Councilmember Susan Wengraf
Newsletter #78

July, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

== The changing regulations regarding our health and safety during this COVID-19 pandemic seem inconsistent, confusing, and contradictory to me. I urge you all to think about your individual situations and make decisions about your behavior based on reliable sources.

== In reality, the virus is as virulent now as it was when we shut down in March. The factors that have changed are a) local hospitals are now prepared to treat you, and b) you can be tested, whether you have symptoms or not.

== Amidst all the pressure to re-open, I fear we will see a surge in illness. Please take care to protect yourselves and our community from getting sick.

== Be safe,
Fewer Restrictions, Increased COVID-19 Cases
== As we begin to reopen, it is important to know that the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alameda County and Berkeley are still going up.

== Please continue to be informed and deliberative when you decide to resume activities.
== Remember these five recommendations:

  1. Staying home is the safest place to be in a pandemic
  2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer when out of the house
  3. Keep at least 6 feet away from people not in your household at all times
  4. Wear a face covering when outside the home

== Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the City's Health Officer, has issued a revised Shelter In Place Order that went into effect on June 19 th . The following activities are now allowed in Berkeley:

  • Retail stores open for indoor shopping, subject to limitations on occupancy and other conditions
  • Restaurants open for outdoor dining only
  • Places of worship can hold religious services and cultural ceremonies attended by up to 100 individuals, subject to limitations on occupancy and other conditions
  • Outdoor non-contact fitness classes with up to 12 participants
  • College sports teams can conduct non-contact, socially distanced athletic training and practices;
  • Outdoor museums, historic sites, and publicly accessible gardens
  • Outdoor political events and demonstrations with appropriate social distancing
  • Dog parks can reopen
  • Vehicle-based gatherings, such as drive-in movies.
== "We permit these activities with restrictions to limit spread, but people should not abandon caution," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley. COVID-19 remains a threat to everyone in our community, regardless of age. Just because an act is allowed, does not mean that the risk of infection has been eliminated."
== Residents should assess the risks for themselves or their households when taking part in additional activities. Reduce risk by being outdoors, having shorter activities, and using merchants that visibly abide by protocols. 
== Increased activities and movements will lead to more COVID-19 cases. Doing so in a gradual fashion lessens the impact and allows health officials to monitor the effects of each phase.
== "Everyone in our community holds tools to reduce spread," said Dr. Hernandez. "Wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, keep distance from others and get tested if concerned."
Governor Issues Mandatory Face Covering Order
== Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care.

== Face coverings must be worn by everyone 3 years of age and older while outdoors in public spaces. In addition, everyone must maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.

==The California Department of Public Health has issued Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, which has lots of important information about the use and care of masks.
Free COVID-19 Testing
Testing for COVID-19 is now available to everyone at no cost. Please click in the image below to make an appointment.
Fire Preparedness Zoomposium Video Still Available
== You can watch the complete virtual meeting about fire prevention strategies in Berkeley that was held Thursday, May 28th, by clicking here .
Use the Chipper Program!
= It is time to take action and weed your yards, clean gutters and trim up your tree limbs.

== The Debris Bin and Chipper Program began on June 1 st . The chipper schedule and instructions are below (pdf available here ).

== Please schedule your gardening and landscaping activities so that you can take advantage of this program 
Berkeley Relief Fund
== The City Council unanimously voted to create a Berkeley Relief Fund with $3 million in City funds to support low-income residents, small businesses, and non-profit arts organizations impacted by COVID-19.

== The council is encouraging residents to contribute to this fund. I urge you to join me in making a donation of any amount to this important cause. To date, we have raised over $680,000 from the community. More than 1,000 small businesses applied for relief funds. The need is very great. I thank you for your generosity.
Emergency Notifications
== AC Alert  will be Berkeley's primary emergency alerting system for the public. It is one of the tools the City of Berkeley uses to communicate emergency information and instructions to the community. AC Alert can send:
  • Voice alerts to phones
  • SMS text messages
  • Email
  • TTY/TDD messages
   Listed AT&T "land lines" are automatically included to receive voice messages from AC Alert for emergency warnings. Community members must  sign up  to receive voice or text alerts on cell phones, VoIP phones, unlisted phones, TTY/TDDs or through email.

   If you want to receive emergency alerts and updates,  sign up  for AC Alert.
  • Need a new refuse can?
  • Have a favorite pothole you want filled?
  • Want to report illegal dumping?

CALL 311
Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
(510) 981-7160