COVID-19: For the latest local coronavirus information, visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus. Questions? Call 310-458-8400 or email email@example.com, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily. Please leave 9-1-1 open for emergency calls to help ensure emergency phone lines are used for life threatening circumstances only.
COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions regarding the City of Santa Monica’s emergency preparedness efforts and local response to the coronavirus. The L.A. County Department of Public Health has FAQs available on their site along with resources for employers and schools in multiple languages.
General Information and Updates
How do I get regular updates about this public health emergency?
- Emergency alerts: santamonica.gov/alerts
- City of Santa Monica newsletter: smgov.net/newsletter
- Social media:
If my questions are not answered here, who can I contact?
The City of Santa Monica launched a new hotline 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We care about our community in this challenging moment and look forward to connecting 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. We will continue to respond through social media. Please remember that new information is available daily at www.santamonica.gov/coronavirus.
Where can I find additional information about the Novel Coronavirus?
- LA County Department of Public Health or dial 2-1-1
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Information
- City of Santa Monica Office of Emergency Management
Is construction permitted?
Yes, all types of construction are currently permitted by the State and County Safer at Home Orders; however, construction sites must 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.
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 not to gather in groups larger than three during breaks and to maintain a six-foot social distance during such 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 these 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 to reduce the spread of the coronavirus at construction projects and sites.
I work at a construction site. What can I do to create a safe work environment?
Construction workers and businesses engaged in construction must comply with the State and County Safer at Home Orders and Santa Monica’s more restrictive social distancing and hygiene requirements set forth in the City’s tenth supplement to the local emergency declaration.
In addition, Santa Monica has prepared the Recommended Best Practices for Construction Sites that provides specific steps you can take to practice physical distancing and to properly clean your jobsites.
These guidelines include:
- Maintaining physical distancing of at least six feet between crew members, to the greatest extent feasible;
- Routine cleaning of the construction site, including frequently touched surfaces, common break areas, and cleaning of any shared tools or equipment before and after use; and
- Prohibiting entrance to the site to:
- Individuals who are ill or exhibiting symptoms of illness;
- Individuals who have returned from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19;
- Individuals who have been in close contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19; or
- Individuals who are living in the same household or are caring for a person in a non-healthcare setting, with symptoms of a respiratory illness.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines could be subject to enforcement by the City, including significant penalties and potential stoppage of work.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com or call 310-458-8355.
There is construction in my building, where workers are not complying with physical distancing or proper environmental cleaning practices. What should I do?
Per county and state orders, construction is permitted, but it needs to be done following important public health guidelines and in compliance with Santa Monica’s more restrictive social distancing and hygiene requirements set forth in the City’s tenth supplement to the local emergency declaration tenth supplement. We are proactively reminding active projects in Santa Monica to abide by the health guidelines and are asking them to be a responsible neighbor during this public health emergency. We also issued stronger local enforcement measures that allow the City’s Building Official to shut down work if these guidelines are not followed. To report a project you believe is out of compliance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Safer at Home" Directives
How Does the Governor's Directive of "Safer at Home" Apply to Me?
The Governor and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have both advised Californians that they are safer at home. The orders are in effect until further notice. They are enforceable by state and local authorities. Enforcement will focus on education and compliance to ensure the public safety of all.
Can I Leave My Home?
Everyone is required to stay home except to get food or supplies, care for a relative, friend, or pet, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance from other non-household members. Note that due to overcrowding, the County has closed all trails and beaches for the time being. If you are sick, you should stay in your home to the extent possible, except to seek medical care.
Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services. However, most government offices, including Santa Monica City Hall, are closed to the public.
All City playgrounds will be closed to protect the public health. Park facilities, including recreation centers, skate parks, and tennis and basketball courts, are also closed. The parks themselves currently remain open during regular park hours, except for Palisades Park, which is now closed until the end of the emergency. If you go out, keep at least 6 feet of distance from other non-household members.
Only essential businesses are permitted to stay open while the County’s Order is in effect. For a comprehensive listing of which businesses are considered essential and which are non-essential, please refer to the County’s Order (available here) and the County’s Safer at Home Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses (available here). Here are examples of businesses considered essential and allowed to remain open, and those that are considered non-essential and are closed.
What practices are essential businesses required to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
All Essential Businesses are required to practice the following infection control precautions:
- Practice social distancing by requiring everyone in the establishment to be separated by six (6) feet, whenever possible.
- Provide access to handwashing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Post a sign in a visible place at the entrance instructing the public to not enter if they have symptoms of respiratory illness, including fever or cough.
- Adhere to communicable disease control recommendations provided by Public Health.
Can non-essential businesses maintain minimum basic operations while they are closed to the public?
Yes, non-essential businesses are permitted to perform minimum basic operations, which are basic activities to maintain inventory, ensure security, perform related tasks, or to allow employees to work remotely from their residences, only if the employees maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another.
What resources are there available for businesses or workers that have been impacted by the coronavirus?
Will I get cited if I go outside?
No, please get fresh air for your mental health. But, don't make this a time to meet with friends or go to high traffic areas when you can see large crowds. Be smart and protect yourself by maintaining six feet of physical distance. While you now know we can enforce Safer at Home orders, that's not our goal. Our focus is education!
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. The most important measure is to stay home and when out for essential trips, maintain six feet of physical distance and frequently wash your hands. Please continue to leave medical grade face masks like N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers and other essentiwl workers.
California's Department of Public Health has helpful public health information for the use of cloth face coverings by the general public when outside the home conducting essential activities, including instructions on how to care for a cloth face covering.
Who is responsible for providing direction to the City regarding an infectious disease protocol?
The LA County Department of Public Health is the lead agency responsible for coronavirus response countywide. The City of Santa Monica works in partnership with the Department of Public Health and other local, state and federal health officials to receive guidance and coordinate response. Effective action against any infectious public health threat in a County with 88 cities requires working together rather than separately.
I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. What should I do?
Most people with respiratory infections like colds, the flu, and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) will have mild illness and can get better with appropriate home care and without the need to see a provider. People who are elderly, pregnant, or have a weak immune system, or other medical problem are at higher risk of more serious illness or complications. It is recommended that they carefully monitor their symptoms closely and seek medical care early if their symptoms get worse. Public Health home care instructions for people with mild respiratory infection. If you have difficulty breathing, keeping fluids down, or are experiencing severe symptoms, go to an emergency room or call 911.
How can I get testing for COVID-19?
The County of Los Angeles has set up this website with the latest information and FAQs about testing.
I do not have a primary care physician. How can I get testing for COVID-19?
The County Department of Public and Human and Health Services have requested people without a primary care provider to call 2-1-1 and find doctors who are available to test within LA County. The County has shared that residents will be able to use this resource for free. Hospitals have limited supply of tests so if you do not have the symptoms, hospitals are not conducting tests in LA County at this time due to limited supply.
I see people who are visibly sick or not taking precautions to stay safe (including social distancing, safe food prep and diligent handwashing). Who do I report this to?
I am experiencing loneliness or feelings of isolation. Where can I find mental health services?
To connect to services, please contact LA County Department of Mental Health ACCESS Hotline at 800-854-7771. Available 24/7 and available to provide mental health support, resources, and referrals. They also have a website with several mental health resources: dmh.lacounty.gov/covid-19-information/.
Can I travel?
The CDC and the State Department is the authority on travel guidance. Check the following webpages for updated recommendations before you travel.
Should I stop attending events with crowds of people?
Based on guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the City of Santa Monica is cancelling all gatherings, including events, programs, and activities through April 30. This includes events hosted by the City of Santa Monica and other groups.
What if I am symptomatic or have been tested?
Follow all guidance from the LA County Department of Public Health: Self-isolate and act is if you have a positive result. Do not go out for essential trips - lean on others outside your home for assistance. Notify any close contacts so they can take the same measures.
What is the City doing to respond to the Novel Coronavirus?
The City is working closely with the LA County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health to take measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of March 12, 2020, the City activated our Emergency Operations Center. We are closely coordinating with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Santa Monica College, and other major institutions in our community, including our two hospitals.
How does the City plan for events like this?
The City’s leadership has created plans and protocols for emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza and Ebola. The City’s emergency personnel are trained and capable to respond to any emerging disease, including the novel coronavirus, and implement appropriate healthcare protocols.
Will the City continue to operate normally if the novel coronavirus arrives here?
The City has plans in place to ensure all critical functions of City government remain operational during emergency events including infectious disease emergencies. Non-essential services may be curtailed in coordination with Countywide response measures. We will take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of our community during this health emergency.
Street Cleaning, Trash and Recycling
Is street cleaning happening on schedule?
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 April 30, 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.
Should I continue to place recyclable materials in the blue bin?
Yes. While some Material Recovery Facilities are currently sending recyclable materials to the landfill to protect their workers from COVID-19 infection, the City of Santa Monica is working to identify recyclers who have protective health measures in place for their workers and are able to continue recycling our materials. During the current pandemic conditions, the City will continue to recycle materials to the maximum extent practicable.
Can I still park at the Santa Monica Beach Lots, and do I still need to pay?
All Beach Lots, Pier Deck parking and Main Library parking are closed until April 30.
Will street parking be enforced?
Preferential parking rules in neighborhoods, street sweeping regulations, and parking restrictions in green zones have been suspended through April 30. Vehicle towing is suspended for abandoned vehicles, expired registration and delinquent parking citations. All other parking regulations, including yellow curb zone, time limit zones not within a residential preferential parking zone, and parking meter fees and regulations, are being enforced.
I’m having trouble getting through to someone at the parking center, what should I do?
The City of Santa Monica’s Parking Center line is receiving a high number of calls. Please email email@example.com for a faster response. If your question is related to the City’s response to COVID-19, please call out hotline 31-458-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I be fined if my residential parking permits expires during this emergency?
We realize many annual residential parking permits may lapse or new residents are unable to apply for permanent parking permits during the COVID-19 public health emergency. If your parking permit lapses, please continue to display your permit on your dashboard for the zone you are permitted to park in. The Santa Monica Police Department will not to ticket you as long as you are parking in your permitted zone.
For people who can renew online, we highly encourage you to do this by visiting:https://www.smgov.net/departments/pcd/permits/preferential-parking-permits/
Do I still need to pay at my parking meters?
You need to pay for parking at all Santa Monica parking meters or you may be fined. We are trying to encourage turn over in spaces for food delivery and and pick up.
Why not make downtown parking free?
There is a 90 minute grace period for people to park for free in Santa Monica’s downtown parking structures. These 90 minutes should be sufficient for customers to access their downtown business needs. The incremental cost to stay longer than 90 minutes is moderate. All Santa Monica beach lots are now closed.
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions to better inform the community about the City’s moratorium on terminations of tenancy and evictions:
What is the City’s moratorium on terminations of tenancy and evictions?
The City’s moratorium prohibits a landlord from endeavoring to evict a tenant under certain circumstances, including:
- nonpayment of rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19
- no-fault evictions (including restrictions related to Ellis Act withdrawals)
- denial of entry by the landlord, with exceptions
- presence of unauthorized occupants or their pets, or nuisance, with exceptions
- if the landlord failed to give notice required under the moratorium
This means that if a tenant is protected under the moratorium, a landlord may not take any action to evict a tenant, including but not limited to, issuing an eviction notice, filing an unlawful detainer, or seeking to terminate a tenancy or evict a tenant through other means. In addition, if a tenant is protected is under the moratorium, then the tenant has an affirmative defense to an unlawful detainer action taken in violation of the moratorium.
Why did the City pass a moratorium on terminations of tenancy and evictions?
The City issued the moratorium as a part of its emergency order in response to the spread of COVID-19. The moratorium is a necessary measure to protect the health and safety of the City’s residents, workers, and visitors. Under statewide and countywide safer-at-home orders and guidance, residents should stay at home, rather than be subject to evictions or look for another place to live.
When did the moratorium go into effect?
The moratorium went into effect on March 14, 2020 and has been revised since that date.
How long is the moratorium in effect?
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.
How does the eviction moratorium protect the rights and interests of landlords?
Landlords may continue to collect rent from tenants who experienced no adverse financial effects related to COVID-19. Landlords may also collect rent that is delayed under the moratorium six months after the moratorium ends.
Do landlords have to give a tenant notice of the moratorium?
Yes, beginning on April 24, 2020, landlords must provide tenants notice of the moratorium in the following ways:
First, a landlord must provide the tenant with a notice that states:
You might be protected from eviction under certain circumstances, including failure to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19. In addition, you may be protected from eviction for no-fault evictions, evictions for denying entry to your landlord under certain circumstances, and evictions for unauthorized occupants or their pets, and some types of nuisance. For additional information, contact the City of Santa Monica’s Coronavirus Hotline at (310) 458-8400 or visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus.
The notice must be either sent to the tenant by mail or email, or posted in a conspicuous place at the building. It must be written in the language that the landlord normally uses for verbal communications with the tenant.
Second, the notice must be included with any Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, and any other notice given as part of an eviction process.
Third, the notice must be provided to the tenant in the event that the landlord files an eviction lawsuit in court. In addition, if a landlord does file an eviction lawsuit, the landlord must also serve a copy of the complaint to the tenant within three days.
Can a landlord evict a tenant for non-payment of rent related to COVID-19?
A landlord may not evict a tenant for non-payment of rent related to COVID-19 while the moratorium is in effect and for six months thereafter. This applies to rent that was due between March 14, 2020 and May 31, 2020, unless extended by the City.
After the six month deferral period is over, may a landlord pursue back rent through an eviction process even though the landlord has also obtained relief or compensation from another source?
No. The order prohibits a landlord from using the eviction process to recover delayed rent if the landlord has already been compensated for the unpaid rent through federal or state government relief funds or other programs that provide such compensation.
How does a landlord know if a tenant failed to pay rent for a reason related to COVID-19?
A landlord knows that a tenant failed to pay rent for a reason related to COVID-19 if the tenant provides documentation to support that claim. The tenant’s documentation is presumed to demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 if the documentation shows any loss of income or increase in expenses, along with a written statement from the tenant that the loss of income or increase in expenses is due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.
What steps do tenants need to take if they cannot pay rent for a reason related to COVID-19?
First, tenants should check to see if the moratorium covers the relevant time period. The moratorium only applies to rent that was due between March 14, 2020 and May 31, 2020.
Next, tenants must contact their landlords within 30 days after rent is due to inform the landlords that they cannot pay rent because of financial impacts related to COVID-19. Also within 30 days after rent is due, tenants must provide their landlords with documentation to support this claim. We encourage tenants to contact their landlords immediately and to provide documentation as soon as possible.
What type of documentation can a tenant use to show that the tenant cannot pay rent because of financial impacts related to COVID-19?
There are many ways that a tenant might be financially impacted by COVID-19. These include, but are not limited to job loss; a reduction of work hours; and the need to miss work to care for a child or someone sick with COVID-19.
There are also many ways that a tenant can provide supporting documentation. Examples include, but are not limited to: a letter from an employer citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced work hours or termination; paycheck stubs from before and after the COVID-19 outbreak; and bank statements showing the finance situation before and after the COVID-19 outbreak.
The tenant’s documentation is presumed to demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 if the documentation shows any loss of income or increase in expenses, along with a written statement from the tenant that the loss of income or increase in expenses is due to financial impacts related to COVID-19.
Once a landlord knows that the tenant was financially impacted by COVID-19, the landlord should not take any further steps toward termination or eviction.
Are tenants excused from ever paying rent that was due during the moratorium?
No. The moratorium gives tenants additional time to pay rent, but it does not waive the tenant’s obligation to pay the rent at the end of the deferral period. The deferral period is six months following the expiration of the moratorium. The moratorium expires May 31, 2020, unless extended by the City.
On March 27, 2020, the Governor of California issued Order N-37-20 to provide eviction protections. Does this order apply here in Santa Monica?
The Governor’s Order (Executive Order N-37-20), has statewide effect, so it does apply in Santa Monica. It provides a tenant more time to prepare a response to an eviction lawsuit, under certain circumstances. Tenants in Santa Monica get the protections provided by both orders from the State of California and the City of Santa Monica.
What protections does the Governor’s Order (Executive Order N-37-20) provide?
The Governor’s Order (Executive Order N-37-20) gives a tenant additional time to respond after a landlord files an eviction lawsuit in court. Usually, if a landlord files an eviction lawsuit in court, a tenant must file a written response in court within 5 days of being serviced with the summons and complaint. Under the Governor’s Order, this period of time is extended to 60 if three conditions are met. First, the tenant paid rent to the landlord before March 27, 2020. Second, the tenant informs the landlord that he or she cannot pay rent due to loss of income related to COVID-19. Third, the tenant holds on to documentation to prove that the loss of income is related to COVID-19.
How can a tenant in Santa Monica get the protections offered by the Governor’s Order (Executive Order N-37-20) and the City’s moratorium?
Under the Governor’s Order (Executive Order N-37-20), in order to get 60 days instead of 5 days to respond to an unlawful detainer, the tenant must notify the landlord within 7 days after rent is due. Under the City’s moratorium, a tenant must provide the landlord with written notice and documentation, within 30 days from the date the rent is due.
We encourage tenants to notify and provide supporting documentation to the landlord as soon as possible. Although it is not required, we especially encourage tenants to notify and provide supporting documentation to the landlord before rent is due. The sooner the tenant provides that documentation, the soon he or she can head off the next step toward termination or eviction.
EXAMPLE: Marianne’s rent was due on April 1, 2020. She is currently laid off due to the pandemic-related orders and has a letter from her employer to that effect. If she gave that letter and other supporting documentation showing lost income to her landlord by April 1 or before he serves a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, then under the City’s moratorium, he cannot serve the Notice on her. If she gives him the letter after the Notice to Pay Rent Or Quit is served, then he should not file an eviction lawsuit (called an “unlawful detainer”) against her.
And as long as Marianne gives the landlord the letter by April 8 (seven days after the rent is due) she also gets the benefit of the Governor’s new order allowing her more time to file a response to the lawsuit (which the landlord should not have done anyway, under the City’s moratorium.)
Finally, to give Marianne enough time to gather the supporting documentation, the City’s Order gives her 30 days to provide it. Once the landlord gets it, even though he may have already served a Notice or filed the unlawful detainer, he must stop all efforts at eviction. In addition, she still has an affirmative defense if an unlawful detainer has been filed. But if she waits more than 7 days after rent is due to notify her landlord, she will not get the benefit of the Governor’s Order of additional time to file a response to the lawsuit.
May a landlord attempt to evict a tenant who denies entry to the landlord?
Generally, no. During the moratorium, a landlord may not evict a tenant for refusing entry to the landlord. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and the virus can last for days on several types of surfaces. Landlords should not enter homes, especially the homes of those with COVID-19 risk factors, unless it is for a critical repair or emergency involving a condition that makes the apartment uninhabitable. (Even before the emergency, California Civil Code section 1954 put strict limits on how and when a landlord can enter a tenant’s home.)
Therefore, the only exception to the eviction ban in this situation is if the tenant unreasonably denies entry when the landlord wants to repair a condition that substantially endangers or impairs the health or safety of a 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. A burst water pipe that is causing water damage to the unit below would be an example of such a condition.
EXAMPLE: Belinda is a Santa Monica tenant in her seventies and suffers from severe asthma. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with her age and medical condition, Belinda is understandably concerned about any entries by her landlord or his agents into her home. Dan, the building’s landlord, has just notified her by email that he plans to send his property manager to her apartment the next day to finally check on a dripping kitchen faucet she reported last month and also to show the unit to a potential buyer of the building.
Belinda writes back to say she is not allowing entry at this time. Since the reasons for the entry do not involve a dangerous or threatening condition, Dan may not serve any eviction notice, file an eviction lawsuit, or otherwise begin an eviction process in response to Belinda’s refusal to allow an entry.
What safety measures should a landlord take if an entry to a tenant’s unit is required?
If a landlord wants to fix a condition described in the FAQ above, the landlord must not allow entry by any person who is, or is believed to be a carrier of the COVID-19 virus. Once entry takes place the landlord must ensure that appropriate social distancing, cleaning, and sanitation measures are taken to protect from risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus during the entry.
Such measures must include consideration of the following: 1) the tenant’s report that the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household has or believes in good faith to have been recently exposed to the COVID-19 virus; and 2) the tenant’s report that the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household is at a higher risk for more serious complications from the COVID-19 virus.
EXAMPLE : Following up on Belinda’s example from the FAQ above, if a burst water pipe is later discovered (perhaps leaking into the apartment below), then Dan can coordinate with Belinda to enter the apartment.
For that planned entry, Dan would have to take into account that Belinda’s age and severe asthma put her at a higher risk for more serious complications from the virus. Dan or his agent would have to take all the safety precautions advised by the Centers for Disease Control and industry guidance, including: 1) maintain social distancing of at least six feet from all occupants; 2) wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, mask, and safety glasses; 3) wash hands for 20 seconds before entering the unit; 4) not enter the unit if he has the three COVID-19 symptoms recognized by the CDC—fever, cough, or shortness of breath; 5) not touch his face; 6) sanitize the gloves and any equipment being brought into the unit; and, 7) before leaving, wash or sanitize any surfaces touched during the entry.
Belinda herself could also do the following: 1) maintain social distancing; 2) wash hands for 20 seconds before and after the entry; 3) contain any pets or service animals from the work area during the repair; and, 4) make sure that either she or the repair person has cleaned or disinfected the area in which work was done.
May a landlord attempt to terminate the tenancy or evict a tenant who has an unauthorized occupant?
No. The moratorium prohibits a landlord from trying to evict a tenant for unauthorized occupants during this time when all individuals are required to stay at home or a place of residence. Therefore, this moratorium protects tenants who have brought in relatives or others so that they may stay at home or a place of residence.
May a landlord attempt to terminate the tenancy or evict a tenant for nuisance?
In general, a landlord may not endeavor to evict a tenant for a nuisance claim while the moratorium is in effect. For example, if children are making more sustained noise than usual because their school is closed and it is bothering the teleworkers next door, an eviction is not allowed. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to communicate and try to work out such disputes.
The exception to this rule is that a landlord may evict a tenant for nuisance if it poses a substantial danger to the safety of people or to the premises.
Does the moratorium provide tenants with any affirmative defenses in case a landlord files an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, in violation of the moratorium?
Yes. The moratorium grants an affirmative defense that may be raised at any time in an eviction lawsuit (also known as an unlawful detainer action) if a landlord files the lawsuit in violation of the moratorium.
What should a tenant do if a landlord serves an eviction notice or files an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, in violation of the moratorium?
In cases where the tenant in unable to pay, tenants should do all they can to inform the landlord of the tenant’s inability to pay, provide the landlord with supporting documentation, and ask in writing that the landlord rescind any notice or withdraw any lawsuit. Even with the eviction protections, tenants are encouraged to pay what they can and work out a realistic payment plan.
The City Attorney’s Office will also take complaints in the case of a landlord refusing to comply with the moratorium. If informal efforts to get the landlord to rescind notices fail, the City may issue a fine of $1000 or file a lawsuit under the Order. If the landlord‘s eviction case goes forward, the tenant has an affirmative defense under the moratorium.
Please note: The City Attorney’s Office cannot represent tenants in eviction lawsuits (unlawful detainer actions) or other legal proceeding, and any enforcement action the City Attorney’s Office takes against the landlord will not automatically stop the eviction action or other legal proceedings. Therefore, if the landlord files an unlawful detainer action, the tenant should immediately seek his or her own legal counsel (such as Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles -Santa Monica Office) to represent the tenant in the unlawful detainer lawsuit.
What are the penalties for a landlord who does not comply with the moratorium?
The City may fine the landlord $1,000 for each violation of the moratorium. Also, the tenant or the City can sue the landlord for violations the Tenant Harassment Ordinance. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of the Tenant Harassment Ordinance has been increased from $10,000 to $15,000 during the emergency. Examples of violations of the Tenant Harassment Ordinance include: (1) a landlord continuing with eviction notices or lawsuits against tenants, even though the landlord knows the tenant has a defense under the moratorium; and 2) a landlord forcing his or her way into a tenant’s home without consent, even though there is no critical need for the entry.
