Santa Monica’s Code Enforcement Team Keeps Community Safe
February 18, 2021 2:45 PM
by Sharon Guidry
Before COVID-19, Santa Monica’s Code Enforcement team was hard at work on scooter education and street vending along with other important life and health safety enforcement details. But once COVID-19 arrived in March and Health Officer Orders were implemented, the City needed to shift enforcement to new compliance issues to support public health and safety during this unprecedented pandemic.
First, the City’s Emergency Order Compliance Group has been working tirelessly on the frontlines to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Their dedication to COVID-19 education and enforcement is part of the core services the City has provided during the pandemic.
Since March 2020, this team issued 260 COVID-19 business citations and 73 stop-work orders at construction sites. They completed over 57,800 business compliance checks with only 4% resulting in citations, showing overwhelming compliance from businesses.
With face covering citations beginning in July, this team completed 27,212 face covering checks, distributed 3,317 face coverings, issued 63 citations, and directed 1169 people to leave a business because they refused to wear a face covering.
In October 2020, the City expanded COVID-19 compliance efforts with the addition of four “Health Ambassadors” who focus on safe business operations and face covering education. These Health Ambassadors serve as force multipliers for the City’s Code Enforcement team and help increase public compliance with COVID-19 public health and safety emergency orders, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Santa Monica community. To further expand compliance efforts, five additional ambassadors were brought on to assist with compliance in Santa Monica in December 2020. During the midyear budget process, two additional Code Enforcement Officers were added as part of a set of community enhancements made through savings from vacant police officer positions.
In addition to the City’s health ambassadors, the Emergency Order Compliance Group works to educate and at times enforce compliance of LA County and City emergency orders with face covering details, and coordinated efforts to respond to large gatherings and events across Santa Monica. The team recently partnered with Big Blue Bus on a face covering compliance campaign targeting passengers who are actively riding the bus through education, distributing face coverings, and enforcement through citations when necessary.
On Super Bowl Sunday, in anticipation of a large party, Code Enforcement coordinated an effort to suspend water service at a property that was identified as holding weekly events in violation of the County's health officer orders. As a result, the event was canceled due to the City’s proactive action.
While there is hope on the horizon with COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available this year, we expect local and regional emergency orders to protect the community’s health will be with us for some time. This team will continue to serve on the frontline seven days a week to promote compliance, with support from Health Ambassadors, Santa Monica Police Department, and its Public Services Officers.
For the latest COVID-19 information or to report a large gathering or event, please visit Santa Monica’s COVID-19 Enforcement dashboard, call the City’s Coronavirus Hotline at (310) 458-8400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report an urgent concern about public health compliance during non-business hours, please report the incident to the Santa Monica Public Safety Communications non-emergency line at 310-458-849.