The City of Santa Monica will temporarily close the Santa Monica Pier periodically in the month of January to contribute to regional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and beyond.

The Santa Monica Pier will temporarily be closed every Saturday and Sunday from now until Sunday, January 31, according to an announcement from city officials. There will also be no access available to the popular attractions on Monday, January 18, which is when Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated by the country.

City leaders said they recognize that the Santa Monica Pier is a beloved Southern California outdoor experience but the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible and the closure is part of meeting this need.

“While the City has endeavored to keep the Pier open when attendance remained very low, we take seriously the public health guidance that members of the public should stay home as much as possible to save lives and promote public health in this critical moment,” City Spokeswoman Constance Farrell said in a statement Monday. “The temporary Pier closure was a decision made by our executive policy group, which includes the Interim City Manager and Chiefs of Police and Fire in coordination with the Emergency Operations Center.”

She said the group constantly monitors the Pier to ensure attendance levels allow physical distancing requirements to be easily followed.

“Based on observations over the weekend, guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and where we are regionally with COVID-19 positivity rates and hospital capacity, the decision to close the Pier on weekends was made out of an abundance of caution and with community health in mind,” Farrell added. “At this time, we encourage everyone to protect their own health and our healthcare and essential workers by staying home except for essential purposes.”

Local officials have been reiterating their warnings for several weeks.

On Monday, the City of Santa Monica shared a graphic on Twitter that said Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is at 136% ICU beds occupied. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Providence St. John’s Medical Center and Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center are nearing 100% capacity as well, according to the post.

More information on Santa Monica’s Code Enforcement in relation to COVID-19 can be found online at santamonica.gov/coronavirus or by calling the City’s Coronavirus Hotline at 310-458-8400.

Brennon@smdp.com