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Santa Monica Extends Health Emergency

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By Jorge Casuso

June 30, 2022 -- Santa Monica's remaining health emergency orders -- including tenant protections against evictions -- have been extended through the end of the year unless the County terminates them earlier.

The emergency supplement signed by City Manager David White on Thursday is the 43rd issued since an emergency was declared on March 13, 2020, three days before the first local coronavirus case was confirmed.

It comes after the 42nd supplement was issued on January 31 and requires the City Council's ratification every 60 days.

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“The pandemic’s impacts continue to be felt by our residents and businesses across Santa Monica,” White said in a statement.

“By extending the local emergency, the City provides a mechanism to support recovery efforts and navigate new variants or surges in cases, making it easier for local businesses to continue to operate and residents to safely access City programs and services.”

Thursday's order maintains the City’s existing protections against eviction for reasons other than nonpayment of rent with one exception.

"The protection for evictions based on a tenant’s denial of a landlord’s entry into the unit will not be extended," City officials said.

That puts Santa Monica's eviction protections in line with those of the County "and recognizes that tenants and landlords may take reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 if a landlord enters a unit," City officials said.

"Both state and local law will continue to regulate the circumstances when a landlord may enter a tenant’s unit."

The order comes as weekly coronavirus cases continue to steadily drop in Santa Monica, reaching a two-month low of 192 reported cases last week ("COVID Cases in Santa Monica Drop to Two-Month Low," June 27, 2022).

County Health officials are monitoring the most recent surge driven by the highly contagious Omicron BA.2 lineage and sub-lineages, which are milder and less deadly than previous variants. They are also more resistant to vaccines.

The County remains below the weekly threshold set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for hospital admissions and percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients required to implement indoor masking.

In fact, County officials have scaled back on their daily press releases, which once dominated the news. When the County topped 3 million cases earlier this month, health officials failed to note the milestone ("COVID Milestones Go Virtually Unnoticed," June 15, 2022).

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