October 1, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Cracking Down on Parties With Fines and Loss of Utilities

Santa Monica explicitly prohibits large gatherings

By Sam Catanzaro

Organizers of parties in Santa Monica face fines of up to $1,000 and loss of utilities under action taken by officials this week.

On Tuesday, Interim City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Lane Dilg issued a twenty-fourth supplement that allows enforcement against previously prohibited large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order holds persons responsible for holding or allowing large gatherings—defined as gatherings of 20 or more—at a residence or other private property strictly liable regardless of whether the person was present at the gathering. Gatherings explicitly permitted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Safer at Home Order are exempt from the order.

According to the City, violations are punishable as a misdemeanor or by administrative citation. The supplement also allows the City to shut off utilities (water service) at locations where large gatherings are held.

“This is intended to make explicit that these ‘super spreader’ events are strictly prohibited in Santa Monica and will be enforced as private parties have increased regionally,” the City said in a press release.

Gatherings with non-household members in smaller numbers remain “generally prohibited” by LA County’s Safer at Home Order, the City noted.

Responsible individuals include owners, tenants, landlords and managers of properties in addition to organizers of the prohibited gatherings, regardless of whether they are present at the gathering.

Administrative penalties are set at $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation, and $1,000 for a third violation committed within one year. After issuance of a citation to an owner, tenant, landlord, or manager, the City may also shut off utilities (water service) to the residence or other private property, according to the press release.

On August 5, the City of Los Angeles took similar action when Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he would authorize the Department of Water & Power to shut off utilities to homes and businesses that host “egregious” gatherings.

In addition, Airbnb recently banned all parties and restricted rentals to no more than 16 guests at a time for all its properties.

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