Brentwood Urgent Care is Creating a Covid-19 Nuisance

By Maryann Gray

I am a Santa Monica resident who lives near the Brentwood Urgent Care center, which is on 26th Street just north of Wilshire (1156 26th).

In recent weeks, Brentwood Urgent Care has started offering COVID-19 testing. Testing is important, but a large number of people waiting for their tests, some of whom are surely COVID positive, congregate outside the Center, blocking the sidewalk.

Even if they lined up neatly, the sidewalk is less than 6 feet wide in that location, which makes it impossible to maintain social distancing.

Under current conditions, pedestrians must pass within inches of those waiting or walk into traffic on busy 26th Street. So, instead of promoting public health Brentwood Urgent Care is risking public health. The City has either refused or been unable to do anything about this, despite numerous appeals to code enforcement, police, and city council.

It seems to me they have several options. First, people should be told not to congregate in front of the building where the sidewalk is so narrow, not to block the sidewalk and not to block the other merchants (e.g., the postal shop next door). They can wait in their cars (ideally) or, if they do not have a car on site, they can find a socially distant spot in which to sit.

For example, lovely Douglas Park is one block away, so people can go there and receive a text when their turn is coming up (just like restaurants used to do). Yet another option is to ask people to wait on line along the wall of the building that fronts the parking lot (north wall), which would enable both cars and pedestrians to get by.

The current situation is both a health/COVID and a traffic risk. Brentwood Urgent Care is a for-profit provider, and they are treating city sidewalks as private property. If they cannot solve the problem, they should not administer the tests. The UCLA Urgent Care facility practically right across the street has staff out on the sidewalk to make sure everyone is safe, but I guess Brentwood Urgent Care doesn't want to spend the money for such staff.


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