After several months of closure Muscle Beach officially reopened in Santa Monica. The County cleared it for reopening in line with the same requirements as playgrounds. People were required to wear a mask at all times they are in the park. In addition, visits were limited to thirty minutes if others were using the equipment, eating and drinking were not allowed, and people must remain six feet away from non household members.

Relaxed regulations in the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier and other commercial zones were extended by City Councilmembers until the end of 2022 in an attempt to bolster the economic recovery of local businesses.

At 80 years old, Micheline “Mimi” Herbert proudly opened Le Petit Chez Mimi at 2842 Colorado Avenue, serving up her timeless and beloved country French dishes.

Santa Monica began work on its Housing Element, a state required zoning document that describes how the city will accommodate housing mandates. Santa Monica has been asked to build 9,000 new units between 2021 and 2029, almost double what the city would have been required to accommodate prior to last year’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Steps taken in 2020 include gathering input from the community and asking staff to study the city’s options. 

The Santa Monica College student media outlet The Corsair won several 2019 – 2020 national Pinnacle Awards — including first place for Website of the Year among two year-colleges — in a nationwide contest organized by the College Media Association (CMA). 

Santa Monica residents who stopped by the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier over Halloween weekend spotted this year’s Día de los Muertos Art Installation by artist Ricardo Soltero. Locals visiting the larger-than-life La Catrina sculptures also spotted Santa Monica High School students’ own altars, which sought to celebrate the life and death of friends and family.

Across Santa Monica stores boarded up as ballots were returned. Local businesses prepared for possible civil unrest following the election but the election came and went without violence. 

Americans went to the polls under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID- 19 reaching record highs in several states. While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Three Santa Monica City Council incumbents lost their seats in the 2020 election. Members of the “Change Slate,” Phil Brock, Christine Parra and Oscar de la Torre, displaced incumbents Terry O’Day, Ted Winterer and Ana Jara. The turnover was the largest rejection of incumbents in city history and followed several days of too-close-to call results and position changes in the final results. On the College Board, incumbents Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones-Perez, and Rob Greenstein Rader retained their seats. Incumbents Jon Kean and Maria Leon-Vazquez topped the SMMUSD race with Jen Smith taking third place and occupying the seat vacated by Ralph Mechur. Anastasia Foster and Caroline Torosis won for Rent Control Board. On the national stage, Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump. Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon defeated Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey. The election saw historic voter turnout across the country and Santa Monica was no exception, setting records for both voter participation and early voting. About that 68 percent of registered voters cast ballots on local measures compared to only 42 percent in 2016.

Santa Monica bus driver Eric Bailey won $32,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Bailey was one of several frontline workers featured in this season of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. 

An underutilized parking lot located on Seventh Street was earmarked for multi-unit residential development. The parking lot located at 1140 7th Street previously served as an overflow parking for Saint Monica’s but following the completion of its Community Center and 154 subterranean spaces in 2013, the parking demands for the local church were sufficiently provided on the campus, so the overflow parking is no longer needed.

Malibu continued to pursue separation from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with an argumentative letter exchange between the City of Malibu and SMMUSD. Malibu has sought local control of its schools for around 20 years, but the debate was reignited when Malibu City Council voted to reinstate a separation petition to L.A. County Office of Education.

Some parents launched an effort to save the 85 year old History Building at Samohi. The building was designated for demolition four years ago when the School Board approved a Samohi renovation plan.

Los Angeles County’s COVID case counts began to rise but public health director Barbara Ferrer said the surge wasn’t as bad as the one seen earlier this summer. However, she still encouraged residents to quarantine if they found themselves out at large gatherings in recent weeks.

Santa Monica’s Historic Belmar Park received approval from the California Coastal Commission. The Belmar History + Art Project kicked off last year in an effort to commemorate a site that was home to a thriving African American community in Santa Monica. 

Local nurses rallied outside of a Santa Monica COVID-19 testing site Tuesday to demand timely access to testing after UCLA officials recently announced a plan to test all students, faculty and staff but not its healthcare workers.

Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted to create the nation’s first Public Health Councils program, which seeks to reduce the spread of Coronavirus in public workplaces by empowering local workers.

California became the second state — behind Texas — to eclipse a million known cases, while the U.S. has surpassed 10 million infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

After a canceled summer season the Rooftop Cinema Club returned with a drive-in series at the Santa Monica Airport fit for moviegoers of all ages.

Following four straight days of more than 2,000 daily cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles County, public health director Barbara Ferrer said that a recent surge in cases wasn’t as bad as the one seen earlier this summer. However, Ferrer warned more restrictions could be instituted if counts continue to rise.

SMMUSD began limited on-campus activities for preschool special education, childcare for staff, English learners, and adult transition students.

L.A. County remained in Tier 1, the most restrictive tier of re-opening, which meant schools were only allowed to operate in-person at up to 25 percent capacity to provide services for the highest need students. 

For the second election cycle in a row California voters shot down a pro-rent control proposition, but local board members said the future of rent control in Santa Monica is bright.

An Anaheim Angel, celebrities and local residents have gathered to feast at Zabie’s Neighborhood Cafe for more than 25 years but the local breakfast spot near the Santa Monica Airport closed.

Randy’s Donuts and its famous fried bites announced they were headed to Santa Monica sometime in early 2021. Company President Mark Kelegian announced the company signed a lease to take over the old Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf storefront located at 1231 Wilshire Boulevard.

Calvary Baptist Church of Santa Monica and the GUARDaHEART Foundation are united to provide free COVID-19 antibody testing to anybody who is interested in the opportunity. 

Local restaurateurs said it was becoming impossible to stay in business following more restrictions that limited outdoor dining to 50% of capacity. Since restaurants reopened in June, owners have invested thousands in PPE, outdoor dining spaces, and heat lamps, and were often still unable to turn a profit.

California imposed an overnight curfew on most residents as the most populous state tried to head off a surge in coronavirus cases that could tax its health care system, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a limited stay-at-home order requires people not working essential jobs to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The curfew covered 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents. It was in place in 41 of the state’s 58 counties that had the most significant increases in virus cases and faced the most severe restrictions under California’s system for reopening the economy.

With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz cited more than 1 million new cases in the U.S. over the past week as the reason for the new guidance.

President Donald Trump and his allies took increasingly frantic steps to subvert the results of the 2020 election, including summoning state legislators to the White House as part of a longshot bid to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. His efforts were rejected by courts and other officials. 

The surging coronavirus is took an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appeared close at hand, with the country averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest level since the calamitous spring in and around New York City. The overall U.S. death toll reached about 254,000, by far the most in the world. Confirmed infections eclipsed more than 11.8 million, after the biggest one-day gain on record — almost 188,000. And the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high at more than 80,000.

Los Angeles County supervisors voted against allowing restaurants to remain open for dining during a surge in coronavirus cases that had the nation’s most populous county on the brink of a stay-home order just days ahead of Thanksgiving. In a 3-2 vote, the board rejected a motion to let restaurants continue to serve meals outdoors at reduced capacity, despite a plea from owners that a closure was unwarranted and would crush their businesses.

The protected bike lanes on Ocean Avenue were installed as city leaders looked to connect the Colorado Esplanade and California Incline bikeways to create a continuous protected route from the Downtown Santa Monica Metro light rail station to the beach. However, local drivers had a hard time adjusting to the new flow of traffic near California and Ocean avenues.

Edobox by Makoto settled on Santa Monica’s Main Street, meaning local residents no longer have to travel the globe to get a taste of world-renowned chef Makoto Okuwa’s unique bites.

The local tourism industry was decimated by Covid-19, and while travel was predicted to increase in 2021, visitors were not projected to reach 2019 levels until 2024, according to the LA Tourism and Convention Board.

Sharon Gillerman, a professor of Jewish History who taught at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and USC, died on Nov. 20 after several months of illness.

The cast of characters from Bob Baker Marionette Theater made their way to the Santa Monica Pier, and residents were invited to view the one-of-a-kind retrospective until Jan. 7.