SANTA MONICA—On Wednesday, November 11, the city of Santa Monica highlighted resources and initiatives available to support local businesses and residents during the economic recovery. The city created the Economic Recovery Task Force in April 2020. The task force consists of five policy areas, which include business retention and reopening, business processes and permitting cost, federal and state resources, community and economic development, and outreach and communications.

Almost $2 million in rental relief has been provided by the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program. To help navigate payment of deferred rent for tenants and landlords, the city has partnered up with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. A community-led commercial kitchen is being developed by the city to incubate new businesses and offer job training. Low-cost child services have been resumed by the city through the Police Activities League, Virginia Avenue Park, and CREST.

Many restaurants have transitioned to outdoor dining and the city is providing a curbside pickup program that allows temporary free parking near the restaurant and third-party delivery fees have been put on hold.  The city issued a public messaging campaign that focuses on business reopening using communication strategies like “Back and Better than Ever.”

Fitness studios and gyms have also been utilizing approved pop-pop fitness zones at the Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, in city parks and parking lots. Gyms, fitness studios, treatment salons, and nail salons have also moved outdoors.

“During the toughest of times, Santa Monica is proving to be a resilient community. We are on the road to economic recovery, but it has been an extremely challenging time for our businesses and residents. COVID-19 has brought about an array of public health safety measures to guide a safe re-opening and has also presented new opportunities to transform the way our business community provides goods, services, and experiences to its patrons,” said Jennifer Taylor, Economic Development Administrator.