This week of May 4th newsletter is to give you the latest update on local issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember to visit the NEW County website about COVID-19 by clicking here which will be updated when anything NEW is announced.
Last Friday, a new Shelter In Place (SIP) order was issued. The big changes included a closure of all County beaches from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, State Parks beaches will mirror this closure as well. Access to water sports (surfing, paddle boarding, etc.) will be allowed all day, every day. Restrictions were also relaxed for elective surgeries and some other medical procedures (including well baby checks and colonoscopies). Additional SIP changes now allow for construction, outdoor landscape maintenance, and golf. You can read the whole order here.
Over the weekend, stepped up enforcement took place on County beaches, in coastal Live Oak parking areas, and also surrounding vacation rentals/hotels. Deputies issued over 100 SIP citations and Live Oak parking staff issued nearly 200 tickets for parking violations. Deputies also visited over 100 vacation rentals and found the vast majority to be in compliance. Those few who were found in violation, their guests were required to leave. To report a business or vacation rental violating the SIP order, please call 831-454-7747. An evaluation of impacts will be conducted, and additional enforcement may be added in the future.
To guide Santa Cruz County through the process of reopening the community and the local economy, the County announced the launch of "SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County", led by Margaret Lapiz. This effort is guided by the six indicators that the Governor has announced need to be fulfilled before we can lift the SIP order. In our county, this includes a partnership with UC Santa Cruz to help increase testing and train new contact tracers. As we set the guidelines for re-opening, SAVE Lives will also issue requirements to ensure proper physical distancing in restaurants, retail, and offices. To read more click here.
The County invites local health care workers to participate in the California Office for Emergency Services program providing hotel rooms to frontline health care workers who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19. Local doctors, nurses, and other health care workers risk their health and welfare to protect the community, and the State wants to protect the families of those individuals by offering shelter if necessary. Rooms are available in proximity to medical facilities and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by allowing critical health care staff to stay at pre-identified hotel rooms that are provided at no charge or at a discounted rate. Read more here.
Second Harvest Food Bank has been conducting Community Drive-Through Food Distributions in Watsonville and Santa Cruz to help families in need. Upcoming Community Drive-Through Food Distributions at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will be held on May 8 and May 29, and in Watsonville at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds on May 15 and May 22. Get more information here.
Last Wednesday I held a Telephone Town Hall with Assistant County Administrative Officer Elissa Benson about efforts underway to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness. You can listen to it here.
There is a weekly press conference with County health officials on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. You can watch it on the County's Facebook site by clickinghere.
Telephone Town Hall at 6 pm Wednesday
Congressman Jimmy Panettawill be joining me for a Tele-town Hall from 6-7 p.m. this Wednesday, May 6th. Congressman Panetta will discuss federal actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic and what types of assistance there is and may be for Santa Cruz County residents.
Wednesday, May 6th
6 pm - 7 pm
To listen in or ask questions at the Telephone Town Hall Meeting
831-454-2222 / Use Collaboration ID Number: 855976
If You Need Help
With the collective anxiety and stress ramping up, it is important that people take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. This is especially true for people with existing mental health conditions, including challenges with substance use, who may be more strongly affected by the stress of the crisis. It is normal to feel strong emotions at this time, and there are many resources available to help cope with these feelings and recover. The County has a
24 hour Support Line at (800) 952-2335. More resources are listed on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website at
www.namiscc.org. For more information, including how to join local support groups, call the Santa Cruz NAMI office at (831) 824-0406, or send an email to: