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UPDATED: Manhattan Beach Expands Closures, Eases Deadlines

Mar 18, 2020 05:38PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Note: This post has been updated to reflect the closure of the Manhattan Beach Pier. 

The City of Manhattan Beach has enacted a range of measures aimed at further protecting city residents during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Those measures include additional closures, extensions of business license tax submittals, and efforts to prevent price gouging and evictions. 

Additionally, on Thursday, March 19, the city acted to close the landmark Manhattan Beach Pier until further notice.

New Restrictions in Place

In compliance with County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health orders, the city has implemented significant restrictions on the operations of bars and restaurants in Manhattan Beach. Those measures include:
  • Requiring the closure of bars and nightclubs that do not serve food, gyms, fitness centers, movie and performance theaters, bowling alleys and arcades.
  • Eliminating seated options at restaurants, but allows for restaurants to continue to serve food to customers via delivery, take-out or drive-thru.
  • Exempting sites and situations where people obtain essential services and essential goods to meet their basic needs, such as:
    • Grocery stores or retail stores;
    • Pharmacies;
    • Places of transit (i.e. airports, metro stations, or bus stations);
    • Hospitals or health care facilities;
  • Prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more.

These restrictions will remain in place throughout the city's proclaimed state of emergency.

On Tuesday, March 17, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance that expands and clarifies key portions of the LADPH order to address questions and concerns raised by the community. Among other actions, these expansions and clarifications include:

  • Prohibiting non-essential retail businesses except for pick up, delivery and transactions by appointment. For essential businesses still operating that are authorized to operate under the Ordinance, businesses shall establish health and safety measures such as requiring employees to wear appropriate gloves and masks if employees come into physical contact with customers. 
  • Prohibiting non-essential businesses such as: physical health and beauty services, including spas, hair salons, massage establishments, and nail salons, that do not provide medical care or services that supplement medical care as directed by medical professionals;
  • Allowing seniors to continue to secure food within their housing facilities, if available;
  • Permitting vehicles to deliver groceries to grocery stores;
  • Restricting self-service unwrapped food items, such as buffets from operating;
  • Temporarily increasing signage flexibility for restaurant businesses to better inform the public of their modified operations;
  • Expanding short duration loading zones near restaurants to increase convenience for residents picking up togo orders at local restaurants.
  • Clarifying and affirming that all gyms and fitness centers are to close, regardless of occupancy volume.

Certain essential businesses are exempted from the ordinance, including grocery stores, food banks, snack shops, banks, drug stores, car rentals, convenience stores, pharmacies, gas stations, car mechanics, pet supply stores, laundromats, hardware stores, dry cleaners, mailbox stores, package delivery businesses (such as Amazon, Fedex and UPS). The city may determine other exemptions.

The City Council took additional action to pass a resolution seeking that businesses implement social distancing policies, houses of worship suspend any programming that results in any group gatherings and member of the general public refrain from group activities short of small family gatherings.

“The City of Manhattan Beach has adopted the Los Angeles County Health Code and relies upon the experts at the county to provide guidance on a critical issue like the coronavirus. We know that Manhattan Beach’s business community will be significantly interrupted by this order, but it is more important that we take significant steps now to preserve the public’s health and fight the coronavirus,” said Mayor Richard Montgomery in a statement. “I urge our community to practice social distancing and encourage everyone to adhere to these requirements.”

Another element of the resolution called on the public to stop hoarding life essentials and called upon retailers to begin limiting the purchase volume of certain items to ensure they are more broadly available to the public. Food retailers have indicated there is no evidence of a food supply shortage in Southern California.

Easing License Tax Submittals, User Fee Deadlines

Additionally, the City Council has extended the deadline for annual business license tax submittals to June 30, 2020.

The City Council also postponed the activation of new user fees (community development related and others) until July 1, 2020.

These additional steps are intended "to provide much needed relief to our businesses,” Montgomery in a statement.

Controlling Price Gouging, Evictions

Finally, the City Council adopted two ordinances to address price gouging at local businesses and to protect commercial and residential renters from eviction resulting from coronavirus-related circumstances. 

The price-gouging ordinance identifies price increases in excess of 10 percent during a proclaimed local state of emergency to be price gouging in violation of the city's laws. Price gouging definitions apply to all consumer goods and services, including hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and bottled water; construction, repair, and clean-up services; and hotel and motel daily rental rates. 

The ordinance accommodates for a rise in underlying wholesale prices and prohibits price gouging due to emergency circumstances. 

The City Council also adopted an anti-eviction ordinance to protect tenants who lose income related to coronavirus. The loss of income can be related to being sick with or caring for a family member with COVID-19; layoff, loss of hours, or income reduction due to economic impacts of COVID-19; extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; child care needs relating to school closures; and more. 

So long as the coronavirus-related Local State of Emergency is in place, no-fault evictions are suspended within the city.

For questions on the implementation of the county’s order and new city measures related to addressing COVID-19, please email [email protected].

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