You’ve Got COVID-19 Questions, and We’ve Got Answers!
April 20, 2020 9:00 AM
by Julie Wedig
On April 4, we published answers to pressing COVID-19 questions from the community. Two weeks later, new questions are surfacing to the top. Since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we’ve received 4,000 calls, over 1,400 emails, and about 14,000 social media interactions from our community.
We are here for you every day to answer your questions. If you have additional questions not answered on our blog, check out our COVID-19 FAQ page or reach out to our Coronavirus Customer Service Center at (310) 458-8400, which operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. You can also email us your questions at email@example.com. Please do not call 9-1-1 for non-life-threatening emergencies.
Safer at Home Questions
Am I allowed to go outside or to the park?
Yes. Although everyone is required to stay home, you can still leave home to get food or supplies, care for a relative, friend, or pet, get necessary health care, exercise, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least six feet of distance from other non-household members. If you are sick, you should stay in your home to the fullest extent possible, except to seek medical care.
Along with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, we advise members of the general public to use a clean non-medical face covering. If you cannot maintain six feet of physical distance between yourself and others, you must wear a face covering.
While most parks remain open, for the health and safety of all residents and visitors, the beach, beach bike path, Ocean Front Walk, and Palisades Park have been temporarily closed through May 15. City officials urge the region to stay at home and physically distance in all public spaces. Residents are encouraged to take a walk near their home, ensuring 6 feet of distance between them and others and wear a face covering if the six feet of distance cannot be maintained between non-household members. Santa Monica beach parking was closed on March 22 to support this effort.
What do I do if I see people not maintain the six feet of physical distance?
If it’s a large group, please notify us by calling the Santa Monica Police Non-Emergency line at (310) 458-8491.
Face Coverings Questions
Where am I required to wear a face covering?
All Employees and Patrons at open businesses in Santa Monica are now required to wear protective face coverings in accordance with LA County Department of Public Health Guidelines. All residents of the City are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings whenever they go outside their homes to obtain essential services and goods if six feet between non-household members cannot be maintained, as defined by the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and the County Department of Public Health’s Safer at Home Order. Guidance from LA County Department of Public Health and CDC call for the general public to use non-medical grade face coverings when out for essential supplies and services. Please continue to leave medical grade face masks like N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers and other essential workers.
You can read answers to more face covering questions in this blog post.
What do I do if I see workers not wearing masks or face coverings?
The City of Santa Monica’s emergency orders are enforceable by the Santa Monica Police Department and any City Officer or employee granted authority to issue written notices. If you would like to report a business that is not following orders, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Code Enforcement at (310) 458-4984.
My employer is unaware of the face covering rules and it’s causing problems. What do I do?
You can provide your employer with the official City of Santa Monica information regarding the supplemental order requiring workers and patrons to wear face coverings at essential businesses. As Part of the LA County Department of Public Health Stay at Home Order, LA County also has requirements for posting a Social Distancing Protocol Form. If your employer refuses to comply, please notify us at email@example.com or by calling Code Enforcement at (310) 458-4984.
Food & Farmers Market Questions
Where do I get help with grocery delivery?
Many businesses are offering delivery, curbside pickup and takeout options. This map shows the businesses offering these services.
For a list of organizations including Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army and LA County Workforce Development Aging Community Services providing transportation and food delivery, check out the Community Resources Website. Information is also available on this website about an Emergency Food Bank that has been established at Virginia Avenue Park.
You can also ask a neighbor, friend, or family member for delivery assistance.
Why is the Farmer’s Market Open during the public health emergency?
The Santa Monica Farmers Market allows access to essential groceries like fresh produce. All markets will continue offering CalFresh/EBT for low income shoppers. The market's continuation of service will also minimize economic impacts to participating small Farmers, so they remain able to serve the market community in the months and years to come.
Please note, we 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 market at the current downtown farmers market location for the duration of the County and State Stay at Home Orders. The consolidated market will be open beginning Saturday, April 18. By having a single market on Saturdays, customer trips to multiple markets are reduced, customers can now access all available products at one market and reduce the risk for customers, vendors and staff to potentially be exposed to COVID-19. By shifting to the downtown market location, there is also more space to physically distance between customers and vendors.
The consolidation also allows for more customers to have access the Market Match, a supplementary food assistance program thereby supporting greater food security. This program allows people who receive CalFresh to receive $10 in vouchers, which can be used on fruits, vegetables and some nuts. This program is available at the Saturday market, and to join you simply go to the information booth and inquire.
What health and safety measures have been put in place at the Farmers Markets?
Great question! All vendors and customers are requested to avoid the market for non-essential visits, if ill, and if concerned of potential COVID-19 transmission. Face coverings are required for vendors, customers and staff and physical distancing (6 feet apart!) is required. Additional handwashing stations and entrance and exit lines have been implemented and there is more space between vendors. Customers are also asked to not handle produce prior to purchasing.
For more information about the consolidated Farmers Market and safety guidelines, visit this recent blog post.
Eviction Moratorium & Rent
Where can I find guidance as a landlord for complying with eviction moratorium?
When am I required to pay rent again?
As of April 8, 2020, the moratorium is in effect through May 31, 2020, unless extended by the City. The City may extend this date as appropriate to address the local emergency. Landlords may collect rent that is delayed under the moratorium six months after the moratorium ends.
When does street sweeping resume?
Street sweeping in the beach parking lots and in the Downtown Santa Monica area will continue as regularly scheduled. Street sweeping has been temporarily suspended in all other areas through May 15, 2020 so community members do not have to move their vehicles on street sweeping days. We remain committed to keeping Santa Monica streets clean. If you need to report a maintenance issue, please use the City’s Santa Monica Works system on smgov.net/santamonicaworks.
What construction is allowed during this time?
Yes, all types of construction are currently permitted by the State and County Safer at Home Orders; however, construction sites must comply with the County's Guidance on Construction Sites and adhere to Santa Monica’s stronger local enforcement for social distancing and hygiene requirements issued on April 1, 2020 as a tenth supplement to the local emergency declaration.
Here is a summary of County's Guidance on Construction Sites.
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, and
- workers to maintain a six-foot social distance during breaks.
At residential construction sites, steps must be taken to minimize contact with areas within the building but not within the construction site and to clean and sanitize those areas regularly.
Failure to comply with the County's or the City's requirements may be subject to City enforcement, including potential stoppage of work.
The City has also prepared and distributed to active construction projects best practices available here and on our Coronavirus Business Resources page to reduce the spread of the coronavirus at construction projects and sites.
Keep your questions coming!
We keep our Coronavirus FAQ’s updated daily at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-faq. Stay informed: