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Health officials now asking residents to cover nose, mouth with cloth when leaving home

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Health officials ask residents to cover nose, mouth with cloth when leaving home

Bay Area health officials are now recommending that residents cover their nose and mouth with cloth, such as bandanas, fabric masks or neck gaiters, when leaving the home, per new guidance from the California Dept. of Public Health.

Face coverings do not have to be hospital grade, as those are in limited supply and must be preserved for health care workers and first responders. Acceptable face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth and can be made of a variety of cloth materials, factory-made or hand-sewn, or can be improvised using bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts or towels, according to a San Mateo County statement. They should also be washed, ideally after each use, frequently with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle, and they should have a dedicated laundry bag or bin, officials said.

Up until recently, local officials have not recommended large-scale face covering but “circumstances have changed,” the county’s statement said.

“In addition to shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements, wearing a mask in public is an important tool to stop the community spread of this disease,” says Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County health officer. “People with no or mild symptoms may have coronavirus and not know it. Wearing face coverings helps protect others from exposure.”

Health officials stressed that residents continue staying home, and when leaving for essential activities to practice frequent hand-washing and social distancing.

Photo credit: CDC

San Carlos brewery, wine cellar produce hand sanitizer for first responders

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Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company has partnered with Cuvée Wine Cellars to produce hand sanitizer to distribute to city organizations.

The San Carlos brewery at 935 Washington St. has manufactured over 100 gallons of hand sanitizer, Co-owner and CEO Chris Garrett said.

Garrett said they’ve received over 2,000 orders for hand sanitizer from local law enforcement and fire departments.

“We’re working closely with Paul Rogerville at Cuvée Wine Cellars to source ingredients,” he said.

As demand for hand sanitizer ingredients increase, resources are becoming scarce.

“We’d like to source these ingredients locally, but with the lack of resources we must search nationally,” Garrett said. “Currently we are receiving products from Kentucky and Texas.”

On Tuesday, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office thanked the brewery in a Facebook video post


“The kick-off batch will be made for first responders to help deputies be equipped with the necessary items to help keep themselves and the community safe,” the post stated, adding, “We are here for San Mateo County and we appreciate the community being here for us. Together we can get through this.”

The brewery responded in a post to say, “We’re always happy to support our community.”

“We extend a huge thank you to the Sheriff’s Department for everything they’re doing to keep the community healthy and safe in times like these,” the brewery stated, adding, “If you and your families are in need of sanitizer, the locally produced batches will be available on the DCBC online store soon.”

The posts by the brewery and sheriff’s office ended with the hashtag: #SMCStrong.

Meanwhile, Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company is not leaving beer lovers behind. It is still offering to-go and delivery options. Orders can be placed over the phone, (650) 592-2739, or online.

CalFresh continuing food assistance during shelter-in-place order

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CalFresh continuing food assistance during shelter-in-place order

CalFresh is continuing to provide its resource during the current COVID-19 health crisis.

The state has decided not to discontinue its largest food program, which issues monthly Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to low-income individuals and families to purchase food at participating grocery store or farmers markets.

CalFresh said members are not required to submit their Semi-Annual Report or Recertification during the months of March, April and May. The amount of benefits a household receives depends on household size, countable incomes and monthly expenses, such as housing and utilities.

If you are experiencing a loss of income and would like to apply for CalFresh, visit

Redwood City PAL launches COVID-19 community fundraiser

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Redwood City PAL launches COVID-19 community fundraiser

The Redwood City Police Activities League (PAL) is asking community members to “be the best pal” and donate to the PAL COVID-19 fundraiser.

Donated funds will help the organization create “Shelter-in-Place Family Care Packages” including children’s books, art materials, board games, and other learning and playtime supplies. Such supplies, according to PAL,  help kids feel equipped for school assignments from home and bring the family together through fun activities.

The organization says it’s collaborating with the Redwood City Police Department, Redwood City Education Foundation and Redwood City School District to ensure materials land in the hands of the children who need it most.

All of the packages will be assembled and delivered over the next weeks by PAL staff, and appropriate measures will be taken to ensure everyone’s safe, PAL stated.

For more information on how to donate and for other ways you can help, visit the PAL GoFundMe page.

San Carlos Fairfield Inn no longer housing Grand Princess passengers

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San Carlos Fairfield Inn no longer housing Grand Princess passengers

The 120-room San Carlos hotel that temporarily housed passengers from the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship is now vacant, according to the city.

Moving forward, the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Skyway Road may be used as an alternate care site during the COVID-19 crisis, the city says.

“The last occupants from the Grand Princess cruise line at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in San Carlos departed last Thursday, and the hotel has been undergoing cleaning and disinfecting,” San Carlos Mayor Ron Collins said Tuesday afternoon. “The hotel operations may be used again in the near future as a quarantine facility under State or Federal operations.”

Also this week, County officials announced the establishment of a field hospital with up to 250 beds at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo. The facility won’t immediately house patients, but is rather a proactive effort to expand capacity in case a medical surge overwhelms local hospitals.

Census Day: San Mateo County employs non-contact tactics to achieve accurate count

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Today is Census Day – a highly atypical one given that in-person promotional events and critical door-to-door visits by Census workers have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, San Mateo County officials and community organizations are pushing forward with non-contact strategies to ensure all residents, including “hard-to-count” populations, are tallied in the critical decennial census. It’s an important mission, as data from the 2020 Census will be used to determine how federal funds are distributed to local communities, and how Congressional districts are drawn, over the next 10 years.

One tactic to achieving an adequate count amid the COVID-19 crisis has been to encourage citizens to complete their census online, an option offered for the first time in history.

“It is critical that county residents participate in the census as much of the federal government’s investment in our state and county is dependent upon an accurate population count,” San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said. “The census is easy to complete online so let’s all take a few minutes now and do just that.”

Today at 3 p.m., the county is hosting a telephone town hall to officially launch the 2020 Census (see dial-in info below). The town hall will feature Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin and Marc Berman, County Supervisor Carole Groom, and Emma Gonzalez, Community Affairs Manager for the County.

Despite the new online census option, counting citizens amid the pandemic remains challenging. Typically, when households fail to respond to mailed census forms mailed to them, Census workers will knock on their doors to ask the needed questions in person. Also, in-person events are held to promote the census and assist citizens in brief process of filling out form. Those options are now off the table for the health and safety of census workers and citizens, making it difficult to reach certain populations, including the very young, very old, certain immigrant populations and individuals who are not native English speakers.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local Census officials have had to adjust their outreach strategy, relying more heavily on virtual outreach online and by phone than originally planned,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “Fortunately California has never been more prepared to meet this unique moment. While our outreach strategy has changed, our message has not. The Census is still happening and participating is one of the easiest, most impactful, and long lasting ways to support your community.”

United Way, Bay Area, is one of 10 organizations across the state leading community-based efforts to reach those populations. It’s using a variety of tactics to get the word out, from digital advertising to providing grants to several local organizations offering citizens assistance. Social service organizations are calling down their client lists to check in on everyone and ask if assistance is needed to complete the census, said Stephanie Kim of the United Way, Bay Area.

Kim also called attention to the work of Self-Help for the Elderly, an organization that serves the elderly Chinese-American population in the region, including in San Mateo County. In their regular food deliveries to clients, they have now included handouts about health best practices and information to fill out the census and where to call for assistance.

“Many of the hard to count populations are already marginalized. If they’re not counted in this census, they will become all the more marginalized, said Stephanie Kim of the United Way, Bay Area.

While the census takes only a few minutes to complete, it “has implications for the next 10 years,” said Melissa Vergara, a Community Outreach Specialist from the San Mateo County Office of Community Affairs, the county office working on the census.

“We are still really committed to a complete count, while complying with all health and safety standards,” Vergara said.

Further Information

San Mateo County Tele-Town Hall

Wednesday, 4/1/202, 3pm

Call: (855) 962-1455


Respond to the Census:

Census Response rate for san Mateo County, as of 3/31/2020, for up to date information:

Photo credit: San Mateo County

Dozens of Peninsula small businesses launch fundraisers to assist employees

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Bevy of Peninsula small businesses launch fundraisers to assist staffers employees

“After almost 29 years doing business as Buck’s of Woodside — in an instant — we had to let everyone go in this new unpredictable world.”

Just like that, 42 people lost their jobs.

To assist them, Jamis and Margaret MacNiven, owners of the iconic restaurant, launched a GoFundMe. The online fundraising effort has been impressive: over $60,000 raised. It helps that Buck’s is famous for having hosted celebrities and tech industry titans such as Elon Musk, who reportedly Tweeted support for the restaurant on March 17, “If Jamis needs help, he has many friends, me among them.”

As they await the possibility of government assistance, including the recently passed $2 trillion federal stimulus package and, locally, the recently-launched San Mateo County Strong Fund — which is raising funds to support local small businesses, nonprofits, families and individuals — dozens of Peninsula small businesses are using online fundraisers to assist employees who can no longer work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a generous community, some are achieving success on sites such as GoFundMe.

Avenir Restaurant Group, operator of Rossotti’s Alpine Inn in Portola Valley, Milagros in Redwood City, Nola in Palo Alto and Town in San Carlos, has thus far raised nearly $140,000 for its staff. The ownership team and its vendors have also committed to matching the first $50,000 raised. The funds will “provide daily, nutritious meals out of our Milagros kitchen to our employees and their families who are most affected by the current circumstances,” said Greg St. Claire, managing partner of Avenir Restaurant Group.

“Opening our kitchens back up also allows a number of our employees to get back to work and feed hundreds of people in need,” St. Claire added.

Owners of Alana Cafe in Redwood City and Sixto’s Cantina in Burlingame can’t keep their eateries open during the COVID-19 lockdown. They’re raising funds to support 90 employees, who “have not been working since March 15,” co-owner Francesca Tashjian said.

“Some of these families only have one working adult and most are working in the service industry for 2-3 employers,” Tashjian said.

Lauren Savage, co-founder of The Reading Bug Bookstore in San Carlos, also worries about financially surviving the COVID-19 lockdown.  While craftily continuing her business’ mission via storytimes on Facebook and website orders, Savage is raising funds for staff salaries, rent and utility and vendor bills.

“We are adjusting to the reality of losing our in-store revenue streams for the foreseeable future,” Savage said.

Francesco Ruggiero, owner of Delizie Cucina in San Carlos, described being “heartbroken, but not defeated,” as it looks to support its employees.

“100% of the funds raised here will be distributed to our hourly staff, distributor, utilities, etc.,” Ruggiero said.

Here’s a list of more local businesses launching fundraisers to support their employees and/or their survival include. Also consider donating to the General Small Business Relief Fund in Redwood City.

Photo credit: Avenir Restaurant Group

Climate Magazine April issue goes online

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Climate Magazine’s monthly issue will not appear in print as a result of coronavirus restrictions on distribution. However, the April issue can be read in its entirety right here on Climate’s website.

The expanded 40-page issue includes all of the Redwood City-based publication’s staples, but additional guest contributions have been included, among them columns related to the pandemic.

In her monthly letter, Editor Janet McGovern addressed the challenges the editorial team weighed in considering how—and even whether—to publish. The fact that most readers are subject to “shelter in place” limits and usual distribution outlets for the free magazine are closed was a major factor in the decision to move the magazine online. Present plans are to return to print for the May issue.

As a public service, Climate devoted several pages in the April issue to honoring the recipients of the recent Sequoia Awards, who were denied the normal opportunity of being acknowledged at a banquet. That March event was cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Publisher Adam Alberti says making the magazine available online means Climate’s regular audience won’t have to miss an issue, and he hopes the digital format will introduce the award-winning publication to new readers.

Extended Bay Area stay-at-home order has new restrictions

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The stay-at-home order impacting six Bay Area counties, including San Mateo County, has been extended until May 3 and includes new restrictions aiming to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the overwhelming of local hospitals.

Effective tonight at midnight, the updated order prohibits the use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas and similar recreational areas; bans the use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools and rock walls; and requires sports where people share equipment, such as a ball, be limited to people in the same household.

The new order, in full here. prohibits most residential and commercial construction, limits funeral attendance to no more than 10 people, and requires businesses that are deemed “essential” to have social distancing protocols in place by April 3.

The description, “essential businesses,” has been expanded to include those involved in residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.), funeral homes and cemeteries, moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities, according to the health order. Essential businesses also must scale down operations to essential components only.

Essential businesses, per the order, still allow operations of healthcare facilities, along with those operating and maintaining essential infrastructure, grocery stores, certified farmers markets, and others selling unprepared food. Farming, livestock and fishing for food cultivation is also essential, along with gas stations, auto and bicycle repair and supply shops, hardware stores, mailing and shipping services and businesses providing shelter and necessary social services to underprivileged individuals.

Childcare facilities may only provide care to children or dependents of individuals working for essential businesses, providing essential governmental functions, or performing minimum basic operations for non-essential businesses, according to the order.

Landscaping and gardening for cosmetic or general upkeep is prohibited. Landscapers and similar service professionals “may only provide services necessary to maintain the sanitation, habitability, or operation of residences or businesses, or for safety reasons,” according to the new guidelines.

The order also restricts people from moving unless it is not possible to wait until the health order expires, or if the move was already planned.

Violating the health order “can be enforced by law enforcement and also through civil remedies,” the order states.

“Failure to comply with the requirements is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both,” according to the order. “The County may take appropriate actions to stop businesses from violating the Ordinance, including obtaining a temporary restraining order and pulling an applicable permit or revoking an applicable license.”

For more detailed information on the new order, visit here.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the six most populous Bay Area counties increased from 258 to 2,092 between March 15 and March 29, according to health officials. As of Tuesday, there were 309 confirmed cases and 10 deaths within San Mateo County.

San Mateo: Arrests made in alleged gang-related shooting that injured 2

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San Mateo: Arrests made in alleged gang-related shooting that injured 2

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with an alleged gang-related shooting that injured two men in San Mateo Friday night.

Police were dispatched to the intersection of Rogell Avenue and N. Kingston Street, a block from the Poplar Creek Golf Course, on reports of a shooting. Officers located two victims, men ages 20 and 22. One had been shot in the head and the other in the buttocks, police said. While one is in critical condition at a local trauma center, the other is in stable condition.

Police believe the shooting was a targeted gang-related attack. Following an investigation, at 10:15 a.m. on Monday the North Center Regional SWAT Team served a search warrant at a home in the 1200 block of Monte Diable Avenue, located several blocks from the scene of the shooting. Nathan Rodriguez, 32, and Karla Rodriguez, 31, both of San Mateo, were identified as suspects in the shooting. Nathan Rodriguez was booked into jail on charges of attempted homicide and assault with a firearm, while Karla Rodriguez was booked on the charge of accessory to a felony.

The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information on this senseless shooting is encouraged to contact Sgt. Lee Violett at (650) 522-7662 or by email at Anonymous tips can be submitted here or by calling (650) 522-7676.

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