Reed Park (File photo)

The city of Santa Monica will temporarily close parks Sunday and farmers markets Saturday and Sunday, officials said Thursday.

Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles will also close parks on Easter in order to prevent people from gathering to celebrate the holiday. Santa Monica fenced off Palisades Park last weekend after people continued to walk and exercise in the park in close proximity to each other. The city’s nonessential businesses, public buildings and schools, beaches, pier and playgrounds remain closed.

“This is a critical week that requires we take aggressive steps like temporarily closing all parks for a day,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “We’re also reluctantly suspending our farmers markets because we need people to stay home to crush the curve. Lives of loved ones and the ability to reopen our community both depend on bold action now.”

Farmers markets will resume Wednesday. The city issued an order Wednesday night that requires people working and shopping at essential businesses, including at farmers markets, to wear face coverings. The order will go into effect Friday and last through the end of April.

City spokesperson Constance Farrell said all Santa Monica residents are also encouraged but not required to wear face coverings whenever they are outside their homes.

The rate of new infections has slowed in Santa Monica as the third week of the local outbreak comes to a close, with one new case reported Thursday for a total of 88 cases in the city. Cases quintupled from four to 21 in the first week of the outbreak and tripled to 62 in the second week, but rose by 32% in the third week.

City spokesperson Miranda Iglesias said the city’s focus is to educate individuals about physical distancing rather than administer citations.

“(We) will continue to deploy outreach and engagement teams to our parks to engage in conversations with residents, visitors and people experiencing homelessness on how to stay safe and prevent COVID-19 during this pandemic,” Iglesias said.

madeleine@smdp.com

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