COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

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Media Contacts

Elizabeth Smith, City Communications Manager, (831) 420-5016
Eileen Cross, Water Department, (831) 420-5213
Joyce Blaschke, Santa Cruz Police Department, (831) 420-5844
Janice Bisgaard, Public Works Department, (831) 420-5166

Police Department Press Releases, click here
Fire Department Press Releases, click here


City Implements Mitigation Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Post Date:03/16/2020 5:49 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                         
March 16, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Contact: Ralph Dimarucut 
 (831) 420-5017


Operational Changes to City Facilities, Programs and Events Postponed


As you may know, the City of Santa Cruz declared a local health emergency regarding a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 10, 2020. This declaration empowered the City to respond effectively to COVID-19, seek and utilize mutual aid, potentially obtain reimbursement, and ensure that City staff has all the necessary tools and powers at their disposal to slow the spread of the Coronavirus Outbreak. Following this declaration, the City immediately adopted several measures to protect City employees and our community.


As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise throughout the world, the United States, and in our region, the City of Santa Cruz is increasing its response by utilizing mitigation strategies consistent with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency guidelines to slow the transmission of disease and protect individuals at increased risk for severe illness, healthcare workers, and critical infrastructure workforces.


These mitigation efforts include operational changes to City facilities and the cancelling or postponing of events and programs starting Tuesday March 17, 2020.


“Our priority, first and foremost, is the health and welfare of the Santa Cruz community. While our City facilities, events and programs are thoroughly enjoyed and utilized by residents, visitors, and the public on a daily basis, we know that social distancing works and that these operational changes will help slow the spread of coronavirus in our community,” said City Manager Martin Bernal. “The Santa Cruz community is compassionate, caring, and resilient. Together, the City and its residents, businesses and neighbors, will persevere through this epidemic and protect our community.” 


Essential services that are critical to the health and safety of the community will remain operational, including police, fire, water, wastewater, building inspections, and trash collection. 


The following operational changes will take effect on Tuesday, March 17: 



  • The City Manager’s Office will remain open with a modified main reception and reduced staffing.


  • Business assistance services will be maintained to respond to the current public health emergency including business outreach and compiling of resources. Current list of business resources, guidance and business-related information available at
  • Property management services for City-owned property and tenants will be maintained as needed.
  • Housing Division will be monitoring emails and conducting essential business remotely
  • Public Arts activities and Arts Commission meetings will be suspended.
  • The Economic Development office will be closed to the public, however emails to staff and Department will be monitored remotely.



  • Plans for maintaining staffing to provide the most critical of our public safety missions are in place. 

  • All public education programs are suspended, including public fire station visits.

  • Fire Prevention Inspections will continue with enhanced measures to minimize exposure.

  • Fire Administration will be closed to walk in service but will remain open to phone calls and email to coordinate service. 



  • The Human Resources Department will be closed through March 31, 2020.
  • All recruitments will be postponed.


  • Training will be cancelled for the next 3 weeks.




  • Information Technology (IT) will be open with reduced staffing




  • The Parks & Recreation Administrative Office at 323 Church St will be closed. Please contact or (831) 420-5270 with any questions.

  • Facilities: The Civic Auditorium, Louden Nelson Community Center, Harvey West Clubhouse/Scouthouse, Harvey West Pool, Depot Park Freight Building and others will be closed until March 31, 2020 as a result of these operational changes.

  • Classes and Programming:  All City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation classes, activities, and programs will be canceled until March 31, 2020. Summer registration is unaffected - please visit for updates.

  • Events: All Parks & Recreation events scheduled are being cancelled through March 31, 2020.

  • Private Reservations:  All private reservations for City of Santa Cruz parks or facilities scheduled are being canceled until March 31, 2020. For questions about rescheduling or refunds, please contact the Parks & Recreation Administrative Office at (831) 420-5270 or




  • The public counters will be closed for all divisions.
  • Limited Building inspections will be available.Lead times for scheduling inspections may increase.
  • Rental inspections and code inspections are cancelled.
  • For payments, submittals, inquiries, and the latest information on the Department’s services, see the Department’s website at and phone messages will be monitored, as noted on the website.



