority to extend this date again in the future as appropriate to address the local emergency.
  • Beginning April 24, 2020, landlords must provide tenants with notice of the eviction moratorium as follows:
    • Landlords must either post notice at their property or mail (or email) notice to tenants;
    • Landlords must include notice of the moratorium when serving tenants with any notice to pay rent or quit, or other notices given to tenants as part of an eviction process;
    • Landlords must provide tenants with notice of the moratorium in the event that they file an unlawful detainer action in court; and
    • The required notice language is provided in the moratorium.
  • A landlord may not evict a residential tenant in any no-fault eviction matters; previously this rule applied only to no-fault evictions where a member of the household is sick, in isolation, sheltering at home, or under quarantine.
  • A landlord may not evict a residential tenant for refusing entry into a unit, unless the landlord seeks entry to repair a condition that substantially endangers or impairs the health or safety of the tenant or other persons in the vicinity of the premises, or a condition that is causing or threatening to cause substantial damage to the premises. When a landlord does enter a unit, the landlord must ensure that appropriate social distancing, cleaning, and sanitation measures are taken during the entry.
  • A landlord may not evict a residential tenant based on the presence of unauthorized occupants or their pets, or nuisance related to COVID-19, unless the presence substantially endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant or other persons in the vicinity of the premises, or causes or threatens to cause substantial damage to the premises.
  • A landlord may not use the eviction process to seek rent that is delayed for the reasons stated in the moratorium if the landlord has already obtained compensation for the unpaid rent, through federal or state government relief funds or other programs that provide such compensation.
  • A landlord who violates the City’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance during the moratorium period will be subject to an increased maximum civil penalty of $15,000 (increased from $10,000).
April 4, 2020

Drive-up mobile testing sites for COVID-19 are open across LA County and LA City

Through a City-County partnership, we are working on expanding this network and increasing testing capacity as quickly as possible to meet the community’s needs – which are growing every day.

You must book an appointment ahead of time online at Those without an appointment will not be able to be tested, and tests are limited to those who would be most at risk for severe complications from COVID-19, or those who have been exposed to a confirmed case.

You can be tested if you are:

  • 65 and older and/or
  • Have underlying health conditions, including:
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Moderate to severe asthma
    • People who are immunocompromised, including as a result of cancer treatment; and/or
  • Have been subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because they have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have more than 7 days of the 2-week quarantine period remaining.

If you meet these criteria, please sign up, and get more info at

Palisades Park Closed Through April 19th

To ensure public health and proper social distancing, the City of Santa Monica is installing temporary fencing around Palisades Park. Parking on the west side of Ocean Avenue will be closed to the public.

Local Construction Sites Must Observe “Safer at Home” Orders

On April 1, the City of Santa Monica issued stronger local enforcement measures for construction projects allowed under the Governor’s Stay at Home and the LA County Department of Public Health Safer at Home Orders. All construction projects must operate in accordance with social distancing and hygiene requirements pursuant to those Orders.  The Order provides the City’s Building Officer the authority to stop construction work if the requirements are not followed.

The tenth supplement to the local emergency requires:

  • Handwashing facilities or hand sanitizer to be installed at entrances to construction projects
  • Shared tools and equipment to be sanitized
  • Posting signage instructing workers of the social distancing and sanitation requirements, and entrance limitations for ill workers or those in recent close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers not to gather in groups larger than three during breaks and to maintain a six-foot social distance during such breaks

For Restaurants: Temporary Loading Zones for Pick-up and Delivery Orders through April 30th

Restaurants and food retailers can convert up to two (2) parking meters immediately in front of their business into a 10-minute loading zone for pick-up and delivery orders through April 30th. Add your business name, operating hours and put the meter # on the top, then affix to the meter. Replace your signs are replaced if they become damaged. Download the new sign for your parking meters (good through April 30th).

March 27, 2020

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Orders the Closure of Public Beaches through April 19th

On Friday, March 27th, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health ordered the closure of all public beaches, beach bike paths, public trails, and beach access points through April 19th to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The LA County order requires the immediate closure of:

  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Santa Monica’s Beach Bike Path
  • Ocean Front Walk

Though the County order allows for citation, Santa Monica will continue to focus on education this weekend and encourage the public to follow the Safer at Home orders, which are focused on community health.

The County’s Public Health Order reads: “The County of Los Angeles and its Department of Public Health observed an unusually high volume of beach and trail users on March 21 and 22, which seriously impeded the beach and trail users’ practice of safe and necessary social distancing measures. This heavy amount of beach and trail use by numerous groups of people does not allow for safe social distancing, and therefore seriously impedes community efforts to stem the local transmission of COVID-19. Accordingly, this Order is necessary to both enforce social distancing measures and stem the spread of COVID-19 within the community.”

This order is effective immediately, beginning today, March 27, 2020 through April 19, 2020. Click here to read more.

Public Spaces and City Facilities Closed through April 30th

On Friday, March 27th, 2020 the City of Santa Monica issued its ninth supplement to its declaration of local emergency, officially extending all public space and city facility closures through April 30. The order also allows for extension of the time for the City to respond to public records requests and suspends rent payments for the month of April for:

  • Businesses that hold outdoor dining licenses with the City
  • Businesses that are City tenants on the Santa Monica Pier
  • At the discretion of the Director of Housing and Economic Development, other City tenants whose business activities have been suspended due to public health orders.
March 23, 2020

Text for COVID-19 Updates

There’s a new way to get updates on the COVID-19 situation. Text “SMCOVID” to 888777 for the latest updates on your mobile device.

COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities

The City of Santa Monica has listed volunteer opportunities related to COVID-19 at

March 22, 2020

Santa Monica Beach Parking Lots Closed

The City of Santa Monica is taking additional measures to protect the health and safety of the Santa Monica community and our neighbors by closing the beach parking lots. This comes after one-and-a-half days of large numbers of beachgoers coming to the coastline amidst the Safer at Home statewide measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  These measures are being taken in accordance with State and local health directives that prohibit gatherings and call for social distancing of non-household members.

For information on COVID-19 related closures, visit or call the Santa Monica coronavirus hotline: 310-458-8400.

March 20, 2020

LA County Issues Safer at Home Order

On Thursday, March 19, the LA County Department of Public Health announced the next step in public health protections – Safer at Home. The City of Los Angeles joined as well, and Santa Monica, along with four Westside city neighbors (Malibu, Culver City, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood), stated intent to join to ensure a comprehensive regional response. This is a public health order to protect communities across the region and save lives. It is effective from March 19, 2020 at midnight through April 19, 2020.

The following resources provide full details on the Safer at Home Order :

March 19, 2020

Makers Mark Restaurant Workers Relief Program

Maker’s Mark has turned 6610 Melrose Ave into a relief center for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and/ or pay. They are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies, serving to-go dinners on a first come first serve basis. Limit 2 to a person. Additional supplies such as diapers, wipes, baby food, non-perishable canned foods and cereals, toilet paper, and Tylenol will be available. Full details here.

Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) Fund

CORE is a national non-profit organization that grants support to families with children who work in the food & beverage service industry and are experiencing crises or catastrophes. CORE is supporting Food & Beverage workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have a child living in the home. If you have tested positive and have medical documentation, please find an application here.

United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation

This program provides emergency grants for bartenders, their spouse, or child. Full details here.

California Restaurant Association Grant

Restaurants Care is currently evaluating grant requests from California restaurant workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19and have medical certification or have been medically quarantined and have certification. Find full details here.

United Way

United Way has set up a COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund to help with bills, food, rent. You can call 1-866-211-9966 and give your zip code, and will be provided with a list of local agencies that provide assistance.

State of California Coronavirus Website

The State of California has launched a new, all-encompassing, COVID-19 website containing fast facts about the virus, dos and don’ts, tips, links to information about unemployment, small business loans, and other resources. Visit to see for yourself.

Signage for Restaurants

The City of Santa Monica has developed new Restaurant Pickup/Delivery Zone signage. Santa Monica restaurants and food retailers offering food takeout, curbside pickup or food delivery services may use these signs. They are permitted to select up to two (2) parking meters directly in front of their business to designate for this free, short-term parking zone. These signs will be valid thru 3/31 to correspond with the temporary closures for on-site food consumption services. If this temporary ban is extended, the City will review the signage program and send updated instructions.


  1. Select no more than two (2) parking meters directly in front of your restaurant/food retail business that you would like to designate for this free Food Pickup/Delivery zone.
  2. Download and print the sign. Add your business name, operating hours + put the meter # on the top.
  3. Attach the sign to the parking meter. (These must be in front of the restaurant. Others will be removed).
  4. If the sign gets damaged by rain, please remove and replace with a clean, legible sign.

Santa Monica Food Delivery & Pickup Guide

While Santa Monica restaurants have had to temporarily close their on-premise dining service as of March 16, many still offer delivery, curbside pickup and takeout options.  A new interactive map shows the businesses offering these services. This map will be updated on an on-going basis. To submit your business for inclusion please fill out the survey here.

City Emergency Orders Suspend Parking Restrictions, Big Blue Bus Fares, Late Penalties on City Bills, COVID-19 Related Commercial and Residential Evictions, and Ellis Act Evictions

Supplements to the City of Santa Monica’s Emergency Executive Order have been made, reflecting the topics above. New eviction protections cover residential and commercial tenants. No landlord shall endeavor to evict a residential or commercial tenant in either of the following situations: (1) for nonpayment of rent if the tenant demonstrates that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19 or (2) for a no-fault eviction if any member of the household is sick, in isolation, or under quarantine. Businesses can find full details on each item here.

March 18, 2020

New City of Santa Monica Coronavirus Hotline

On Tuesday, March 17, the City of Santa Monica launched a new customer service experience for the Santa Monica community to get questions answered on the local response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. The new hotline number is 310-458-8400 and the email is [email protected] The hotline is open 8:00am – 8:00pm, M – F.

March 17, 2020

Survey for Restaurants

The City of Santa Monica has created a survey for restaurants, cafes and food retailers to communicate if they are still open for business and offering delivery, curbside pickup and take-out options. This information will be collected so that the city can help encourage residents, employees and visitors to eat local, buy local and support restaurants. The survey is available for restaurants to submit here.

Business Resources from the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has new information available for businesses. Find their latest newsletter here.

March 16, 2020

Business Resources from City of Santa Monica

The City of Santa Monica has developed a business resource landing page designed to aid you in navigating the fast-moving changes due to coronavirus. You can access this resource here.

In addition to FAQs and public health information, this resource is intended as a guide to business loans, support and assistance available. The City will continue to update with programs as they become available.

City of Santa Monica Issues Emergency Order for Temporary Business Closures to the Public

Today, effective at noon, City of Santa Monica issued a supplement to the local emergency proclamation that requires a two-week closure of the following businesses:

  • All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed to the public.
  • Any bars or nightclubs that serve food may remain open only for purposes of continuing to prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service or to be picked up. Dine-in food service is prohibited.
  • All restaurants and retail food facilities are prohibited from serving food for consumption on premises. Restaurants and retail food facilities may continue to operate for purposes of preparing and offering food to customers via delivery service, to be picked up or for drive-thru. For those establishments offering food pick-up options, proprietors are directed to establish social distancing practices for those patrons in the queue for pick-up.
  • The following are exempt from this Order: (i) cafeterias, commissaries, and restaurants located within hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities; (ii) grocery stores; (iii) pharmacies; and (iv) food banks.
  • Trucks and other vehicles that deliver grocery items to grocery stores, when such items are to be made available for sale to the public, are exempt from having to comply with any City rules and regulations that limit the hours for such deliveries, including, without limitation, Section 9.28.080 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code.
  • All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades will be closed to the public.
  • All gyms and fitness centers will be closed to the public.
  • All businesses providing physical health and beauty services, including spas, hair salons, massage parlors, and nail salons, that do not provide medical care or services that supplement medical care as directed by medical professionals will be closed to the public.

The Order will go into effect at noon on March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2020, at 11:59pm.

March 15, 2020

Temporary Closure of the Santa Monica Pier

Tonight, the City of Santa Monica issued an executive order to temporarily close the Santa Monica Pier to the public as part of its local emergency proclamation. This follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for events and gatherings, whether planned or spontaneous, that include 50 or more people to be canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Beginning at 6am March 16, 2020, the Santa Monica Pier, parking deck, and Pier businesses will be closed to people and cars.

March 14, 2020

Local State of Emergency Declaration

The City of Santa Monica issued a local emergency proclamation on March 13, 2020 following federal, state, and county declarations. Public Health officials advise social distancing measures at this time. Here is a list of measures you can take.

March 12, 2020

Event Guidelines from the CA Department of Health and the City of Santa Monica

The City of Santa Monica has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Level 2 as of this morning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a current focus on implementing guidelines regarding public events and gatherings to ensure social distancing. In accordance with California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance issued last night, all City departments were provided updated direction regarding events, programs, activities and gatherings. We are passing this along to you all immediately for your awareness, and to facilitate alignment and coordination.

All City departments have been asked to take steps to postpone or cancel events, programs, activities, and gatherings through the end of March as follows:

  • Gatherings for high-risk individuals (older adults or people with chronic medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression) should be postponed, canceled, or limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled.
  • All other non-essential gatherings should be postponed or cancelled.  This includes non-essential meetings of Boards and Commissions (likely all Boards and Commissions other than the Planning Commission, which it will discuss with PCD).  The City currently plans to hold the March 24th Council meeting, though it will make a decision closer to the time as to the form of that meeting.
  • Internal meetings of 5 of more City staff should be conducted via video or teleconference.
  • Essential gatherings of less than 250 people can take place but must be held in venues that allow social distancing of six feet per person.  If you have questions about whether an event is essential, please contact the Santa Monica Office of Emergency Management at 310-458-2201 x2156.

To cancel or postpone events, programs, activities, and gatherings, staff should contact the Santa Monica Office of Emergency Management at 310-458-2201 x2156 for support with the following:

  • Public communications
  • Contracts with third parties (vendors, co-sponsors, etc.)
  • Refunds or other financial implications
  • Cost recovery tracking
March 5, 2020

Los Angeles County Update on Coronavirus

On March 4th, 2020 Los Angeles County declared a local public health emergency regarding the coronavirus to further draw down resources from both the federal and state level of government.

Currently, the immediate risk in the United States and California is low and there are no confirmed cases in Santa Monica. Los Angeles County has stressed, “there is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and Los Angeles County visitors are encouraged to engage in their regular activities and practice good public health hygiene.” While the government has not suggested limiting domestic travel, or imposing restrictions on international inbound travel beyond those already in place, this is clearly a rapidly evolving situation.

To help communicate with visitors to Santa Monica who may have concerns, we have created a landing page at We will be continually updating information and posting on this website, so please feel free to share with visitors who express concerns and be sure to check back regularly for updates.

Symptoms of the Coronavirus are much like the flu and pneumonia. We would like to share a few preventative measures with you:

  • Stay at home when sick, even with mild fever and respiratory illness
  • Wash hands frequently and for 20 seconds
  • Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or elbow, appropriately dispose of soiled tissues, and wash hands afterward
  • Avoid close contact with those who are ill
  • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not done so this flu season

Here are some extra guidelines that you and your organization can follow to prepare:

  • Create a household or business disaster kit with 7 days of essentials including food, water, sanitation supplies, and basic medications. OEM Recommended Disaster Kit Items
  • Sign up for SM Alerts and Santa Monica social media to get the latest Santa Monica emergency and public safety updates

If you are organizing a public event, the California Department of Public Health has updated guidance available at



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At LA’s Nail Salons, Latest Lockdown Cuts to the Quick

By Sabrina Amrane

Monday, December 14, 2020

L.A. County had the nation’s largest percentage of nail salon workers and businesses.

L.A. County had the nation’s largest percentage of nail salon workers and businesses. Photo by Thomas Wasper

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.

Hair Salon in Santa Monica - Call Zaine (310) 451-0295

City of Santa Monica Issues Emergency Order for Temporary Business Closures to the Public the Slow the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 16, 2020 11:30 AM

UPDATE: All orders associated with the local COVID-19 emergency have been extended to April 30, 2020. All local emergency orders are available at 

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Today, effective at noon, City of Santa Monica issued a supplement to the local emergency proclamation that requires two week closure of the following businesses: 

  • All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed to the public. 
  • Any bars or nightclubs that serve food may remain open only for purposes of continuing to prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service or to be picked up. Dine-in food service is prohibited. 
  • All restaurants and retail food facilities are prohibited from serving food for consumption on premises. Restaurants and retail food facilities may continue to operate for purposes of preparing and offering food to customers via delivery service, to be picked up or for drive-thru. For those establishments offering food pick-up options, proprietors are directed to establish social distancing practices for those patrons in the queue for pick-up. 
  • The following are exempt from this Order: (i) cafeterias, commissaries, and restaurants located within hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities; (ii) grocery stores; (iii) pharmacies; and (iv) food banks. 
  • Trucks and other vehicles that deliver grocery items to grocery stores, when such items are to be made available for sale to the public, are exempt from having to comply with any City rules and regulations that limit the hours for such deliveries, including, without limitation, Section 9.28.080 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code. 
  • All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades will be closed to the public. 
  • All gyms and fitness centers will be closed to the public. 
  • All businesses providing physical health and beauty services, including spas, hair salons, massage parlors, and nail salons, that do not provide medical care or services that supplement medical care as directed by medical professionals will be closed to the public. 

“This virus knows no boundaries. Cities working together is the way to have the most impact and the least confusion”, said City Manager Rick Cole. “Stay calm, stay informed, and stay healthy! We will work together to get through this.” 

The Order will go into effect at noon on March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.   

Executive Order - Temporary Business Closures




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California lifts virus stay-at-home orders, curfew statewide


California lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state Monday in response to improving coronavirus conditions, returning the state to a system of county-by-county restrictions. 

The order had been in place in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, covering the majority of the state’s counties. 

The change allows restaurants and churches to resume outdoor operations and hair and nail salons to reopen in many areas, though local officials could choose to impose stricter rules. The state is also lifting a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

“Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner,” Dr. Tomas Aragon, the state’s public health director, said in a statement.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected to address the public later Monday. Public officials in some of California’s major cities and counties indicated they could soon lift local restrictions. 

“We will be moving forward with some limited re-openings, including outdoor dining and personal services,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a tweet.

Orange County planned to lift some restrictions as well, said Jessica Good, a spokesperson for the county health agency. In Los Angeles County, home to 10 million people, Republican Supervisor Kathryn Barger expressed support for opening outdoor dining, personal care services and other industries and said the state must balance public health with “devastating social, emotional and economic impacts of this virus.” Los Angeles County public health officials are expected to hold a briefing later Monday.

The state’s decision came amid improving trends in California’s rate of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care unit capacity as well as vaccinations. 

Newsom, a Democrat, imposed the stay-at-home order in December as coronavirus cases worsened. 

Under the system, a multi-county region had to shut down most businesses and order people to stay home if ICU capacity dropped below 15%. An 11-county Northern California region was never under the order and the Greater Sacramento Region exited the order last week. The state makes its decisions based on four-week projections showing ICU capacity improving, but officials have not disclosed the  data behind the forecasts.

During the weekend, San Francisco Bay Area ICU capacity surged to 23% while the San Joaquin Valley agricultural region increased to 1.3%, its first time above zero. The huge Southern California region, the most populous, remains at zero ICU capacity.

Republicans said Newsom was relaxing the rules in response to political pressure and the threat of a recall. Republican organizers have until mid-March to gather 1.5 million signatures to force a recall against Newsom, who is halfway through his first term. 

“This Governor’s decisions have never been based on science. Him re-opening our state is not an attempt to help working Californians, but rather an attempt to counter the Recall Movement. It’s sad and pathetic,” California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson tweeted.

The criticism wasn’t limited to Newsom’s partisan political opponents.

Jeff Smith, the Santa Clara County executive, said his county had no plans to impose stricter rules but criticized the state’s decision.

“Essentially it’s a decision being made politically that puts people’s lives at risk, especially in Southern California,” he told The Mercury News. 

Democratic Assemblywoman Laura Friedman of Glendale said state lawmakers have been out of the loop on changing rules.

“If you think state legislators were blindsided by, and confused about, the shifting & confusing public health directives, you’d be correct,” she tweeted. “If you think we have been quiet about it in Sacramento, you’d be wrong.”

Early last year, the state developed a system of color-coded tiers that dictated the level of restrictions on businesses and individuals based on virus conditions in each of California’s 58 counties. 

Most counties will now go back to the most restrictive purple tier, which allows for outdoor dining, hair and nail salons to be open, and outdoor church services. Bars that only serve beverages cannot be open.

The county-by-county tier system uses various metrics to determine the risk of community transmission and apply a color code — purple, red, orange or yellow — which correspond to widespread, substantial, moderate and minimal, respectively.

As of the weekend, California has had more than 3.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 36,790 deaths, according to the state’s public health website.


Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press journalists Janie Har in San Francisco and Amy Taxin in Orange County contributed.


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