Community COVID-19 Update and Resources
I wanted to provide you an ongoing update on COVID-19 and share important information regarding steps we are taking and resources that are available as we navigate through these challenging times together.
We are adding to this document as we get new information.
Monday, April 27th
I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. I also hope that you found a way to enjoy the weekend with your loved ones. Things have changed in so many ways, but the human spirit to persist, endure, and make the best of any situation remains the same. And the only way we do that is if we keep forging ahead together, guided by science, data, and public health experts. Continue to be socially close, but physically distant!
Tele-Town Hall with the Mayors of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro
First off, please join us for a Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19’s impact on our communities with the mayors of Oakland, Alameda & San Leandro on Wednesday, April 29 from 4:30-5:30p.m.! Please email questions to Assemblymember.Bonta@assembly.ca.gov until 5p.m. Monday and then join us for our town hall on Wednesday with Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, and Mayor Pauline Cutter.
Instagram Live with Oakland Roots Sports Club Player Nana Attakora
Please also join me tomorrow (Tuesday, April 28) at 6 p.m. for my live Instagram chat with Oakland Roots Sports Club player Nana Attakora. We will be talking about the coronavirus, the shelter in place order, and probably a whole lot about soccer too! As a former soccer player and current soccer dad and soccer fan, I'm looking forward to this conversation! Hope to see you then!
I would also like to give you some information and resources related to the following items:
- The Health Care Enhancement Act
- No Garnishment of Stimulus Checks
- Paycheck Protection Program Update
- Federal and Private Student Loan Relief
- Expanding Support for Older Californians
- COVID-19 and Immigration Detention Centers
- Child Care for Essential Workers
- New Eviction Protections in Alameda County
- Higher COVID-19 Impact in East Oakland
- Flattening the Curve in the Bay Area
- Library Resources
- Local and State Resources for Small Businesses
The Health Care Enhancement Act
On Friday, the President signed the Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill that will increase funding for small businesses, hospitals, and testing. The specific composition of this stimulus bill breaks down to the following components;
$310 billion is allocated towards replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program, including:
- $60 billion to smaller lending facilities and credit unions with assets under $10 billion
- $10 billion in grants under the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- $50 billion in Disaster Recovery Loans
- $2.1 billion for additional Small Business Administration expenses
- $75 billion will go to hospitals and health care providers, and $25 billion is earmarked for expanding testing capacity. Of that $25 billion:
- $11 billion will go to state and local governments to increase testing
- $14 billion will go to federal agencies and other entities to support labs and the development of new technologies
This package is critical for helping small businesses and families with paycheck protection and key health care support; however, we must still address other key issues, such as funding for states and localities. Our priority should be helping PEOPLE, small businesses, and communities with sound policy and scientific facts driving our decisions.
Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/coronavirus-us-usa-updates.html…
No Garnishment of Stimulus Checks
Californians will no longer have their stimulus checks garnished by debt collectors. If your check has already been garnished, under a new executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom, your money will be returned. There are exceptions for those who owe child support, spousal support or victim payments.
Stimulus checks will go directly to Californians who need it, not to debt collectors!
Find more details here: https://abc7news.com/gavin-newssom-press-conference-care…/…/
Paycheck Protection Program Update
An additional $310 billion has been allocated to replenish the small business program with $60 billion earmarked for smaller lending facilities and credit unions. The Small Business Administration also issued new guidance on Thursday to help ensure the funds will be disbursed to small businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees that are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. These two efforts are intended to help small businesses that were previously prevented from accessing the loans. These loan amounts will be forgiven if 75% of the loan is used to cover payroll costs of employee and compensation levels are maintained. The loan can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utility expenses.
To apply, visit the Treasury Department CARES Act Resource Page and fill out the most recent application. Once you have filled out the application, you should contact an SBA-approved lender (bank, credit union, etc.) near you via the phone or online.
The Small Business Administration will resume accepting applications for the program on Monday, April 27. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible as loans are being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please visit the US Treasury Small Businesses webpage!
More details here: https://home.treasury.gov/…/cares/assistance-for-small-busi…
Federal and Private Student Loan Relief
Many people have questions about their student loans during the COVID-19 health emergency. I want to help clarify some things.
It’s important to know whether you have a federal or private loan and who your loan servicer is. This information will help you have a better understanding of what protections you may be eligible for. If you’re not sure what type of loan you have, visit this website studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/servicers to find out.
If your loan is with the U.S. Department of Education, you will receive automatic relief through the CARES Act that Congress recently passed. Borrowers can stop making payments until September 30 without accruing interest. If you are enrolled in a loan forgiveness program, skipped payments will still count toward loan forgiveness. This relief does not apply to loans issued by state agencies, private lenders, Federal Family Education Loans, or school-held Perkins Loans. However, 21 out of the 24 major student loan servicers have agreed to a 90-day forbearance on student loan payments. This means:
- No late fees
- No negative credit reporting
- No debt collection lawsuits
Visit the U.S. Department of Education's National Student Loan Data System at http://nslds.ed.gov to determine who services your student loans, as some private lenders are offering relief. You’ll need to contact your loan servicer to check if you are eligible to temporarily stop payments on your student loans.
If you have more questions about relief for borrowers during COVID-19 check out this link: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus…
Expanding Support for Older Californians
California has partnered with FEMA and local governments to provide seniors with three nutritious meals a day prepared by local restaurants. Local authorities will work with restaurants that may have had to close due to the statewide stay-at-home order. California is the first state to offer this kind of support for our seniors.
More than 1,000 callers from California Department of Aging, United Airlines, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and Sacramento State University will be reaching out to older Californians to check on their well-being and make sure they are connected to the resources they need.
We are expanding the Friendship Line California. If older Californians are feeling lonely, isolated, or simply need someone to talk to, they can call the toll-free line 1-888-670-1360 to receive the support they need!
Read more here: https://www.mercurynews.com/…/gov-newsom-california-will-p…/
COVID-19 and Immigration Detention Centers
The latest news regarding immigration detention centers here in California sheds light on the increased need to protect the health, safety, and legal rights of those detained in these facilities.
Last week, in response to a lawsuit by the ACLU, a federal judge ordered immigration officials to significantly reduce the number of detainees held at Adelanto detention facility in Southern California to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spreading. While it is also good news that this order will be implemented by halting new detainees from coming into Adelanto and releasing select immigrants who are 55 or older or have pre-existing conditions, it is concerning that many Californians still remain detained, and also that in order to abide by the court order, some detainees may be transferred elsewhere or even deported.
