Santa Monica will keep its local mask ordinance in place as local and regional authorities continue to align their rules with state mandates.
California officials have said the state won’t lift its mask requirement until June 15 to give the public and businesses time to prepare and ensure coronavirus cases stay low. Under local guidance, face coverings must continue to be worn indoors and around crowds, including for those who have been vaccinated.
“This supplement further signals the return to normal we’ve worked so hard to reach. We are grateful to the 71 percent of Santa Monicans who have been vaccinated and all community members who have worked together to promote the public health,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Thank you for continuing to mask up as we look forward to a full reopening of our State economy on June 15.”
In Santa Monica, a crowded space is defined as a space outside of one’s residence where a person cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from non-household members and it is unknown whether all persons present are fully vaccinated. Examples include live performances, parades, sporting events, and the Santa Monica Pier, Ocean Front Walk, and the Third Street Promenade on weekends, national holidays, and after 12 p.m. on Fridays.
The updated rules also include updates to parking rules that allow officials to resume imposition of late payment penalties for unpaid or delinquent parking citations; enforcement of parking restrictions and limitations in Green Parking Zones; and towing for violations of the California Vehicle Code related to delinquent parking citations and expired registration.
The changes come as more counties drop restrictions across the state.
Orange, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Amador counties are moving from the orange, or moderate, tier to the yellow, or minimal, tier. Tehama County is improving from the red, substantial, tier to orange.
The moves will put 13 counties in yellow, 35 in orange, 10 in red. No counties are in the purple, or substantial, tier.
Santa Clara County’s health officer, Dr. Sara Cody, immediately announced that new yellow tier rules will implemented. Among the local rules being lifted are requirements that businesses maximize the number of staff who are teleworking.
The improvements were announced a day after the state’s health director announced that California will require people to keep wearing masks and practice social distancing indoors until June 15 — the date when Gov. Newsom has said nearly all COVID-19 restrictions will be dropped if cases remain low.
More than 34.8 million vaccines have been administered in California, and the seven-day positivity rate is down to just 0.9%.
During a virtual meeting of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, the governor noted, however, that since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended looser masking guidelines last week there has been a decline in vaccinations “that is creating some pause and a little bit of concern.”
More than a dozen other states, including neighboring Oregon, have already followed the new CDC masking guidelines.
Most of the 58 counties in California — including gigantic Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego — are heeding the state’s schedule.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said Monday the county will use the extra month to fully vaccinate more people. “More than half of our adult population remains vulnerable,” she said.
After becoming the epicenter for the virus in the U.S. at the start of the year, California has experienced a tremendous decline in cases.
The tiers are based on cases, positivity rate and on vaccination figures.
Associated Press writer Don Thompson contributed to this report.