  • Plans for maintaining staffing to provide the most critical of our public safety missions are in place. 

  • Police Services remain open for business with enhanced measures to minimize exposure. However, the front office will be closed for a week in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

  • All public education programs suspended, including Police Department tours.



  • Refuse, Recycling, greenwaste pickups and street sweeping will remain in effect.


  • Resource Recovery Facility will operate during normal hours.
  • Counter service in Public Works is reduced to 7 am to noon, Customers are encouraged to contact the department through alternative means to in-person service. Please call 831-420-5160.


    Parking Services Division:


    • Parking Services will be monitoring calls for service.Please contact 420-5185, someone will get back to you as soon as possible.Please note response times may be longer than anticipated due to staff shortages.


  • Enforcement
    • No enforcement of City controlled Parking Meters and Paid Parking Lots; time limits, loading zone restrictions, No Parking Areas and other Safety Notices during the closure will be enforced as needed, be mindful of the posted signage.


  • Parking Lots and Garages
    • Garage Exit Gates will be raised to allow for Exit, Entrance gates will remain down and active, no payment will be required during the closure.
    • Wharf Gate access will be open, no payment will be required during the closure


  • The Parking Office Service Windows will be closed to the Public.
  • Parking Maintenance
    • Sidewalks, garage restrooms, parking facilities will continue to be cleaned and maintained.Restroom facilities are open:


Public Restrooms        Open 6am – 10pm, 7 days a week until further notice

Locust Street Garage  124 Locust Street       

Soquel Front Garage   601 Front Street                     

Portable Toilets and Wash Stations    Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Lot 2   1100 Cedar Street      

Lot 8   710 Cedar Street        

Lot 27 301 Front Street



(Supporting the Cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Scotts Valley and the County of Santa Cruz)

  • The Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) have suspended the use of its public facilities until March 31, 2020. Critical information services will continue to be provided, including phone reference from 10am to 5pm. 

  • To access reference services, call 831-427-7713, text 831.264.0647, or email

  • SCPL’s Virtual Library is open and provides free access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, News, Movies, and Music 24/7 from home with your library card and PIN/password. 

  • Research collections and other eLearning options are also available free, 24/7 from home with your library card and PIN/password from our Research page. Educators and homeschool leaders without access to online teaching platforms are invited to try Brainfuse Help Now’s MEET.

  • The Library is exploring more options to support the educational needs of the community. Please visit the Library’s website for updates:
  • The Library has waived late fees and is asking the public to hold their books until the public facilities reopen. 





  • The Santa Cruz Water Department has suspended face to face interactions with customers related to billing and customer service questions or issues and development service reviews.Department staff are available on line and over the phone to conduct necessary business and operating staff will be reporting for duty to provide for ongoing production and delivery of safe drinking water.



  • The frequency and length of public meetings, including the City Council, boards and commissions, will be minimized or postponed. Non-urgent and non-essential City business with expected public feedback will be postponed. 

  • Individuals attending public meetings in person will be required to maintain appropriate social distancing, (i.e., maintain a 6-foot distance) and free of symptoms related to COVID-19.

  • The City is encouraging those who are unable to attend to view the City Council meetings on the City of Santa Cruz’s Website at, on, or on channel 25. 

  • The public is also invited to submit their comments via email to The sender must include the agenda item number and title in the email’s subject line. All emails will be shared with the Councilmembers and will be considered part of the public record. 


  • As a result of our mitigation efforts, City offices will be operating with limited staff beginning March 17, 2020.  Accordingly, our response times for public records act requests during this time will be delayed.  We will, however, diligently process any pending requests as staff time permits. 


Updates on the status of the details above will be provided and shared on the web and on all social media channels. The City of Santa Cruz thanks the community for understanding why the City put these important measures in place, and we encourage all residents to continue to take precautions during this peak potential outbreak of coronavirus locally. Please see for updated information and resources.


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