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City Extends Eviction Moratorium, Clarifies Face Mask Use Outdoors

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

July 15, 2020 -- The City of Santa Monica on Wednesday extended an eviction moratorium for tenants affected by the cornavirus shutdown and clarified an order for the use of face masks during outdoor activities.

Under the extension to September 30, residential tenants continue to have one year from the time the moratorium ends to pay the back rent. The extension for commercial tenants, which covers mostly small businesses, runs through August 31.

“As COVID-19 continues to spread, impacting the livelihoods of our community members and small businesses, we continue to extend our local eviction moratorium to keep people in their homes or tenancy,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg.

Under the moratorium-- which was first ordered on March 14 -- tenants must notify their landlords in writing that they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 and its impacts and provide supporting documentation.

The commercial moratorium does not cover large businesses, including publicly traded companies and those with more than 100 employees.

Non-retail commercial tenants who are not large businesses are protected by the moratorium which, will be phased out beginning September 1.

To qualify, tenants must be for-profit businesses that occupy offices and either do not collect sales tax on revenue or collect sales tax on less than half of revenue.

The definition does not cover businesses that provide "medical, dental, veterinary, fitness, educational, or child, marriage, family, mental health, or substance abuse counseling services," City officials said.

On Wednesday, the City also issued an order further clarifying requirements for face coverings.

The order clarifies that "everyone engaging in outside activities must wear a face covering, or have one ready to be immediately put on, whenever they approach within 30 feet of another person outside of their household."

The 30 feet -- which is about the length of two cars end-to-end -- gives "adequate time to put on a face covering before the distance closes and the people are within six feet of each other, which puts them at greater risk for transmission of the virus, according to the order.

The 30-foot rule applies "whether people are on the sidewalk, in a park, on a path or trail, or in any other outdoor area, and whether they are walking, running, biking, otherwise exercising, standing, or engaged in transportation such as using a motorcycle, skateboard, moped, or scooter."

The face-covering order makes exceptions for children under two years old and those with medical conditions or disabilities, among others.

Doctors warn that exercising while wearing a mask increases the heart rate, according to a June 17 article in the New York Times.

“You should anticipate that it will be about eight to 10 beats higher per minute” when you wear a mask than when you do not, said Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.

Wearing a face mask can also lead to lightheadedness during familiar workouts, said Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

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