How are the courts handling eviction cases?
On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California adopted emergency court rules that effectively delay all evictions, other than those necessary to protect public health and safety, for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
The rule is applicable to all courts and to all eviction cases, whether they are based on a tenant’s missed rent payment or another reason. Among other things, the rule temporarily prohibits a court from issuing a summons after a landlord files an eviction case, unless necessary to protect public health and safety. As a result, even if a landlord files an eviction case, he or she will not have a summons to serve on the tenant until 90 days after the emergency passes. Default judgments in eviction cases are also prohibited.
Also, under Santa Monica’s moratorium, if a landlord does file an eviction lawsuit, the landlord must serve a copy of the complaint on the tenant within three days, even though the court will not issue the summons the landlord needs to serve on the tenant to start the case. This ensures that filed eviction lawsuits, which are potential violations of the City’s order, are not hidden from the tenant.
How are businesses impacted? Will restaurants, spas, and gyms be closed?
Only businesses providing "essential services" may remain open at this time. Visit our Coronavirus Business Resources page for a comprehensive list.
How do I find businesses in Santa Monica that are open and providing essential services?
There was potential COVID-19 exposure at my business. Who do I report this to?
Contact the LA County Department of Public Health at 2-1-1 for further guidance on next steps.
What happens if businesses don’t comply with business closures?
The Executive Order on temporary business closures is administrative will be regulated by the City of Santa Monica staff. If you find a business that remains open that should be closed according to the Executive Order, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline or Code Enforcement at (310) 458-4984
What government assistance is provided as a small business owner/employees?
Local resources for small business owners and employees are available at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-business-resources.
Will the Third Street Promenade be closed?
Not at this time. Bars and restaurants will only be available for takeout and delivery.
Can bike shops stay open?
Yes, because bike shops provide transportation services and necessary repairs. If you operate a bike shop, please sign up to get added to our Essential Services map here.
Food and Water
I, or someone I know, am (is) isolated at home and need of food delivery or other assistance. Who should I contact?
Please ask a neighbor, friend, or family member for assistance. If none are available, an informal group of volunteers, known as Santa Monica Helpers, has formed. Their website is santamonicahelpers.org, email is email@example.com and phone number is (323)-310-0411.
What grocery and meal resources are available?
Santa Monica Food Delivery and Pickup Map
While our businesses have had to temporarily close their on-premise dining service, many still offer delivery, curbside pickup and takeout options. This map shows the businesses offering these services. We hope you will #EatLocalSM in support of our businesses in the comfort of your home.
Transportation and Food Delivery Resource Guide
For a list of organizations providing transportation and food delivery, check out this guide.
Could supermarkets offer a special time for seniors to shop?
Based on guidance from the State of California Governor, seniors should temporarily shelter in place until March 31. Given this direction, the City recommends that seniors that need support with grocery shopping contact friends or neighbors, community organizations, or order delivery orders through options like Postmates, Amazon Fresh, etc. For a list of local grocery stores offering delivery or curbside pickup, click here. Seniors can also access free meals through Meals on Wheels West and WISE & Healthy Aging's Diner Club program.
Will the Farmers' Market be open?
Is drinking tap water safe?
Yes! Santa Monica drinking water is absolutely safe and you can continue to use and drink tap water.
Do I need to buy bottled water or store drinking water?
No. At this time, there are no indications that COVID-19 is in the drinking water supply or will affect the reliable supply of water.
Can I order alcoholic beverages to-go with my restaurant takeout or delivery order?
Yes, through April 30, provided the restaurant or retailer has a liquor license through the state ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and pours your drink into a container with a secure lid or cap. More here. You can also purchase alcohol through drive-through windows temporarily, through April 30.
Playgrounds are supposed to be closed, but I still see families with children playing. What should I do?
We need to work collectively to keep everyone safe. This includes letting other families know about closures in place for community public health – such as our playgrounds. As the situation is changing rapidly, we encourage you to allow for the possibility that the family simply wasn’t aware of the temporary rules in place.
