Pier to resume operations after three-month closure due to COVID-19
By Sam Catanzaro
The Santa Monica Pier is reopening after a three-month closure despite cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) increasing in Los Angeles County, which leads now leads the nation in cases.
The City of Santa Monica–the owner of the Pier–announced that the Pier is reopened as of June 24 after being shut down in March due to COVID-19.
The Pier is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with limited and monitored access points to ensure capacity allows for proper physical distancing and safety. Visitors must enter and exit on Ocean Front Walk and need to go through the queue line to limit the number of guests.
Guests are required to wear a face covering at all times while visiting the Santa Monica Pier. During the initial reopening phase, Pier restaurants and businesses, including Pacific Park and the historic Carousel will remain closed.
“The Santa Monica Pier’s reopening aligns with County, State and Federal reopening guidelines by prioritizing physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting measures and safety practices to support the health and wellness of those at the Pier,” the City said in a statement. “Given the fluidity and nature of the situation, Santa Monica Pier is prepared to modify procedures as necessary.”
The Parking Deck and other Pier-adjacent lots will remain closed to vehicles until further notice, according to the City. Nearby parking at Beach Lot-4 South and in downtown are available.
According to the City, in the coming weeks, to allow for increased physical distancing, additional and expanded outdoor space will be available for those who want to enjoy to-go options from open Pier restaurants.
Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public areas and surfaces will be conducted, focusing on high-touch areas, the City says.
The Pier’s opening comes as COVID-19 cases are rising in Los Angeles County. To date, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has identified 88,262 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County, and a total of 3,171 deaths. In Santa Monica, there have been 366 confirmed cases and 26 deaths.
On Tuesday, Public Health confirmed 34 new deaths and 2,364 new cases of COVID-19. Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer attributed the high case number to increased community spread.
“The recent increase in daily cases and rates of positive test results indicates that there is more community spread of COVID-19 in LA County,” Ferrer said.
According to Santa Monica’s Interim City Manager Lane Dilg, “the community has long awaited the reopening of our beloved Santa Monica Pier”. The Santa Monica Mirror has asked the City what is this claim based on.
“The Santa Monica Pier is a beloved community landmark that, like the beach, people look forward to having access to, for a stroll or to take in the views. Our decision to reopen the Pier is based on County and State guidance as well as a phased reopening plan with public health and safety protocols in place for limited access to the Pier,” the City said in a statement in response to this questions.
In addition, the Mirror asked the City that if it worries the reopening of the Pier will draw in visitors from elsewhere in the county and increase community spread in Santa Monica.
“Our top priority is community health and safety. When you are out in Santa Monica or visit the Pier, a face mask is required. We are all accountable for protecting ourselves and one another. We ask everyone to be vigilant with physical distancing and to only enjoy the Pier with those in their household. Maintain space, wash your hands, and of course stay home when you are sick,” the City responded.