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The team behind Brick + Mortar replaced the bar with a restaurant serving up Californian shared plates, craft beer and cocktails. Brick + Mortar’s owners closed the bar last December after seven years on Main Street, intending to refresh the rustic interior with a minor renovation but the team transformed the space inside the Edgemar Building into a bright, airy restaurant named The Tipsy Chef.

Long waits were reported across Los Angeles County during the primary election with some Santa Monica voters standing in line for more than two hours. Residents reported problems with broken equipment, incorrect registration information and difficulty accessing some voting locations following the County-wide redesign of the voting process. 

Students from Santa Monica High School, won the LA Surf Bowl, a regional ocean science academic competition that is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The LA Surf Bowl, which was hosted by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is part of a nationwide competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean science disciplines through buzzer-style, multiple-choice questions and open-ended team challenge questions. Students on the championship team include Teddy Berger, Rosalind Jewett, Emily Chase, Sara Akiba, and Ireland Neville.

A leading Santa Monica architect was slashed on the Expo Line. Former Planning Commission Chair Gwynne Pugh said he was slashed in the knee while riding the train back to Santa Monica from downtown Los Angeles. Pugh said two men and two women, who appeared to be couples, boarded the train at Palms Station with a shopping cart and started arguing loudly as the cart drifted around the train car. Their argument escalated and a woman pulled a knife and slashed Pugh during the fight.

Los Angeles County officials declared a local emergency as the number of residents with coronavirus increased to seven. Six new individuals contracted COVID-19 after traveling to northern Italy or interacting with people who had recently traveled abroad. More than 50 people in California were reported to have the virus, representing more than a third of total cases nationwide. 

The number of pedestrians and cyclists who were killed or severely injured on Santa Monica streets slightly increased since City Hall set out to eliminate traffic fatalities in 2016, but the overall number of injury collisions has trended downward. In Santa Monica, traffic collisions that result in death for people walking or biking have remained relatively uncommon — the rolling-five year average of fatalities in 2018 was 2.2 for pedestrians and 0.4 for cyclists — but collisions causing severe injury increased.

Scrambling to keep the coronavirus at bay, officials ordered a cruise ship with 3,500 people aboard to stay back from the California coast until passengers and crew could be tested, after a traveler from its previous voyage died of the disease and at least two others became infected. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered test kits onto the 951-foot Grand Princess by rope as the vessel lay at anchor off Northern California.

The Los Angeles Marathon returned to Santa Monica. Bayelign Teshager of Ethiopia had a successful marathon debut, taking over in the final mile to win the 35th Los Angeles Marathon. Margaret Muriuki of Kenya led from start to finish to take the women’s race.

Los Angeles International Airport experimented with a limited restoration of taxi pickups in the central terminal area. Taxi drivers pushed to resume pickups there since taxi and ride-hailing pickups were moved to a lot outside the terminal loop last fall to ease traffic amid major construction.

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 14, with all but one victim in Washington state, while the number of infections swelled to over 200, scattered across about half the states. 

Santa Monica hired a consultant to prevent sexual abuse in city-run youth programs more than a year after allegations that a former city employee had abused at least 14 boys came to light. The city first retained the consultant, Praesidium, to help standardize training, policies and procedures to prevent and detect child sexual abuse in city programs after former city employee Eric Uller was arrested in October 2018 for sexually abusing children while volunteering with the Santa Monica Police Activities League during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

SMMUSD handed out dozens of layoff notices to local educators causing concern among community members who expressed concerns about their children’s future educational opportunities. The District’s annual layoff process requires advance notice to any potential employee who could be fired and by the end of the process, most of the notices had been rescinded. 

Much-needed rain fell intermittently across Southern California but in lighter amounts than originally forecast for the region, which has experienced a very dry winter contributing to ongoing fire danger.

The rapid spread of coronavirus forced businesses to adapt to an increasingly worried customer base and local organizers scrambled to decide which, if any, events to open to the public. Some large events were already canceled, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago and local businesses began implementing new policies related to sick leave. Restaurants increased cleaning and doubled down on delivery to maintain financial stability. Local restaurateurs hoped that by sanitizing surfaces frequently, spacing tables farther apart and removing self-service food and utensils, they will both prevent the virus from spreading and preserve a customer base so they can continue to pay their staff.

The city of Santa Monica paid $42.6 million to 24 individuals who sued the city for failing to protect them from child sexual abuse at the hands of a former city employee and volunteer.

Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to allow all affordable housing projects and many market-rate projects to go through a rapid approval process as the city prepares to meet a state requirement to zone for 8,800 units of housing over the next decade, drawing ire from community groups who say the city should be fighting the mandate.

Santa Monica canceled all events and local schools announced plans to close as the number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County reached 32 and the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. Local officials announced that all events, programs and activities hosted by the city of Santa Monica and other groups will be canceled in alignment with guidances issued by state and county public health officials. Santa Monica schools closed, moved to remote instruction or canceled all non-essential events, although they confirmed that no students or staff had tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said sweeping guidance for Californians to avoid unnecessary gatherings to try to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus would extend beyond March, just before Disneyland announced it would close its California theme parks.

President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as Washington struggled with providing Americans with relief and officials raced to slow the spread of the outbreak.

Santa Monica homeless shelters worked to serve a population thought to be at an elevated risk of contracting the virus.

A household earning the Los Angeles area’s median income cannot afford a rent-controlled studio in Santa Monica, according to a report from the city’s Rent Control Board. By U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development affordability standards, a family would need an income of at least $95,429 to afford a studio, which is about 31% higher than the median household income of the Los Angeles area and 1.7% higher than the median household income of Santa Monica. A family would need a six-figure income to afford any unit larger than a studio.

Santa Monica went into lockdown as confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County continued to climb and employees in three Santa Monica offices tested positive for the virus. Under emergency orders from local officials to slow the spread of COVID-19, schools, public buildings, bars, theaters, gyms and salons closed for two weeks, restaurants halted dine-in service and Santa Monica Pier shut down indefinitely for the first time in its history. The city of Santa Monica put a temporary moratorium on evictions for renters financially impacted by coronavirus and its impacts on businesses. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the county had 94 confirmed coronavirus cases, at least 15 of which resulted from community spread.

Public schools in Santa Monica and Malibu were ordered to close for three weeks to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education voted to keep more than 10,000 students attending 16 schools at home for three weeks in alignment with guidelines on social distancing from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

Santa Monica College (SMC) announced that all classes — including those that generally require in-person instruction, wherever possible — will transition to a remote learning environment, effective to limit the potential transmission of COVID-19. 

Public health officials said that 50 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Los Angeles County including one in Santa Monica. Three Bergamot area offices — Colorado Center, Water Garden and Universal Music’s offices on Colorado Avenue — said over the weekend they each had an employee who had recently tested positive for the virus and closed temporarily for cleaning.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) asked California law enforcement to exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of driver license and vehicle registration expiration dates. 

The California Legislature approved up to $1 billion in new spending to combat the coronavirus outbreak, then suspended their work for the next month to try and contain the illness. It was the first unexpected work stoppage in the California Legislature in 158 years.

Santa Monica put a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions after local officials ordered many businesses to close to slow the spread of coronavirus, evaporating revenue needed to pay workers, rent and utilities.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s assessment that it’s likely “few if any” California schools would reopen before summer break surprised parents, who wondered how distance learning would work.

Los Angeles County announced a Safer At Home order urging all residents to stay home except for essential needs. The order called for the closure of all non-essential businesses and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people. Grocery stories and other essential businesses remained open.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that she directed her deputy district attorneys to take steps to reduce the number of people both in local jails and courthouses as part of her office’s response to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

From Maine to Oregon, toilet paper producers ramped up production and shipping operations to resupply stores wiped out by consumers buying toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. But the toilet paper was flying off the shelves as fast as stores can restock them.

The Los Angeles County sheriff said gun shops were not essential businesses and ordered them to stop selling to the public, a move that enraged Second Amendment advocates who said they planned to challenge it in court.

Due to the recently enacted social distancing order, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District moved its meeting online as did all public agencies including the City Council and various boards and commissions.

Several of the nation’s largest banks agreed to temporarily suspend residential mortgage payments for Californians affected by the coronavirus. The announcement came as more than 1 million Californians filed for unemployment benefits.

Eleven Santa Monica hotels closed as part of the lockdown order. Before the coronavirus pandemic, nearly one in five people working in Santa Monica were employed in the city’s nearly 40 hotels and more than 600 restaurants, according to economic data compiled by the city of Santa Monica. 

Santa Monica public schools said they would close indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic, as will L.A. County beaches, beach bike paths and public trails.

A military hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles providing 1,000 beds for non-coronavirus patients to relieve overburdened medical centers expected to be hit with a surge of COVID-19 cases. The US Naval Ship Mercy pulled into port one day after Los Angeles saw a 50% jump in coronavirus cases. 

Nurses at Santa Monica hospitals said they were being asked to reuse protective masks as they treat a swell of coronavirus patients and demanded that their employers and the government provide an adequate supply of masks and other protective equipment.

California enlisted retired doctors and medical and nursing students to help treat an anticipated surge of coronavirus patients. The California Health Corps effort came as the nation’s most populous state anticipated hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients and while it is preparing stadiums and convention centers to handle a crush of cases. The Health Corps effort eventually fizzled with just a few hundred individuals being deployed over the course of the crisis.

The Santa Monica High School girls basketball team ended their State championship run with a loss to Palisades Charter High School but coaches, parents and players said there was plenty to be proud of this season despite falling a game short of the team’s first-ever state finals appearance.