How do I explain to my young child that playgrounds are closed and social activities are cancelled?
There is no right or wrong way to handle this. We know you will handle all the challenges with love and care for your child which is the most important and comforting thing. This might not work for every child, but maybe it will work for yours:
- School is closed/class is cancelled because we are trying to stop the spread of germs.
- By closing school, there are not so many children together who might get and give one another’s germs. They will clean the whole school to get out all the germs. It is the safe thing to do.
Parks and Beaches
Are parks and beaches closed?
While most parks remain open, for the health and safety of all, all residents and visitors the beach, beach bike path, and Palisades Park have been temporarily closed through April 19. City officials urge the region to stay at home and physically distance in public spaces and beaches. Residents are encouraged to take a walk near their home to ensure 6 feet of distance between them and others. Santa Monica beach parking was closed on March 22 to support this effort.
Are the Santa Monica stairs closed?
Yes. For the health and safety of all, all residents and visitors are advised to avoid the Santa Monica stairs to protect themselves and others. City officials urge the region to stay at home and physically distance in public spaces. Residents are encouraged to take a walk near their home to ensure 6 feet of distance between them and others.
Are homeless shelters open?
Homeless shelters remain open and the LAHSA Winter Shelter Program has extended to 24-hour operations through at least April 30. More info on resources available throughout the County, including shelter flyers in English and Spanish.
Employment and Benefits
What resources are available or people facing unemployment due to a business closure?
If you get laid off or lose hours due to the Coronavirus, you can file for unemployment benefits. Governor Newsom also suspended the one-week waiting period to collect unemployment. Please visit the following website for more information: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm. The Labor and Workforce Development Agency has also produced this summary of benefits available: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/#chart
Are there any resources available for people who have experienced reduced hours due to the coronavirus?
If you have tested positive for Coronavirus, or have been exposed to the virus, you can file for disability. The State of California is encouraging workers affected by the coronavirus to do so. Governor Gavin Newsom has waived the normal one-week waiting period for disability insurance recipients to start receiving benefits. If the State of California approves your claim, the State of California says it still might be a few weeks before you get a check.
Can I apply for paid family leave to take care of someone with COVID-19?
If you are caring for someone sickened by COVID-19 or quarantined, you can apply to the state for Paid Family Leave. These benefits are similar to disability insurance, they will cover 60% to 70% of your wages, depending on income.
What can I do if I am staying home due to school closures but still need to pay the bills?
If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely. File an Unemployment Insurance claim.
Can home-based childcare continue?
Home-based care for children (as well as for adults or seniors) is an essential business that can continue. In addition, childcare facilities providing services enabling employees who work at essential businesses can remain open, but must, to the extent possible, limit the groups of children to no more than 12, children must remain in the same group and not change groups from day-to-day, the groups must be in separate rooms if there are multiple groups, and childcare providers must remain with only one group of children.
Is there a list of childcare providers that are currently open in Santa Monica?
A few childcare providers are listed on the City’s Essential Services Map. For a more comprehensive and updated list, please call the Coronavirus Hotline at 310.458.8400 to leave your name and phone number for a return call during regular business hours with updated options.
I am a licensed childcare provider in Santa Monica who is open and taking more children. How can I let residents know?
Please add yourself to the City’s Essential Services Map here. We also encourage all local businesses to sign up for free marketing support at Buy Local Santa Monica here (family childcare providers can list zip code only to keep your address confidential). You can also call the Coronavirus Hotline at 310.458.8400 to leave your name and number if you’d like to speak with someone at the City.
How can I help?
The City developed a website (www.santamonica.gov/coronavirus-volunteer) with information on how people can volunteer. The site includes tips and ideas on how people can help informally through helping neighbors in need, as well as through formal volunteer opportunities. If you have a volunteer opportunity you would like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have items, such as masks and toilet paper, that I would like to provide to organizations in need. What should I do?
The People Concern is a nonprofit in Santa Monica with programs designed to empower the most vulnerable populations in our community, and they are accepting donations of materials such as masks. You can reach contact Laura Stancil, Director of Procurement, at (310)-633-0995, or email@example.com.