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Plenty of Reasons to Hit Local Stores This Holiday Season
By Jorge Casuso
December 17, 2020 -- While many shoppers are hunkering down and going online this holiday season, there are plenty of reasons to safely hit the local stores and share the cheer -- and tax revenues.
Free parking and curbside pickup zones have been set up across Santa Monica to make it easy, affordable and safe to shop local, City officials announced.
The City also has temporarily waived parking fees in downtown public parking structures 1 - 6 through Christmas Day.
"The real social desire to connect with people face-to-face is absolutely obvious," said Kathleen Rawson, who heads Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., which runs the Central Business District.
"2020 is a year of yearning for tradition," Rawson said. "We're focusing on providing a holiday season that is safe and accessible for everyone."
By frequenting local stores and picking up the online purchases, instead of having them delivered at home, the City collects twice the tax revenue, local officials said.
Buying local also keeps dollars in Santa Monica’s economy, officials added, noting that for every $10 spent at a Santa Monica business, as much as $7 stays in the community through payroll and taxes.
That money is reinvested to support local schools, parks and vital community services, officials said.
More than 1,000 businesses that employ over 3,700 Santa Monica residents are part of the City's Buy Local Santa Monica program, City officials said. Nearly half of those businesses are owned by local residents.
To spread the holiday cheer, Downtown officials have pulled out "every single light and piece of decoration" from storage, Rawson said.
In addition to the traditional decor, DTSM has employed local artists to mount holiday window displays and commissioned Samohoi students to create a holiday themed installation.
"We gave Christmas trees that were in storage and students did a beautiful display with a concurant online event," Rawson said. "It's been great."
As expected, holiday shopping has been slow, although foot traffic during Black Friday was 70 percent of normal, compared to a national average of 35 percent, Rawson said.
"Stores were much slower than they have been in the past," Rawson said. "With twenty percent capacity (limits) it's a challenge. We're doing extra work making sure distancing is followed."
City officials are encouraging shoppers to "plan ahead, know what stores you need to visit and check ahead to see if in-store pick-up or special hours are available for persons who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19."
The Santa Monica “Open for Business” map is available here. santamonica.gov/coronavirus-resources.
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