Now is the time to hunker down…

By Kevin McKeown and Rick Cole

Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown and City Manager Rick Cole want you to stay home

Kevin McKeown is the mayor of Santa Monica. Rick Cole is Santa Monica’s city manager.

Both Governor Newsom and county public health officials have emphasized: This is the time to stay home! We know that the next few weeks are critical to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We are adding our plea to our entire community: Stay home and limit all out-of-home trips!

Our top health official Dr. Barbara Ferrer shared last week:

“As we expect to see a significant increase in cases over the next few weeks, we are asking that everyone avoid leaving their homes for anything except the most urgent matters. And when you do leave, please make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering if you will be around others, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from everyone else, and frequently wash your hands.”

We all hold the power to fight against this invisible and deadly virus by staying home. While staying indoors runs counter to our normal Santa Monica lifestyle, our ability to come together and rally around such an important call to action, embodies the Santa Monica spirit.

Staying at home will save lives and preserve the health care system we all rely on.

After all this is over, we will have the luxury of debating exactly what should have been done by whom and when. But there can be no debate about this now: You have the individual power to make a difference by heeding this urgent call!

According to the latest information from the LA County Department of Health Services, there are 1,406 hospital beds available countywide with 258 intensive care unit beds able to receive a patient. COVID-19 positive tests countywide now number over 10,000 as of Tuesday and approximately 1,000 new cases are reported every two days. As of press time, there are 360 tragic deaths. We must closely monitor the capacity of our healthcare system in the context of COVID-19 cases because it demonstrates why public health officials have taken this next step in illness mitigation.

It is with this in mind that your council and city management ask that you stay safe and stay home for the next week.

Please consider modifying outdoor exercise routines, leaning on delivery systems — we have hundreds of restaurants in Santa Monica that offer delivery — and continuing to phone vulnerable friends and neighbors whom you can support from afar.

Every choice you make to stay home helps protect the 17% of our residents who are over age 65, as well as neighbors with fragile health or who are immuno-compromised.

Your city is here for you and will continue to take bold action to protect your health and safety. While you remain indoors, the Santa Monica Police and Fire Departments will remain at full capacity. Public Works will collect your trash and recyclables, and deliver high quality water. Our Emergency Operations Center is responding to daily challenges and planning for what’s to come. Our COVID hotline at (310) 458-8400 remains open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to answer your questions and connect you to resources.

COVID-19 is taking a profound toll on all of us. Thousands of families and businesses in our community and across the nation are devastated by forces no one has the ability to control. And we know that the limitations on human connection can make daily life difficult. Please take care. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Continue to reach out to those you love through weekly or daily video chats. If you need support, the LA County Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 call line is available at 1-800-854-7771. And sometimes giving to others delivers back dividends. Virtual volunteerism opportunities are available at

Make sure you get the latest local information by signing up at for daily updates direct to your inbox. Get emergency alerts by texting SMCOVID to 888-777. Check regularly.

Throughout this emergency we’ve asked you to stay calm, stay informed, and stay healthy. Please also stay home.