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City to Fine Those Who Violate Emergency Coronavirus Orders
 

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By Jorge Casuso

March 23, 2020 -- Those who violate orders to stay at home, shut down non-essential businesses, halt tenant evictions or keep away from the Santa Monica Pier during the coronavirus emergency face fines of as much as $1,000 per citation.

The City Manager authorized the misdemeanor citations on Monday as part of an order mandating that Santa Monica residents, businesses and visitors comply with County and State stay-at-home orders.

The City has adopted both orders and will "follow whichever is stricter, unless otherwise stated by both the Governor and the County," officials said in a statement.

According to Monday's action, the State and County orders "shall hereby be enforceable by the Santa Monica Police Department and any City Officer or employee granted authority to issue written notices."

Individuals found in violation of the stay-at-home order face a $100 fine for the first violation, a $250 fine for the second violation within a year and $500 for subsequent violations.

Businesses violating the order face a $500 fine for the first violation, $750 for the second and $1,000 for subsequent violations. Non-essential businesses that fail to close face the same fines.

Under the mandatory orders, people can only leave home to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats, which can stay open.

Those who visit the Pier, which was closed a week ago, also face fines ("Santa Monica Closes Pier, City Hall," March 16, 2020).

The first violation carries a $100 fine, the second a $250 fine and subsequent citations carry a $500 fine. The fine for Pier businesses is $500, $750 and $1,000 respectively.

Residential and commercial landlords who evict tenants for nonpayment of rent after they show they are unable to pay "due to financial impacts related to COVID-19" face a $1,000 fine per violation ("Santa Monica Expands Eviction Protections to Business Tenants," March 18. 2020).

“Take these orders seriously and stay at home. Get your exercise close to home," said City Manager Rick Cole. "Be vigilant and protect yourself and others by only making essential trips.

“This will flatten the curve of infection and save lives in our community. Stay calm, stay informed, and stay healthy!”


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