Meanwhile, on the same day, two privately-run state prisons were approved by the city of McFarland to be converted into ICE detention centers run by for-profit, private corporation GEO Group-- further expanding these facilities within our state that have a horrific track record with respect to human rights.
I fought to end for-profit private prisons and detention centers in CA last year with AB 32 which was signed into law, and I remain concerned about putting profits over people with this evolving crisis of immigration detention.
I, along with close to 30 of my colleagues in the Legislature, have urged Governor Newsom to take immediate action to prevent the unnecessary loss of human lives in these detention centers, by issuing executive orders requiring these facilities to abide by the minimum standards of care. We’ve also urged that access to counsel and courts be provided to Californians detained in these facilities so their legal rights can be upheld and enforced.
I have also authored two bills, AB 3181 and 3228, to push for the same reforms in immigration detention as soon as the Legislature reconvenes.
Click on the following links for more information:
Child Care for Essential Workers
Are you an essential worker looking for child care? BANANAS in Oakland is currently connecting families to child care providers in Northern Alameda County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential workers can have costs partially covered for childcare through June 2020. Click on the Child Care Request Form below to submit your child care needs. From there, a referral counselor from BANANAS will contact you. During the process, if you need to call BANANAS back and get voicemail, please leave a message as their referral counselors are actively checking messages and will return your call. For additional questions or assistance, please contact the BANANAS referrals team at email@example.com or call 510-658-0381.
Request form: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLScNpNPNBYsJrNtApO…/viewform\
New Eviction Protections in Alameda County
Alameda County has broadened its residential eviction protections. The upgraded moratorium halts both no-cause and most just-cause evictions due to non-payment of rent and lease violations. Landlords retain the right to evict tenants for criminal behavior, health and safety reasons, and if they wish to take their unit off the market. You can NOT be evicted for having contracted COVID-19. Tenants will have 12 months to repay overdue rent unless an alternate agreement is made with their landlord.
This applies to all cities and unincorporated areas. However, cities can opt out if their local ordinances provide stronger tenant protections. The updated ordinance will take effect immediately and will last for 90 days or until the State of Emergency order is lifted.
Higher COVID-19 Impact in East Oakland
The Alameda County Public Health Department has released new data that shows COVID-19 cases based on zip codes. This new disaggregated data shows that two-thirds of Oakland’s COVID-19 cases are centered around East Oakland. It builds on the growing body of evidence that COVID-19 is exacerbating pre-existing health disparities in our most vulnerable communities. This is why disaggregated data is important. We must see more granular, specific statistical detail in order to fully understand what’s happening—to reveal what’s being concealed and render the invisible visible. I’m proud to be co-chairing an important task force that will identify solutions to these unacceptable disparities. I’d also like to recognize the partnership between the City of Oakland and Roots Community Health Center to open one of the first walk-up testing sites in East Oakland.
Flattening the Curve in the Bay Area
While disparities in public health impacts can be disheartening, new data released last week shows that in the Bay Area, we're not just flattening the curve, we're crushing it! Our early, decisive, and aggressive action to shelter in place and physically distance—and our dedication to these policies for over six weeks now—is working! We were the first in the nation to adopt Shelter-In-Place protections, and numerous lives have undoubtedly been saved because of it. These last few weeks have been far from easy, but the data is clear. Our collective efforts, choices, and leadership have beyond "flattened" the Bay Area curve. But we are not done yet! On Wednesday of last week, April 22, tragically, California lost the most lives in a single day since the COVID-19 crisis began: 115. Real lives cut short. Life’s milestones never to be experienced. And it was the first time over 100 Californians died due to COVID-19 in a single day. We must continue to adhere to these life-saving guidelines until the data, science, and public health indicators demonstrate it is safe!
Read more here:https://www.sfchronicle.com/…/Charts-show-Bay-Area-crushing…
Last week was Library Week and although we may not be able to physically visit our community libraries, many libraries continue to offer a wide variety of digital services, including e-books, audiobooks, electronic access to newspapers, magazines, and much more.
You can access Oakland Public Library’s digital services here: https://oaklandlibrary.org/online-services
You can access San Leandro Library’s digital services here: https://sanle.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default
The Alameda Free Library subscribes to a host of digital books, magazines, movies, and more.
I also want to give a shout-out to the Oakland Public Library for donating 500 Wi-Fi hot spots to OUSD to give more students access during distance learning. THANK YOU Oakland Public Library for helping close the digital divide and all the vital services you continue to provide our community! Read details here: https://oaklandlibrary.org/…/opl-donates-500-wi-fi-hotspots…
While we physically distance, we can continue to use the expansive online services offered by our libraries to learn, reinvigorate our imagination, and find comfort in a good book!
Local and State Resources for Small Businesses
Here are some diverse local and state resources to help community members impacted by COVID-19.
1. Did you know the City of Alameda has a small business grant program? Learn more on this program and find additional resources for small businesses on the city’s website: https://www.alamedaca.gov/ALERTS-COVID-19/Business.
2. A New America provides technical assistance for small businesses with state and federal level programs, including grants that provide up to $10,000. Visit their website for more information. https://www.anewamerica.org/…/…/covid-19-coronavirus-updates
3. Visit the GO-Biz website for weekly webinars that provides supportive information during the crisis, but also to help transition once shelter in place orders are lifted: https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/
4. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program application will be available from EDD TOMORROW, on Tuesday, April 28th! Be sure to check the website for details. https://edd.ca.gov/…/c…/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm
5. Want to participate in the Restaurant Meals for Seniors Program? The Governor’s office will be updating their website shortly, but here are some great resources to get you started. https://covid19.ca.gov/restaurants-deliver-home-meals-for-…/
6. The Federal Government has earmarked additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Loan Program. The City of Alameda’s website lists bank lenders who are part of the program: https://www.alamedaca.gov/ALERTS-COVID-…/Alameda-Bank-Offers.
PayPal and Lendistry have Small Business programs as well.
7. The State Insurance Commissioner has enacted various measures to help residents and businesses while we shelter in place, including ordering insurance companies to return premiums to consumers and businesses. Learn more here: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/…/140-catastrop…/Coronavirus.cfm
This is a challenging time for all of us. And it’s vital for leaders at all levels (local, state, and federal) to work together to assist residents, including by sharing information and connecting the dots for our shared constituents. Happy to continue to share resources with all of you. We are going to get through this and we will do it together!
I hope the information we’ve provided today is helpful and, as always, my office is here to assist you, so please reach out!
Thank you and stay healthy, safe, and well!
Wednesday, April 23rd
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe, healthy, and well!
Instagram Live with Colleen Chawla, Director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency
First off, please join me tomorrow (Thursday, 4/23/20) for an Instagram Live discussion with Colleen Chawla, Director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency! This is part of our on-going conversations on COVID-19 and how our community is working together to flatten the curve and protect one another.
I also want to share information on the following items:
- The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
- Meeting Public Health Objectives to Reopen California
- California Working to Close the Digital Divide
- Racial Inequities Reflected in California's Disaggregated COVID-19 Data
- Earth Day and the California Green New Deal
- California's New Volunteer Website
- Free EDD Form Assistance
- Free Legal Services for Low-Income Alameda County Residents
- Tele-Town Hall with the Mayors of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
The Senate has approved the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill that will increase funding for small businesses, hospitals, and testing.
$310 billion is allocated towards the Paycheck Protection Program, including:
- $60 billion to smaller lending facilities and credit unions with assets under $10 billion
- $10 billion in grants under the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- $50 billion in Disaster Recovery Loans
- $2.1 billion for additional Small Business Administration expenses
$75 billion will go to hospitals and health care providers and $25 billion is earmarked for expanding testing capacity. Of that $25 billion:
- $11 billion will go to state and local governments to increase testing
- $14 billion will go to federal agencies and other entities to support labs and the development of new technologies
It remains to be seen whether the bill will create a national testing strategy.
Additional funding for states and localities is not addressed in this package but is expected to be included in the next COVID-19 legislative relief package.
As the federal government increases its relief efforts, we must remain committed to supporting small businesses and evidence-based solutions to this crisis!
Meeting Public Health Objectives to Reopen California
In California, public health will always be at the forefront of any plan to reopen the state.
Here is what we are doing to make sure that our testing capacity is where it should be before we modify California's stay-at-home-order:
- Establish over 80 testing sites in traditionally underserved communities, such as rural areas and communities of color
- Expand testing to 25,000 tests per day by the end of the month
- Train 10,000 public health communicable disease investigators to conduct contact tracing.
The Federal Government has also committed to providing California with 350,000 testing swabs within the next two weeks.
California Working to Close the Digital Divide
So many California businesses and philanthropists are stepping up to help close the digital divide in our State! Over the next few weeks, more than 70,000 laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets will be distributed to students across the State so that students have the tools needed to participate in distance learning. The California Public Utilities Commission will also provide $30 million to help schools districts provide families with internet access and electronic devices needed for distance learning. We are committed to working to ensure that none of our students are left behind as we continue to physically distance and do our part to flatten the curve!
Racial Inequities Reflected in California's Disaggregated COVID-19 Data
COVID-19 does not discriminate, but it has highlighted the many racial inequities that preceded this outbreak.
African Americans make up roughly 6% of California's population, yet account for nearly 12% of COVID-19 deaths in the State. This heartbreaking statistic is part of a larger, more systemic injustice that plagues our country.
Income inequality, disparities in who has access to health care, and racism have all contributed to underlying factors that make black folks more likely to die from the virus. I am committed to addressing these issues and I am working to eliminate the racial disparities highlighted by COVID-19.
As a Co-Chair of the Alameda County COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force, I will work not only to respond to the immediate risk posed by COVID-19, but also the underlying, historic barriers and inequities that have been highlighted by this pandemic.
Earth Day and the California Green New Deal
Yesterday, we marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. It's a chance for us to think about global sustainability in a new light.
Typically, people around the world gather and take action to raise awareness around environmental protection and sustainability.
But this is no ordinary Earth Day, as we are in no ordinary time.
At this moment, the canals in Venice are glistening clear with schools of fish visible in the center of the city. China has seen a dramatic drop in pollution created by factory and auto emissions. Here in California, the infamous Los Angeles smog has dissipated, aided by reduced traffic levels. And in Yosemite National Park, wildlife is flourishing as tourism has virtually halted.
While the earth is receiving a temporary respite from our harmful human impacts, we cannot dismiss what has led to these changes: The world's response to an international pandemic, a pandemic that has led to the tragic loss of over 175,000 lives.
These unprecedented times should refocus and sharpen our vision of what is possible and what is necessary.
We are seeing human suffering and the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately distributed among the most socioeconomically vulnerable. Many of those hospitalized across the U.S. had at least one underlying chronic health condition. These conditions disproportionally impact communities of color because of preexisting disparities in access to health care, healthy foods, and clean environments caused, in part, by decades of systemic injustice, deprivation, and abuse.
The decisions we make going forward regarding environmental protection, economic revitalization, and public health are not mutually exclusive; they are intersectional and inextricably intertwined. We must tackle all three together by harnessing this historic moment of world focus and international collective action. COVID-19 has shown us that when lives are on the line, we can mobilize together and take bold action with heightened resolve. Ultimately, we can implement science-driven solutions that combat the global health pandemic AND address our climate crisis. BOTH of these goals can be achieved as we begin our economic recovery.
We need to reimagine a sustainable economy and infrastructure that will leave a healthy, habitable, and equitable planet for generations to come. These very principles are the foundation of my legislation AB 1839, the California Green New Deal.
To learn more and add your name to our list of supporters, please click on this link: https://a18.asmdc.org/please-join-me-help-pass-california-green-new-deal
California's New Volunteer Website
Even during - perhaps, especially during - these challenging and unprecedented times, the California spirit of "we" instead of "me" and the insatiable desire to help our neighbors endures - and Californians continue to step up and ask "how can I help?"
California launched a new website to help people find ways to volunteer in our communities. There are so many ways to volunteer even if you can't leave your home.
Visit https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/ and fill out the form so you can be paired with a volunteer opportunity near you!
Free EDD Form Assistance
If you are unemployed, have had your hours cut back, or have had to take time off to care for a loved one and are in need of assistance, the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus are hosting a free EDD form assistance virtual clinic every day from 9am-9pm. Call them at (415) 484-2209 or visit them online to find out what benefits you may be eligible for and how to apply. They can help you fill out your application form start to finish! Help is available in Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Spanish.
Find more information here: http://fbanc.org/2020/04/14/edd-form-assistance-virtual-clinic/
Free Legal Services for Low-Income Alameda County Residents
The Consumer Justice Clinic at the Easy Bay Community Law Center provides low-income residents in Alameda County with free legal services on a variety of issues, including loans, debt collection, fraud, and identity theft. You can contact the EBCLC Consumer Justice Clinic at (510) 548-4040, ext. 388. Find additional details here: https://ebclc.org/need-services/consumer-justice-general-clinic-services/
Tele-Town Hall with the Mayors of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro
I'm excited to announce that I will be hosting a tele-town hall with Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter on Wednesday April 29, 2020 from 4:30- 5:30 p.m. Hope you can join this conversation as we delve into what the three cities are doing to respond to COVID-19!
I hope the above information and resources are helpful. Please reach out to my office if you have questions or need assistance.
Thank you and stay well!
Monday, April 20th
I hope you have all been staying healthy and safe. And I hope you have found a new sense of normal in this difficult time. Remember, you are not alone! We’re in this together and we will overcome together!
Live Discussion with A’s Shortstop Marcus Semien
First off, please join me on Instagram Live tomorrow (Tuesday, April 21) at 6 p.m. as I speak with Oakland A’s Shortstop Marcus Semien! Hope you can join this conversation. See you then!
I also want to share updates on the following items:
- New order on facial coverings and masks in Bay Area Counties
- Updates on Project Roomkey
- Supplemental paid sick leave and protections for food industry workers
- The COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force
- Protections for healthcare workers and first responders
- California’s Economic Recovery Advisory Group
- FAQ on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
- New safety guidelines for AC Transit
New Order on Facial Coverings and Masks
Most Bay Area counties, including Alameda County, are now requiring that residents wear facial coverings when around people outside of their household and when engaged in essential activities and essential work, in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.
The Alameda County Order became effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 17, 2020. Enforcement will begin at 8:00 a.m. on April 22, 2020 to allow the public time to comply by making or purchasing a face covering.
Read details of the order here: http://www.acphd.org/media/569455/health-officer-order-20-08-face-coverings-2020.04.17.pdf
Updates on Project Roomkey
As part of California’s Project Roomkey initiative, Governor Newsom announced Saturday that California has secured 10,974 hotel rooms to help get our most vulnerable Californians off the streets and supported with meals and critical social services during the COVID-19 crisis. In just two weeks, 38% of those rooms are filled, which means that 4,211 vulnerable Californians now have roofs over their heads and are better protected during this crisis.
A huge thank you to Motel 6 for stepping up to provide 47 of their motels in 19 different counties to house people now— and potentially beyond the pandemic. This is in no way a complete solution to our state’s ongoing homelessness crisis, but it is an absolute necessary step during this time.
Read more here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/18/governor-newsom-visits-project-roomkey-site-in-santa-clara-county-to-highlight-progress-on-the-states-initiative-to-protect-homeless-individuals-from-covid-19/
Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and Protections for Food Industry Workers
California has announced two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave and additional health and safety standards to protect our essential food industry workers. These are key items that I have been pushing for as the author of the COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act, co-author of the Farmworker COVID-19 Relief Package, and in a recent letter my colleagues and I submitted to Gov. Newsom calling for enhanced protections for our grocery workers.
These measures are vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 amongst our farmworkers, grocers, fast-food workers, and all those who put their lives on the line to preserve and protect our food supply. To these workers - you are not disposable. You are more than essential. You are heroes!
COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force
Your zip code, race, ethnicity, or income should never dictate your destiny or foretell your future. But for too many of us, it does. We must protect our most vulnerable communities and build an inclusive, shared society with fundamental and universal rights and opportunities for all.
This is why I’m proud to co-chair this critical task force addressing COVID-19 racial disparities. We need to reduce/remove preexisting health inequities harming many Californians. Thank you to our co-chairs: Mayor Libby Schaaf, Supervisor Wilma Chan, and Dr. Tony Iton. We need policies to protect all in California.
Find more details on the Taskforce here: https://www.oaklandca.gov/news/2020/local-leaders-announce-covid-19-racial-disparities-task-force
Protections for Healthcare Workers and First Responders
Last week, I joined with Assemblymembers Jim Cooper and Lorena Gonzalez to promote greater protections for healthcare workers and first responders who are at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have written a letter to the Governor calling for an executive order and we’ve introduced new legislation, Assembly Bill 664.
AB 664, would ensure that if one of these heroic workers contracts COVID-19, it would be presumed that they contracted the virus in the course of their work. The bill would also provide compensation for items including hospital and medical treatment, as well as reasonable reimbursement for living expenses associated with being exposed to COVID-19.
We have written a letter urging Governor Newsom to enact these protections immediately for first responders, such as firefighters and peace officers, through an executive order.
This effort to protect and provide for our dedicated workers builds on my other work to provide child care, fair pay, and other vital supports for frontline workers. These critical protections are needed for our brave women and men who continually risk their own health by serving our communities during this pandemic.
You fight for us and I am honored to fight for you!
Economic Recovery Advisory Group
California has assembled an economic recovery advisory group, including all four living former California Governors, business leaders, and social justice and environmental activists, to help guide our state’s return to economic resurgence.
The advisory panel will use science and data to guide their planning, and will focus on the short and long term economic recovery of the State. California will prioritize resource-starved communities, frontline workers, and small businesses.
California will lead the way through this recovery and we will do it by keeping equity and science at the forefront!
FAQ on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program
California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency has launched an FAQ page for the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The PUA program provides assistance for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals who are not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance, including independent contractors, self-employed individuals, individuals without sufficient work history, or individuals who have exhausted their regular/any extended unemployment insurance benefits. Additionally, you must be unable to work due to COVID-19 related circumstances.
The EDD will be accepting online applications for this program beginning Tuesday, April 28, at which point they plan to send checks out 24-48 hours after receiving a completed application.
For more information and to access the FAQ, please visit: https://www.labor.ca.gov/pandemic-unemployment-assistance-pua-program/. You can also visit the EDD website for more updates on this program: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm.
New Safety Guidelines for AC Transit
The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) has announced new safety guidelines to ensure that everyone is practicing physical distancing to stem-the-tide of COVID-19 transmission.
Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to establish Rear Door Boarding and restrict a six-foot space around the operator’s compartment, AC transit is minimizing the number of riders and setting passenger thresholds on each bus.
a) 30’ feeder coach – 6 passengers
b) 40’ standard coach – 10 passengers
c) 60’ articulated coach – 16 passengers
d) 44’ double decker coach – 24 passengers.
In addition to social distancing, AC Transit is strongly encouraging riders to follow CDC guidelines to wear a cloth face mask on board, covering the nose and mouth, effective immediately. Riders will continue to experience their bus operator wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, eyewear, and masks. Riders should avoid interactions with the bus operator.
The practice will remain in place until further notice.
Thank you all for playing your critical part in helping our state get through this difficult time and for helping us flatten the curve. We have a ways to go, but if we continue to stay at home and physically distance, our state and communities will get through this crisis. Remember to take care of one another and as always, my office is here to help if you need assistance.
