Local health emergency will end at the end of next month
Santa Monica will end its health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic on February 28, three years after it was declared by former City Manager Rick Cole.
This coincides with California’s sunset of the order, announced by Governor Gavin Newsom in October. The initial executive order has been followed by 44 supplements, the latest of which expires at the end of next month. Following a City Council vote and decision by City Manager David White – who also acts as the City’s director of emergency services – officials will not extend the emergency after February 28.
The same day Santa Monica announced the end to their emergency, Los Angeles City Council voted to end its local emergency at the end of the month as well. There is no indication the County of Los Angeles will end its emergency.
With the emergency ending, City staff members working on recovery projects will be demobilized within six months. The City’s Emergency Center saw its staffing drop from 287 personnel at the height of the pandemic to 15 today.
By ending the emergency, Santa Monica reduces its chances of getting reimbursed by FEMA; so far, it has received $1.5 million in reimbursements for COVID-related projects and 13 grants amounting to more than $3.5 million still need FEMA approval. As reported by the Santa Monica Lookout, there is a “strong likelihood” the City will receive reimbursement for these pending projects.
To date, Santa Monica has seen around 25,000 COVID-positive cases and over 280 reported deaths.