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March 27, 2020

Watsonville to weigh eviction moratorium amid COVID-19 outbreak

Special meeting called for Friday morning

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council has called a special meeting to consider a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by tenants impacted by COVID-19. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the City Council Chambers in the Watsonville Civic Plaza.

The urgency ordinance comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order signed Monday that allowed local jurisdictions to halt evictions for renters and homeowners and slow foreclosures, among other things.

Watsonville’s ordinance will include protections for commercial renters, Watsonville City Manager Matt Huffaker said.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Watsonville will continue to enact policy changes that will ensure our residents can weather this crisis,” Huffaker said. “We recognize that the vast majority of landlords will act responsibly, but this ordinance will serve to ensure that no renter loses their home due to a crisis that is out of their control.”

The meeting will be open to the public but the City urged citizens to watch and participate remotely. Citizens can call 768-3527 during an item’s public comment portion to participate. 

Written comments can also be submitted through email until 8 a.m. on Friday at [email protected]. The City said to write “Public Comment” in the subject line and include the item number and title of the item in the body of the email and comments. If people would like their comments to be read at the meeting, they must include “Read Out Loud at Meeting” at the top of the email. Those comments cannot exceed three minutes.

The Monterey County Supervisors unanimously approved a moratorium on “failure to pay rent” evictions on Tuesday to protect residents in the unincorporated parts of the county, including nearby Pajaro. That moratorium will run until May 31.

Huffaker said he expects several cities around the Monterey Bay to follow suit.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.