Until next time, please stay well!
Monday, April 13th
I want to start by wishing everyone who celebrated a Happy Easter! I know things have changed drastically due to our current COVID-19 reality, but what has not changed is the importance of family, community, and working together! We may be physically apart, but we have found new and more creative ways to socially connect.
Today, I write to provide information and updates on the following:
- New investments to protect foster youth and families
- Strengthening California's skilled nursing and residential care facilities
- A new order from the California Insurance Commissioner reducing auto insurance premiums during COVID-19
- West Coast partnership between California, Oregon, and Washington State
- Resources for undocumented essential workers
- Continuing our physical distancing and shelter-at-home efforts
New Investments to Protect Foster Youth and Families
Yesterday, the State of California announced $42 million in new investments to protect foster youth at heightened risk for abuse and mistreatment and to help families stay together during the COVID-19 crisis. This includes $200 monthly payments to families in the Emergency Response and Family Maintenance programs, additional funds for social worker outreach and protective equipment, and computers for children, among other resources. We must protect our most vulnerable children during these pressing times!
Strengthening California's Skilled Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
California has nearly 10,000 skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities across the state. In order to protect the most vulnerable Californians who reside in these facilities, California is taking the following steps:
- Retraining 600 nurses to provide technical support to these facilities
- Decompressing the facilities by sending non-COVID patients to the USNS Mercy for medical treatment
- Providing CNA, LVN, and other nursing home staff with stipends of up to $500
California is proud to make protecting our most vulnerable Californians and our frontline workers a top priority during the COVID-19 crisis.
Read more here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/10/governor-newsom-outlines-steps-to-protect-residents-and-employees-of-california-nursing-home-residential-care-facilities/
New Order from the California Insurance Commissioner Reducing Auto Insurance Premiums During COVID-19
Due to shelter in place orders, millions of people have reduced their driving, which in turn has reduced accident claims. During this time, individuals should not be required to pay high premiums. Yesterday, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered car insurers to provide premium refunds, premium credit, reduction, or other appropriate premium adjustment to customers. Companies should offer relief as soon as possible, but will have to provide relief no later than August 2020. This is a necessary step to help ease some of the financial burdens for the millions impacted by this crisis. You should reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible to get information on what they are offering in terms of premium refunds, credits, or reductions.
Read more on Commissioner Lara's order here: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2020/release038-2020.cfm
West Coast Partnership between California, Oregon, and Washington State
The Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington State are coming together to identify a plan to safely transition their states beyond COVID-19 policies of shelter-in-place and physical-distancing and toward reinvigorating their economies. This partnership is about controlling the spread while planning for the future by ensuring economic recovery for residents. Actions under this partnership will be driven by data, science, and public health-not politics. We must plan for a post-COVID world and the best way to do that is in collaboration with our fellow West Coast neighbors.
Read more on the "Western States Pact" here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/13/california-oregon-washington-announce-western-states-pact/
We will keep you updated on new developments around this alliance as they emerge.
Resources for Undocumented Essential Workers
COVID-19 affects everyone and undocumented essential workers continue to show up for us and our state each and every day.
California is allocating $50 million for loan guarantees to small businesses and individuals who do not qualify for federal funds, including low-income and undocumented immigrant communities.
Earlier this month, the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus joined the California Latino Legislative Caucus and numerous advocacy and labor organizations to make the following recommendations to the Governor:
- Extend Medi-Cal for all low-income undocumented adults
- Remove barriers to allow all income-eligible tax-paying workers, regardless of status, to file for the California Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Establish a "Disaster Relief Fund" within the Employment Development Department for undocumented workers unable to work due to COVID-19.
The farm labor workforce is a predominantly immigrant workforce. Approximately 73% of farmworkers are immigrants and about 47% of the roughly 2.4 million farmworkers in the U.S. are undocumented.
Members of the Legislature - including me and led by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Eduardo Garcia-are pushing for The California Farmworker COVID-19 Relief Package, which would expand paid sick leave for farmworkers from three days to two weeks, establish supplemental hazard pay to compensate farmworkers for increased health and child care costs, and include an agricultural overtime tax credit.
I am proud to stand with our immigrant and undocumented communities in our fight for an inclusive recovery for all Californians!
Visit https://legalaidatwork.org/blog/relief-funds/ and https://calaborfed.org/covid-19-outbreak-resources-and-information-for-workers/ if you or a loved one are in need of support.
Continuing our Physical Distancing and Shelter at Home Efforts
Yesterday marked four full weeks since we began sheltering in place in the Bay Area. And while we are making the best of our COVID-19 reality, we're all undoubtedly getting a bit stir-crazy.
The urge to go out into our communities and do normal activities again- playing sports with friends, picnics in the park, barbecues, or just gathering to catch up- is strong. But we must fight these urges because the health and safety of our community depend on the individual decisions you make and the actions you take.
We can and must find creative ways of connecting while physical distancing and without putting our collective health at risk. Call, text, video chat and use other technology to check-in on and visit with one another. I had a virtual happy hour with some of my closest friends on Zoom and it was super fun! And if you do have to go outside to perform an essential task or get some exercise, please always maintain the designated six feet of physical distancing.
Our collective efforts in California to physically distance and stay at home are working! And we can't let up now! When something is working, we do more of it, not less. We double down, recommit, and lean in.
Our future is not foretold nor our destiny dictated. What this graph (click link below) will look like going forward will be determined by the individual decisions and actions of all 40 million of us. As we find creative ways to celebrate and spend time with our loved ones, let us continue to follow CDC guidelines and flatten the curve! Check out this graph shared by the Governor on California's COVID-19 trajectory: https://twitter.com/CAgovernor/status/1248692885748252675/photo/1.
Remember, we will get through this together and we will come out much stronger! Stay healthy and safe!
Let's connect and continue this conversation online! Please join Secretary of State Alex Padilla and me this evening (Tuesday), April 14, from 6-6:30 p.m. to discuss democracy, elections and the census. I will also be hosting a live discussion on Instagram Live this Thursday with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra from 6-6:30 p.m. I hope you can tune in and join us!
As always, please reach out to my office if you need assistance.
Thank you and stay well!
Friday, April 10th
As we close out another week of our new COVID-19 reality, I want to start by sharing my deepest thanks to all of you for your resilience and for continuing to support one another-I feel deep pride to be a resident and representative of the 18th Assembly District. You are a source of strength and inspiration!
