The city of Santa Monica created a task force dedicated to getting the local economy moving again. The Santa Monica Economic Recovery Task Force is a collaboration between city staff and businesses.
The city announced mergers of several departments and staff layoffs as it moved to reduce its budget amid a sharp decline in revenues. By June 30, the end of the fiscal year, the city projected a $72 million General Fund shortfall. Next fiscal year, projections showed a nearly 40% drop in city revenues.
California public schools announced they would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond detailed the need to keep schools across the state shuttered for the safety of students and staff.
Santa Monica College (SMC) and the SMC Foundation handed out pre-packaged bags of food to students, at the first-ever drive-through pop-up pantry to serve those that are food insecure.
Santa Monica farmers markets remained open during the coronavirus pandemic with enhanced safety measures as experts debated the safest ways for residents to shop during the emergency. Attendance inside the markets was limited and the number of markets varied as the pandemic progressed.
Public health officials said that 62 Santa Monica residents tested positive for coronavirus as the total number of cases in Los Angeles County reached 4,566. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, said residents could expect to see 1,000 new cases each day in the coming weeks.
Mask supplies became an issue throughout the country. Locally, residents gathered officially approved masks and organized donations to local hospitals. In addition, several Santa Monica based individuals began making cloth masks for use by the general public.
More than 1.6 million Californians filed for unemployment and economists predicted that the recession caused by coronavirus could have long-lasting impacts on the economy.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would loan 500 ventilators to the national stockpile for use by New York and other states experiencing a crush of coronavirus-related hospitalizations. California chose to loan some of its equipment because it was not yet in as dire a situation as New York, then the nation’s epicenter for the crisis.
The city of Santa Monica fenced off Palisades Park along with the mandated closures of the Pier and beach to prevent public gatherings.
Local artists began using shuttered store fronts as opportunities for public art. Since the pandemic began, Ruben Rojas, co-founder of public art organization Beautify Earth, painted colorful murals across town bearing reminders that people can continue caring for others even while physically distancing themselves.
Los Angeles County’s public health director said that residents should skip grocery shopping if they have enough food at home. Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, clarified a “plea” she gave for people to avoid grocery stores and pharmacies after announcing 550 new coronavirus cases throughout the county, three of which were in Santa Monica.
Gov. Gavin Newsom stuck with a mid-May projection for when the COVID-19 outbreak will reach its peak in California, continuing efforts to stockpile hospital beds and protective gear for health care workers even as a new analysis suggested the virus’ spread could be slowing sooner. While confirmed cases and deaths continued rising in California, the rate of hospitalizations and intensive-care placements — a key indicator of resources the state needs — were increasing more slowly.
As tens of millions of people turned to video conferencing to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic, many reported uninvited guests who made threats, interjected racist, anti-gay or anti-Semitic messages, or showed pornographic images. The attacks drew the attention of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
City Hall issued an order strengthening a temporary moratorium on evictions in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
To curb the coronavirus spread, Los Angeles embarked on a massive effort to bring thousands of homeless people off the streets and into hotels to protect them and others from infection. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that money from the federal government would help pay for at least 15,000 hotel rooms during the pandemic.
Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential bid making Joe Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The number of Santa Monica residents with coronavirus reached 82 as city officials said people working and shopping in essential businesses must wear face coverings to slow the spread of the virus.
Nurses in the COVID-19 unit of a local hospital refused to enter patients’ rooms because the hospital has not provided them with N95 masks. Nurses working on Providence St. John’s Health Center’s coronavirus floor had complained that the hospital had refused to give them N95 masks, which they say are provided to doctors, nurses and staff on other floors.
Between 10% and 20% of U.S. coronavirus cases were health care workers, though they tended to be hospitalized at lower rates than other patients, officials reported.
Facing a projected $226 million budget gap as coronavirus slashed municipal revenues, Santa Monica City Council authorized payouts for city staff who volunteered to leave their jobs and discussed a future plan to cut city services.
Plans were announced to replace the grocery store at Broadway and Lincoln with a five-story building containing 260 apartments, including 65 affordable apartments. The mixed-use development will include a 53,000 square-foot commercial space on its ground level and another 33,000 square feet of retail elsewhere in the building.
City Manager Rick Cole announced his resignation. Cole, who was appointed city manager in 2015, resigned ahead of a vote on budget cuts needed to address the city’s projected $226 million budget gap as the economic impacts of coronavirus slashed revenues from sales, hotel and parking taxes. City Attorney Lane Dilg was chosen as an interim replacement.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a pandemic wounded spending plan for the coming year that he called “a document of our pain” that includes service cuts and nearly 16,000 worker furloughs to manage economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
Santa Monica was short on housing for individuals and families earning between $50,000 and $90,000, according to an annual report on the city’s affordable housing production.
Coronavirus became the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there had been an average of 44 coronavirus deaths per day over the last two weeks. During flu season, an average of five people in Los Angeles County die from the flu each day, Ferrer said. On any given day, eight people die of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 31 die of heart disease.
On the heels of a season filled with success and a trip to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, Santa Monica High School’s girls soccer team received more reasons to celebrate. California Interscholastic Federation officials announced the winners of the Ocean League’s three MVP awards, and three local Vikings managed to sweep the contests, according to head coach Jimmy Chapman — who took home this year’s Coach of the Year award along with his assistant. Samohi senior Giulia Trevellin was named the Ocean League MVP, while sophomore defender Minya Pertel won Ocean League Defensive MVP and freshman Sydney Forsyth brought home the Ocean League Offensive MVP.