One of the first things to be closed down when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic was the Santa Monica Pier. The pier was shut down on March 16th, but for a while the surrounding beaches remained open.
It wasn’t until about two weeks later that the quarantine was extended to the stay at home order for all California residents. Even during this time some of the piers, such as the Malibu pier, remained open. Then some photos surfaced of people not properly social distancing on the open piers and beaches and our governor ordered literally everything shut down.
The Santa Monica Pier attracts over 23,000 tourists each day. That’s a lot of people. And when I look at the photos of the pier taken back in January, the off season, and see all the people crowding together on it I’m struck with a thought. Of the 23,000 people on it each day prior to coronavirus, some of them had to be sick. And we’ve had some nasty pandemics move through in the past (SARS, swine flu, avian flu) yet I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from passing too close to someone on the pier that had a cold or virus! (see all of the photos of the Santa Monica Pier before and during quarantine at the end of this post.)
When I stop and think about it, it seems implausible that anyone would catch anything there either. Fresh air and sunshine have long been considered remedies for illness. People usually catch things from people in confined spaces, not out in the open spaces!
The good news is that after being closed and lonely for over three months, the Santa Monica Pier has reopened. It’s a “soft” reopening in that only the pier is open as of this post. The shops, restaurants and rides are still closed.
If you have the travel itch and live close enough to drive, this is a great place to go and get some space. The crowds are thin, the views are fantastic and there is plenty to do in Santa Monica. Hotel rates are likely to be steeply discounted, but be sure to call the hotel you plan to stay at and ensure they are open and clean. I bring a travel air purifier with me when I’m on the road. I’ve been doing it since long before coronavirus because hotel air can be stale. You can get one with germ/virus killing properties. Also ones that emit ozone kill germs and viruses, but if you get one of this type put it in the room for about a half hour or hour and go eat dinner. Turn off the ozone portion of it and stay out of the room for another half an hour and go sightseeing.
Be sure to check out our post on the fun things to do in Santa Monica and also our post on how to find affordable hotels near the Santa Monica Pier.
See the photos after the break… If you need coronavirus stock photos click here.