Below, I'm sharing some COVID-19 related information in the hopes it's helpful to you and your loved ones, including (1) Low and no-cost hotels for health care workers; (2) CA Health Corps Update; (3) Continuing the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program; (4) Judicial Council of California's action on bail; (5) Updates from the California Department of Education; and (6) The need for disaggregated COVID-19 data.
Low-Cost Hotels for Health Care Workers
Our health care workers have been working tirelessly to take care of us. And we must do more to take care of them. Beginning today, California will start providing health care workers with low and no-cost hotel rooms so they don't have to worry about exposing their families to COVID-19 or making long commutes between home and work. Many low-wage workers will receive 100% reimbursable costs. Over 150 hotels across CA are participating in this program. Check out this link to find a hotel room near your workplace: Caltravelstore.com.
CA Health Corps Update
Over 86,000 health care professionals have signed up for CA Health Corps! Additionally, United, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, and Delta have all committed to providing free roundtrip tickets for medical professionals traveling into the state to be a part of CA Health Corps, regardless of what part of the world or country they are coming from. Thank you to all of the selfless health care professionals who have signed up to help us meet our health care needs and thank you to these airlines for helping get them here!
Continuing In-Home Supportive Services Program
Governor Newsom signed an executive order to provide additional support to vulnerable Californians. The 60-day waiver will allow In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue to care for older Californians and Californians with disabilities.
The order also expands childcare access to essential infrastructure workers, as well as children with disabilities or special heath care needs. Read more here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/07/governor-newsom-signs-executive-order-to-expand-support-for-vulnerable-populations/
Bail Set at $0 for Misdemeanors and Low-Level Felonies
The Judicial Council of California has taken the important step of adopting an emergency statewide rule setting bail at $0 dollars for most misdemeanors and low-level felonies during the COVID-19 health emergency. The Judicial Council is led by judges and sets policies for California's courts. This move would help to balance public health with public safety and is the right action to take. This rule is intended to reduce jail populations in order to protect the health of incarcerated individuals, jail staff, and families as individuals with misdemeanor and low-level offenses leave jail and return to their communities. This move is consistent with the landmark legislation that Senator Hertzberg and I authored in 2018 to end money bail in California because it is inherently unfair, unjust and unsafe. Cash bail disproportionately punishes poor people simply for being poor. Read more about the Judicial Court's action here: https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/judicial-council-adopts-new-rules-to-lower-jail-population-suspend-evictions-and-foreclosures
Update from the California Department of Education
The California Department of Education is hosting webinars twice a week for parents and educators to assist with distance learning! Comprehensive guidance remains available on the CDE's website. To help with this effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news for the Class of 2020: Colleges and universities statewide have waived the SAT as a requirement for admission and are accepting Pass/No Pass grading options. COVID-19 will NOT negatively affect admissions into any institute of higher education and all students will be able to graduate!
California has provided over 150,000 devices to make sure all students have access to a high-quality education. We are committed to closing the digital divide! Anyone who wants to support this program can learn more through this email: email@example.com
Visit the CDE's website for more updates: https://www.cde.ca.gov/
Disaggregated Race and Ethnic COVID-19 Data
Disaggregated race and ethnic COVID-19 data will help us better address this pandemic while confronting the many underlying, preexisting health inequities and disparities in our society. Data that is emerging in numerous counties and states is highly disturbing. For example, in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and the State of Louisiana, African Americans account for 70% of Coronavirus deaths, but represent only 26% and 32% of the population. In Chicago, African Americans account for 67% of Coronavirus deaths, but make up 32% of the population. In Michigan, African Americans account for 40% of the COVID-19 deaths, but make up just 14% of the population. In New York City, the Latinx community makes up 34% of COVID-19 deaths while making up 29% of the population. African Americans account for 24% of the NYC population but make up almost 28% of COVID-19 deaths. We must use this data to drive actions and solutions that will address these disparities head-on.
Let's continue to support each other in any way we can and remember: We will get through this together! As always, my office is here to provide you with the service, information, and resources you may need.
Stay well friends!
Wednesday, April 8th
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.
As part of my sustained effort to keep you informed, I'm writing to provide the following updates and resources:
- Judicial Council's Vote to Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures;
- Protecting fellow Californians in immigration detention facilities;
- Loaning ventilators to highly impacted states;
- California securing an additional 4,500 health care beds;
- COVID-19 related mental health resources;
- Expanded childcare services for essential workers;
- A new drive-thru testing site in Oakland;
- Celebrating medical professionals on World Health Day;
- BART's schedule change.
Judicial Council's Vote to Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures
On Monday, California's Judicial Council, representing the state courts, unanimously voted to suspend evictions and foreclosures in California, regardless of reason, until 90 days after the state of emergency related to COVID-19 is lifted.
Californians should focus on protecting their health and safety, not worrying about being evicted or losing their home.
Protecting Fellow Californians in Immigration Detention Facilities
I, and nearly thirty of my colleagues, are urging Governor Newsom to issue executive orders to protect the health, safety, and legal rights of our fellow Californians who are detained in immigration detention facilities in the state.
We are hearing of cases of COVID-19 spreading in the centers. California must take immediate steps to prevent the unnecessary loss of human lives and ensure accountability and minimum standards are met in these facilities. We must provide adequate legal representation to the Californians in detention so that their health and safety are protected during this crisis.
These executive orders would not only serve as a humanitarian solution to an evolving health crisis but could save lives and reunite families in California, particularly at a time when families need to find safety together. Together we must do all that we can to ensure that these vulnerable community members are able to reach safety and security. Thank you to all of my colleagues in the State Legislature for signing on and urging the Governor to take immediate action. We must keep families together!
Lending 500 Ventilators to Highly Impacted States
California will loan 500 state-owned ventilators to states across the country hit hardest by COVID-19 and in immediate need. With over 11,000 newly procured ventilators and projections for thousands more, California is currently in position to share a portion of its supply to help support other states experiencing severe supply shortages and in more dire need, such as New York. California will continue to seek new ventilators to prepare for our state's needs and in the event we need more ventilators, these 500 ventilators on loan will be recalled back to California. Helping those most in need during this moment is what it means to be a Californian! We are stronger together and we will get through this together!
Additional 4,500 Health Care Beds Secured
California has secured over 4,500 beds at alternate care sites across the state to ease the strain on the healthcare system. These alternate care sites will be used to care for patients who have mild to moderate symptoms in order to reserve hospital beds for people in need of critical care.
The alternate care sites will be staffed thanks in part to the over 81,000 medical professionals who have signed up for the CA Health Corps.
California is working hard to prepare for the anticipated surge in COVID-19, but we still need to continue to practice physical distancing and follow CDC guidelines.
