People will be required to wear face coverings while outside in Santa Monica. (Matthew Hall)

Santa Monica will require people to wear face coverings while outside in alignment with orders the city and county of Los Angeles issued Wednesday.

The city of Santa Monica previously asked people to wear masks while visiting or working at essential businesses. Children under two and people with breathing difficulties or disabilities that render them unable to don a face covering are exempt from the new order. People do not have to wear masks in the ocean.

Santa Monica beaches reopened for active recreation Wednesday as the county eased its Safer at Home order, and city officials announced Thursday that Palisades Park will also reopen. The city fenced off Palisades Park in late March after people began to crowd the narrow park along Ocean Avenue.

Officials also said Reed Park tennis courts will reopen for singles play, with more tennis courts to reopen in the future.

Additionally, street sweeping will resume June 1 on a monthly schedule, beginning the first full week of every month.

On Wednesday, county officials allowed all retailers that are not located in an indoor mall or shopping center to reopen for pickup and delivery, but they may not let customers inside. Manufacturing and logistic businesses that supply retailers may also reopen.

Businesses are required to implement and post physical distancing and infection control protocols before they reopen.

“As additional businesses begin to reopen for curbside service and some recreation opportunities are allowed, the measures we take when outside our homes are all the more essential to protect us all,” Interim City Manager Lane Dilg said in a statement. “We thank our community members for your ongoing efforts to keep us on track for recovery and a return to health.”    

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Monica more than doubled over the last month from 100 on April 16 to 224 Thursday, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Over the last week, cases increased 10%.

Twelve Santa Monica residents have died from COVID-19, according to a county data dashboard.

As of Thursday, 147 people living or working in the city’s nursing homes have tested positive for the virus and 21 had died. It is unknown how many permanently resided in Santa Monica and are therefore included in the city’s tally of cases and deaths.

Throughout L.A. County, there are more than 35,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,700 deaths.

At a news conference Thursday, Medical Services Director Christina Ghaly said the Safer at Home order has kept the county’s infection rate to 1, meaning that every person who contracts coronavirus is currently infecting one other person.

If people stop staying at home as much as possible and the infection rate creeps up to 1.5 or more, the county would see a surge in cases and deaths that could overwhelm its healthcare system, Ghaly said.

“Whether we get to that point is completely within our individual and collective control,” she said.

Ghaly said officials will continue relaxing aspects of the Safer at Home order, which will remain in effect indefinitely.

She called the versions of the order that closed all businesses and public spaces “unsustainable” and said those measures must be replaced with an approach that “allows people to live their lives” while wearing masks, physically separating themselves from others and washing their hands.

“We are not going to get back to normal the way it was, but we can and will get to a place where everyone can earn a living, take care of themselves and their family, and have enjoyment in their lives while staying healthy,” Ghaly said.

madeleine@smdp.com

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7 Comments

  1. It’s about time! TOO MANY people out and about without masks. (Especially joggers who are huffing and puffing.) Maybe now we’ll finally get this disease under control.

  2. SM city council is fill of fecal matter. Completely brain dead and insane Agenda 21 psychopaths that need to be stopped. The people must rise up to this tyranny!!

  3. A lot of People in Santa Monica are NOT covering their faces! As a matter of fact, they thumb their noses at people who are wearing masks. No order to have them wear masks outside is going to work. They are not embarrassed nor do they care. It’s not only shameful that they endanger others but they ought to be arrested and forced to sit in a jail cell next to others of their ilk. Let them infect each other.

  4. But if you’re exercising outside alone or walking your dog alone not around other people … you do NOT have to wear a mask. I listened to Mayor Garcetti on Wed and he said this. If you are truly aligned with LA county, then that’s the rule. I wish you would clarify that in your article. All other outside activities, yes, you must wear a mask.

  5. Well, ya gotta make money off of that $1,000,000,000 deal with the CHINESE Mask Manufacturer somehow, right?

  6. Have fun with your little communist Fantasyland while you have a chance because the Supreme Court is going to overturn all of your unconstitutional violations of our civil rights and freedoms.

  7. Question for the reporter… do the 224 cases in Santa Monica include the 147 nursing home residents and staff?

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