The City of Goleta has taken a number of steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
On March 14, 2020, the City Manager declared a local emergency and at the following City Council meeting on March 17, 2020, Council ratified the City Manager’s local emergency proclamation. The Governor issued a Stay at Home order on March 19, 2020.
The Order required the immediate closure of restaurants and bars, with the exception of take-out orders, the closure of gyms, bowling alleys, movie theatres and arcades.
The emergency declaration and subsequent action by the City established the following:
- Access to play structures and exercise equipment in all City parks, beaches and open space is prohibited.
- The skatepark at Jonny D. Wallis Neighborhood Park at 170 S. Kellogg Avenue is closed as well.
- Group picnic sites are closed.
- Basketball, pickleball, volleyball and tennis courts are closed.
Fees Imposed for Violations of City’s Emergency Order
At the City’s first virtual City Council meeting on April 7, 2020, the City Council approved imposing fees for people who willfully violate the City’s Emergency Order. The standard penalties would apply including:
- $100 per occurrence for the first violation
- $200 per occurrence for the second violation
- $500 for each subsequent violation
- If a misdemeanor is pursued it would be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed six months
Moratorium on Evictions
The City passed a resolution prohibiting commercial and residential evictions due to COVID-19 on March 17 and on March 27 the Governor issued a similar order. On April 7, the City Council approved increasing the fees for violations of the eviction prohibitions.
The City order imposes a higher financial cost to disregarding the City’s orders to deter landlords from evicting a tenant who cannot pay rent due to loss of income due to COVID-19.
The first violation would be subject to a $5,000 fine, second violation within one year of the first violation would be subject to a $7,500 fine, and subsequent violation within one year of the first violation would be subject to a $10,000 fine. For more details on City’s eviction prohibitions and associated fines go to our website at www.cityofgoleta.org/covid19.
Transient Occupancy Tax Deferment
The City also passed a measure to help provide some relief to the City’s hotel industry which is experiencing a sharp decline in business with low occupancy rates. On April 7, the City Council agreed to allow hotels, motels and short-term vacation rental operators within its jurisdiction, upon written request, to defer payment of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) for two months.
The City Council granted the first deferral of payment of the TOT for the months of March and April 2020 and required payment to be made by June 30, 2020. The City Manager is authorized to grant subsequent deferrals at two month increments if the local emergency is still in place. The City’s TOT rate is equivalent to 12% of the cost of a room per night and is a tax imposed upon visitors.