Mental Health and COVID-19
COVID-19 doesn't just affect your physical health; it affects your mental health too. Even if you haven't contracted COVID-19, this situation can, understandably, cause loneliness, anxiety, and stress. In this time of crisis, with people sheltering at home, the isolation felt by some can become especially difficult. I want you to know that you're not alone!
CA Surgeon General, Dr. Burke Harris has put together a broad set of wellness guidelines we can use to manage stress during these difficult times, including a special guide for young children who can't verbalize what they are feeling. The state COVID-19 website (https://covid19.ca.gov/resources-for-emotional-support-and-well-being/) has over a dozen hotlines you can call for people facing substance use disorders, domestic violence, loneliness, or suicidal thoughts. You are not alone! Recognizing you need help is a sign of strength, so don't hesitate to seek it.
You can also find comprehensive mental health and COVID-19 information and resources on the Mental Health America website: https://mhanational.org/covid19
If you are having thoughts of suicide please reach out anytime to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential support.
In times like this, we must all find ways to connect to one another, lend an ear, and provide whatever support we can. Let's socially connect while we physically distance. Now, more than ever, we need each other and we will get through this together!
Expanded Childcare Services for Essential Workers
On Saturday, April 4, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to expand access to childcare to our essential workers. Essential employees are risking their health to keep us safe during COVID-19. It's important that they have access to the child care they need. THANK YOU to our first responders, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, farmworkers, grocery store workers, and countless other essential workers who are working through COVID-19! Read more here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/04/governor-newsom-signs-executive-order-to-provide-expanded-access-to-child-care-for-essential-workers-during-covid-19-response/
Drive-Thru Testing Site in City of Oakland
On Monday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and partners helped open a drive-thru test site at Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center for direct service providers, such as healthcare workers, grocery store employees, homeless outreach workers, and many other groups who work directly with the public.
The new center will have the capacity to test 240 people each day.
The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center drive-thru site will serve those who work in the following areas:
- Healthcare providers, including all those who work in a hospital, clinic or community health center
- Grocery stores and food banks
- Homeless service providers, including shelter and outreach workers
- Funeral home providers
- Childcare facilities
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children
The City of Oakland funded the site with the assistance of donations from the Hellman Fund and Blue Shield to the Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund.
For more information on testing email: firstname.lastname@example.org
World Health Day
Yesterday was World Health Day, and medical professionals across the globe continue to sacrifice their health to care for people who have contracted COVID-19. We are not only thanking them for their service, we are thanking them for showing us what bravery and courage look like in the face of adversity. Thank you, health heroes!
Read more here: https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-health-day/world-health-day-2020
BART Schedule Update
Starting today, Wednesday, April 8, Monday-Friday service will run every 30 minutes until further notice. Weekend service will remain unchanged for now.
BART lines Warm Springs-Daly City and Richmond-Millbrae that provide direct service to/from San Francisco will end early instead of the usual 9:00PM weekday time.
- The last Warm Springs-Daly City line train departs Warm Springs at 5:16 pm and arrives at Daly City at 6:26 pm. It then departs Daly City at 6:43 pm and arrives at Warm Springs at 7:54 pm.
- The last Richmond-Millbrae line train departs Richmond at 5:41 pm and arrives at Millbrae 6:51 pm. It then departs at Millbrae at 7:18 pm and arrives at Richmond at 8:24 pm.
The new schedule will be available on the bart.gov website. To avoid long waits, riders can use the PDF schedule to start planning their trips and times they should arrive at the station. Riders can also check real time departures before heading to the station. Find details here: https://www.bart.gov/schedules/pdf
I hope the updates and resources above are informative and helpful. Please feel free to contact my office if you need additional assistance.
We are here for you! Remember, we will get through this together as long as we support one another!
Let's connect and continue this conversation online! Please join me tomorrow (Thursday), April 9, from 6-6:30 p.m. on Instagram Live to discuss the latest on COVID-19. I will be hosting these live discussions every Tuesday on Facebook and every Thursday on Instagram from 6-6:30 p.m..
Thank you and stay well!
Thursday, April 2nd
I’m reaching out to you as part of my continued effort to provide developing information regarding COVID-19.
Today’s update includes the following information: (1) the updated Shelter-In-Place order for the six Bay Area Counties; (2) tips for renters who are struggling to pay their rent during this crisis; (3) COVID -19 school and education updates; (4) the enduring and invaluable contributions of farmworkers; (5) Californians with health care backgrounds stepping-up; (6) helping our seniors during this crisis; and (6) pay inequity and COVID-19.
More Details on the Extended Shelter In Place Order
On Monday, six counties— Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo—announced a New Order, which extends the Shelter-In-Place requirement until May 3rd, 2020. New orders include mandatory physical distancing and important clarifications on essential businesses and operational changes for businesses. Please make sure you are informed about how these changes may impact you and please also make sure you continue to Shelter In Place so that we can flatten the curve!
You can read the full order here http://www.acphd.org/media/563688/health-officer-order-20-04-shelter-in-place-20200331.pdf and a summary of major changes here: http://www.acphd.org/media/563713/summary-updated-shelter-in-place-order-20200331.pdf
Information and Helpful Tips for Renters
For 17 million Californians, rent was due yesterday (April 1). As we all do our part to protect one another from the spread of COVID-19, we understand the difficulties that come with this uncertain time. For many, it means not being able to work and have the income to pay rent. While steps have been taken in the right direction to support tenants, we recognize that they may not be enough and we want to share the resources below to support you and your loved ones:
Immediately communicate with your landlords if your ability to pay rent for April and May 2020 has changed due to COVID-19 and Shelter-In-Place ordinances. If you can pay rent, please do so as your landlord may also be struggling to take care of their family. Save up what you can in order to pay off back-rent once the Shelter-in-Place order is lifted.
If you cannot pay rent:
- Reach out to Centro Legal de la Raza or East Bay Community Law Center to see if you qualify for rental assistance.
- Reach out to your landlord and see if you can negotiate to make a partial payment or if they can reduce or forgive some of your rent that is due.
- If you do not live in Oakland or Berkeley, please provide your landlord with written notice no later than April 7, 2020 and May 7, 2020 (no later than within 7 days after rent is due).
- Written notices can include emails, text messages, and hand-written or typed documents. Keep copies for yourself.
- Keep documentation of your inability to work and earn income to give to your landlord and to eviction courts, if necessary. Examples include employment termination notices, payroll checks, pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, or signed letters or statements from an employer or supervisor explaining your changed financial circumstances.
