June 23, 2020 - Letter from Mayor Eisen
Dear Half Moon Bay Community ( Para ver esta carta en español, oprime aquí​ ) ,

Hello – I’d like to start this week’s letter with some cautionary advice: as you know, businesses and activities are opening up a lot more, both here and throughout the state (more information below). And at the same time there are already reports of significant upward trends in the numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, statewide (and in other states which have “opened up” recently). Some say this increase is because of increased testing, while others are pointing to the relaxing of regulations as the primary cause...likely, it is some combination of those. Whatever you think is correct, we simply cannot afford to take the chance.
 
To maintain your own health, to keep your family safe, and to help keep the coronavirus from spreading in our community, I strongly urge you: continue to observe all social distancing and other public health protocols that we’ve been using for the last few months. Many public health professionals say that this is not over - not by a long shot - and I agree. While regulations are relaxing, we cannot relax in our personal efforts to contain COVID-19. Each of us is responsible for taking appropriate measures – social distancing, face coverings, etc. Your community is depending on you to continue doing the right thing.
 
Guidance for Reopening of Businesses:
 
On June 17, 2020 the San Mateo County Health Officer issued a new public health order, effective immediately, aligning the county with Governor Newsom’s  Resiliency Roadmap .
 
With this new order, Half Moon Bay and other San Mateo County cities are effectively in Stage 3 of the Governor’s plan. The new order emphasizes individual behavior and the practices businesses are required to follow in order to resume their operations.
 
I encourage businesses in Half Moon Bay to visit our new web page Guidance: Reopening of Businesses in Half Moon Bay , which includes industry guidance for each sector allowed to reopen, and also to read the new health order , it’s appendix , and the San Mateo County Reopening Plan web page .
 
New State Health Order Requires Face Coverings:
T his is for everyone in the community. Governor Newsom’s new order stipulates that face coverings are now required – not just recommended –while in public or high-risk settings including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care. While the County’s face covering order did not require masks for children under 12, the State’s order mandates them for children 2 and older.    
 
You should read the new State guidance on use of face coverings – in the meantime, here are the basics:
 
People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:
 
  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities
  • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible
 
This requirement is even more important with the reopening of many businesses and activities – please be responsible and do your part!
 
District-Based Elections Start This November – Attend Elections Q&A Online:
 
After a multi-year public process, the City is switching from at-large to district-based elections, starting with this November’s election (for background on this change, please visit the City’s   District-Based Elections web page ).
 
November is not that far away, and so to make sure the public is informed, the City has scheduled an Election Q&A Information Online Meeting on:
 
T hursday, June 25, at 6:00 PM
 
Maybe you have some of the same questions about the November election that a lot of other people are asking, including:

  • What voting district am I in?
  • Is my district electing a Council member this year?
  • What will my ballot look like?
  • How can I run for an open district Council seat?
 
All voters, potential candidates, and any interested community members are invited to this online Election Q&A information meeting. Questions about this meeting can be directed to Jonathan Roisman, Deputy City Clerk, at  jroisman@hmbcity.com
 
I hope to “see” you there!
 
Budget Update:
 
The City Council approved the FY 2020-21 budget at its June 16, 2020 meeting. With the revenue losses due to the pandemic, this was a particularly difficult budget to develop. Our City leadership and staff did a great job coming up with ways to balance the budget, and my City Council colleagues and I had many thoughtful and productive discussions before final approval.
 
I want to thank you, the community, for your participation in this budget process, through our interactive community survey, Council listening sessions, and other public discussions on the local needs and priorities for the City’s recovery and relief efforts.
 
The good news is that the last ten years of steady growth in tax revenue, moderate increases in expenditures and services, and the Council’s foresight to maintain healthy reserves is allowing the City to weather the current financial crisis.
 
With that said, the City was only able to balance the budget by including expenditure reductions in all departments and services, significant reductions in our City workforce, elimination of contract support services, and reliance on one-time transfers and use of reserves.
 
There will be community impacts from these expenditure and workforce reductions, and I appreciate your patience and understanding that we’re all working together to maintain services. I’ll try to summarize a few of those impacts here.

  • Basic maintenance services across all City parks, streets, trails, and facilities, as well as requests for services around maintenance, engineering, and sustainability-related issues, will all be significantly impacted. 
  • Efforts such as tree trimming and removal will be for emergency circumstances only, and will likely require more financial participation by property owners. 
  • Day-to-day service levels in our building and planning divisions will suffer - certain types of minor permits will no longer be issued over the counter, inspection hours will be limited; project management support for large projects  and planning analysis support will be reduced; some City-led code updates and various service improvements desired by the community will be delayed. 
  • The NET community academy and the Future Leaders Civics Academy programs are discontinued, as are other programs including Elections Night Out, the High School Youth Voter Registration Initiative, and other community events and programs; the annual number of City mail-out newsletters will be reduced by one-half
  • The employees of Half Moon Bay will take a 10-percent furlough, and a scheduled cost of living increase will be postponed; overall workforce reductions will take place

We are experiencing a historic set of circumstances right now, but I believe this budget is a solid step in the right direction toward recovery from the economic damage that has hit the entire country. I have great confidence in our future, and I know that with hard work, patience, and creativity, we, as a community, will endure and thrive.
 
Update from Last Week’s Law Enforcement Study Session:
 
Last week we held a special City Council Study Session to have a discussion around law enforcement and police services, in light of the national focus on racial injustice, and the indefensible excessive use-of-force in the death of George Floyd, and too many other people of color.
 
It was a productive conversation, and it’s clear this is only our first step in this process. To continue moving forward, the City Council formed an ad-hoc committee of the Council to work on next steps in how we may explore the future of community policing and law enforcement in our community, and ensure it is fair, impartial, and sensitive to all who live here. We expect the ad hoc committee to come back to the Council with some recommendations, which will no doubt include a public meeting to offer focus to the issue and gather more input from our community.
 
Congresswoman Speier Online Town Hall on Racial Inequality:
 
Representative Jackie Speier will be hosting an online town hall to discuss “the need for a national reckoning of our country’s racist history and the inequality and injustices that continue today.” The Town Hall includes Dr. John Gates, a diversity training specialist and a national thought-leaders on issues of diversity and racial bias.
 
I encourage you to join in with questions, or tune in to listen and learn.
 
Congresswoman Speier Online Town Hall
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
 
You can also hear the town hall live on Congresswoman Speier’s website and Facebook page, and post questions in the comment sections. See more information about this online event here .
 
Playgrounds/Play Structures Still Closed, but City Parks and Restrooms Reopened:
 
In light of the latest relaxing of some restrictions in public health orders, Half Moon Bay has reopened certain elements of our public parks.
 
PLEASE NOTE that the play structures – as “high-touch” elements – are NOT open. However, the turf areas and restrooms at the parks are open. This includes our skate park, as well as the dog park at Smith Field.
 
I cannot stress it enough – when using any public areas like this, take all public health regulations very seriously. Face coverings, social distancing, and hand sanitizing are critical to continuing our fight against the coronavirus. Parks users are expected to comply with the continuing closures of playgrounds and play structures, and observe any instructional signage.
 
Sustainability Update - Disposable Foodware Ordinance Information Meeting:
 
The City of Half Moon Bay is considering adoption of San Mateo County’s Disposable Foodware Ordinance. The County ordinance requires “disposable” foodware to be compostable, and reduces the wasteful distribution of accessories such as straws, stirrers, cup spill plugs, condiment packets, utensils, napkins, etc. 
 
In preparation for the first reading of the ordinance, City staff is holding an online informational session followed by a Q&A on:
 
Wednesday July 1, 2020
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
 
This informational session will be held on Zoom. A link for participants to attend the session will be available on the City’s  website  next week.
 
The City is considering this ordinance in order to:

  •  Eliminate disposable foodware that is not reusable or compostable
  • Improve the health and safety of community members by eliminating disposable food service ware that is harmful
  • Help meet our regional stormwater permit requirement by reducing street litter
 
The Disposable Foodware Ordinance would impact food facilities within Half Moon Bay which provide prepared food for public consumption. It is expected that the ordinance will be discussed by the City Council in September 2020 for a first reading, with consideration of final adoption in October 2020. If adopted, most elements of the Ordinance would start in October 2021.
 
For more information on the proposed ordinance please visit the  Disposable Foodware Ordinance website .
 
Businesses that may be impacted by the ordinance are encouraged to attend the online meeting, and/or provide feedback or questions to Half Moon Bay’s Sustainability Analyst, Veronika Vostinak by email  or phone at 650-750-2019 (input will be taken through Friday, August 14).
 
4 th of July Virtual Parade:
 
Every year, our traditional 4th of July Parade is such a welcome, fun event, really bringing the entire community (and beyond) together. Obviously under the current situation, a live parade is not possible this year.
 
Half Moon Bay may be one of the first cities to come up with this creative, fun, and very inclusive alternative way to celebrate the 4 th of July, when we can’t do a live parade – it’s the Virtual 4th of July Parade!
 
This unique concept all depends on you! In coordination with the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee and the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce, we’re asking our community’s residents, families, organizations, and businesses to submit a short (10 -15 seconds) video clip of you and your family members, friends, staff, and colleagues wishing your neighbors and friends a happy 4th of July.
 
Then, upload your videos from your phone or computer by clicking here . Be sure you send in your video BEFORE July 1st at 9:00 AM. The entire Virtual 4th of July Parade will be available for viewing on the City’s website by the weekend of the holiday.
 
We are so excited to have your help with this because we all know – just like in our beloved downtown 4 th of July Parade – the more the merrier! And keep in mind, you can get super-creative. Our idea of “wishing others a happy 4 th is only a suggestion – you can show your celebration and greetings in your own way! We just ask that you keep your submissions family-friendly and appropriate, and stick to the 10-15 second time.
 
Please title your video file with your family’s last name(s), business name, organization name, household name - whichever applies.
 
The Virtual 4 th of July website is here .
 
And even though we’re not having a live parade – please do be cautious with traffic and crowds over the holiday weekend.

As always, feel free to email me with any comments or concerns. And be sure to stay informed by visiting the City’s COVID-19 Daily Updates webpage , and our Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , and Nextdoor feeds.
Together in partnership,

Adam Eisen
Mayor