Following a special meeting Friday afternoon, the Santa Clarita City Council council unanimously declared a local emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a preparedness measure and to allow the city to access resources and recover costs.
In addition, the city announced that as of Saturday, March 14, all non-essential services will be suspended, all city facilities will be closed to the public for 14 days and all city events are canceled through April.
Essential public safety will continue to be provided at full-service levels by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol.
The decision to adjust services was made in light of the President’s National Declaration of Emergency and the first confirmed case of coronavirus from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
“We know that many of you are concerned, and there is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth.
“The actions we are taking today are to protect our community and slow the spread of the virus. This is about preparedness and being proactive – not about panic,” Smyth said. “As a community, we have had more than our fair share of emergency situations, and by being informed and united, we have been and will continue to be resilient.”
The essential city services that WILL remain in operation under the local emergency declaration include:
* City Management
* Santa Clarita Transit
* City Communications
* Streets Crews
* Graffiti Removal
* Parks Crews
* Urban Forestry
* Building and Safety (on a limited basis)
* Parking Enforcement
* Permit Center (by appointment only)
* Film Office (by appointment only)
All other city services are suspended for 14 days, including Public Library, The MAIN theatre, Community Centers and in-person services at City Hall.
On March 11, California Department of Public Health experts directed that all mass gatherings should be postponed or canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of six feet per person.
City events that will be canceled as part of Friday’s local emergency declaration include:
* The Sister Cities Hike – March 15
* SENSES Block Parties – March 19 and April 16
* Youth Arts Showcase – March 21
* DFY in SCV Youth Summit – March 27 and April 15
* Free to be Me Music Festival – March 29 (will be rescheduled)
* Eggstravaganza – April 11
* Cowboy Festival – April 18 -19
* Earth Arbor Day – April 25
Additionally, Youth and Adult Sports programs and all contract classes have been postponed until further notice. The city Council Regular meeting on Tuesday, March 24, has been canceled.
“This will be a period of significant disruption to our everyday lives, with our local schools closed and our public gatherings canceled,” Smyth said. “I encourage all of you to do your part to stay informed and limit the spread of this virus. The city will continue to push out critical information as well as share resources through our emergency website at SantaClaritaEmergency.com.”
The city of Santa Clarita is in regular contact with our community organizations and will continue to follow the recommendations of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect our community.
If you have questions on specific city services, please call 661-259-CITY between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For updates, please continue to monitor the city of Santa Clarita’s social media pages and visit our website at SantaClaritaEmergency.com.