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Monthly Poll Finds Opposition to Reinstating Mask Mandate
 

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By Jorge Casuso

July 29, 2022 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found that more than two-thirds of the respondents opposed reimposing an indoor mask mandate, a step County health officials declined to take on Thursday.

The Santa Monica Pulse poll also found that nearly half of the respondents believe the city's new minimum wage will hurt small businesses, while few believed new appointments to the Downtown Board will help the area recover.

Of the approximately 160 respondents to the poll -- which was taken via phone text between July 22 and 27 -- 68 percent opposed bringing back indoor masking mandates to "fight the spread of BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 varients."

Twenty-eight percent supported bring back the mandate lifted in March, while the remaining 4 percent were unsure, the poll found.

LA County health officials announced on Thursday that they would not reinstate a universal indoor mask mandate because their data shows the spread of the virus and the number of hospitalizations has been dropping.

“We will be pausing and not moving forward at this time,” said County Health Director Barbarra Ferrer.

The prospect of bringing back indoor mask mandates -- which could happen if the numbers climb again -- was opposed by some major cities and top government officials.

They include the City of Beverly Hills, as well Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own Public Health departments. Two LA County Supervisors opposed the mandate, as did County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who said he would no enforce it.

The poll also asked respondents if they thought Santa Monica's $15.96 an hour minimum wage that went into effect July 1 will have a positive, negative, or neutral impact on small businesses in Santa Monica.

The wage ordinance also requires paid sick leave for up to 72 hours a year depending on the size of the business.

"Some small business owners have commented that the higher wage and sick
leave presents a challenge, especially in a post-COVID economy," the poll noted in posing the question.

Forty-seven percent said they believed the wage would have a negative impact on small Santa Monica businesses; 29 percent thought it would have a positive impact, while 24 percent were neutral.

The poll also asked about a recent shakeup on Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.'s (DTSM) board of directors after a divided City Council appointed three business activists a month ago ("Council shakes up Downtown Board," June 29, 2022).

"As local business owners and other stakeholders, there’s some hope that the new members will help tackle homelessness and crime, among other issues," the poll noted.

Only 15 percent agreed the newest board members will help put the Promenade on a path to recovery, 32 percent disagreed and 53 percent said they were not sure.

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 16 percent response rate.

The poll is conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog. Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com.


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