- Under Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, if you receive a summons and complaint (eviction lawsuit) and you have given your landlord notice that you are unable to pay rent within 7 days after rent coming due, then you have an additional 60 days to file the answer form in court. Once the shelter-in-place order is lifted, file with the court a Judicial Council Form UD-105: https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ud105.pdf
- For legal assistance call the East Bay Community Law Center - 510-548-4040 or Centro Legal de la Raza (510) 437-1554. While their offices are physically closed, they are responding to voicemails within 48 hours.
- If you are in need of further assistance or have questions, please feel free to contact my office: 510-286-1670.
COVID-19 Education Update
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond recommended that California schools should remain closed for the rest of the academic year. We need to continue to practice physical distancing to flatten the curve and keeping schools closed is what is safe for everyone. And while school campuses may be closed, learning continues! We will continue to work to make distance learning more accessible and the CDE consistently updates distance learning guidelines on their website: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp
Expanding Access for Distance Learning
With millions of our students engaged in distance learning, it's more important than ever to close the digital divide. Governor Newsom has partnered with Google to provide 100,000 points of access to improve internet capacity across California with a minimum of three months of free internet access. Google will also be providing thousands of Chromebooks to students for distant learning. This goes a long way to giving our students the tools needed for success during this time of distance learning!
Read the Governor’s announcement here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/01/governor-newsom-announces-agreement-between-teachers-classified-employees-and-school-system-management-to-support-student-instruction-during-covid-19-outbreak/
Last week the USDA Food and Nutrition Services established a waiver to expand access to school lunch service during COVID-19. Parents and guardians are now authorized to pick-up meals without the student needing to be present. https://www.fns.usda.gov/…/covid-19-parents-and-guardians-w…
On Thursday, April 2nd at 3:00 pm, the State is hosting a webinar on distance learning for students with special needs. (This website is updated regularly with additional resources https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp)
Temporary Admissions Requirements Changes at UC and CSU
The University of California and the California State University systems have made the following changes to their admissions requirements:
- Suspension of the letter grade requirement for college prep courses completed in winter/spring/summer 2020.
- UC waived SAT/ACT requirement for students applying as freshmen for the 2021-2022 academic year (CSU has not announced it will waive this requirement).
- Admission offers will not be rescinded from students who miss the final official transcript deadline for the fall 2020 term.
- UC will suspend the cap on transferable units with pass/no pass grading and CSU will accept pass/no pass grading for classes taken in winter/spring/summer 2020 and reduce the number of transfer units required for enrollment.
You can find the updated UC admissions requirements here:https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/…/uc-eases-admission… and the updated CSU admissions requirements here: https://www2.calstate.edu/apply
Farmworkers and Our Food Supply Chain
On Tuesday, we honored the legacy and life’s work of César Chávez, the iconic leader of the Farm Workers’ Movement and a committed labor and civil rights activist. In celebrating him, we are reminded of the invaluable contributions of farm workers during this time of crisis—despite COVID-19, our food supply chain is still strong. This is in great part because farmworkers continue to do the hard labor needed to bring food to our tables.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in La Paz (the headquarters of the United Farm Workers of America) because my parents were actively involved in the Farm Workers’ movement, one of the greatest social, racial, and economic justice movements in the history of this country. My upbringing has given me a profound understanding and appreciation for the invaluable contribution farmworkers make to our state and our country. It is our duty to acknowledge those putting themselves at risk to ensure our families are fed; they are heroes. Read more on farm workers’ contributions here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/31/during-covid-19-pandemic-immigrant-farmworkers-are-heroes/
On Monday, March 30, the Governor asked individuals with a healthcare background, including medical and nursing students, to register for the California Health Corps system. Within 12 hours, 25,000 Californians stepped-up and answered the call to expand our health care work force. And as of Wednesday, that number has jumped to 34,000! A tremendous thank you to those of you who have raised your hand and leaned in to help provide care for others. That’s how we do it in California!
Details on Health Corps here: https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/
Helping Older Californians
Many of you have reached out and asked "what more can I do to help?" I love that spirit and I am so thankful for the instinctive desire to help that lives in so many of us. On Tuesday, Governor Newsom reminded us of another way we can be there for one another in this moment when we need each other most: We can continue to practice physical distancing while checking in on our vulnerable neighbors. A call, text, or physically-distanced knock on the door is a great way to reach out to older adults who may live alone. Whether you personally know them or not, these older adults are our neighbors, our fellow community members, in the circle we share together and we should show our support. Older Californians can also call into the new statewide hotline—833-544-2374—to get information about local resources they may need, like grocery or medication delivery.
Let’s continue to look out for each other. We're all in this together!
Read details here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/…/governor-newsom-launches-campaign…/
Pay Inequity and COVID-19
Tuesday was Equal Pay Day-- the day in 2020 that the average woman has had to work until to earn what a man in the same position made in 2019. However, for women of color, equal pay day comes much later in the year. COVID-19 has highlighted many inequities and that includes pay inequality. Women who are working on the frontlines during COVID-19, like our first responders, grocery store workers, and health care workers are often making less than men doing the same jobs. Women also make up the majority of part-time and low-wage workers who have been disproportionately affected by the layoffs and subsequent loss of employment benefits like health insurance. We need to continue to fight to close the wage gap and ensure women whose incomes have been impacted by COVID-19 are fairly protected.
Let’s continue to step-up as Californians and Bay Area neighbors to help one another. Now more than ever, we are in this together. We will make it through this crisis, but only if we understand and acknowledge that our destinies are intertwined and that we must uplift one another.
Live Chat Tonight
I hope to further connect and continue this conversation online. Please join me tonight, Thursday, April 2, from 6-6:30pm on Instagram Live to discuss the latest on COVID-19 and available resources related to rent and mortgages. I will be hosting these live discussions every Tuesday on Facebook and every Thursday on Instagram from 6-6:30.
Thank you and remember to stay physically distant, but socially close.
Monday, March 30th
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.
I write to share a few COVID-19 related updates, including: (1) the extension of the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place order; (2) state and city moratoriums on evictions; (3) expansion of health care capacity; (4) the response of the private sector; and (5) elections and voting assurances.
Bay Area Shelter-In-Place Extended
The Shelter-In-Place Order will be extended in the Bay Area through at least May 1, 2020, with details on the updated order coming soon. This applies in the following six counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo.
I know this is a difficult time, but these upcoming weeks are critical for us to flatten the curve.
We can, and will, get through this together!
Read announcement here: http://www.acphd.org/…/563…/joint-press-release-20200330.pdf
Expanding Health Care Capacity
Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that he signed an executive order to expand California’s health care workforce to staff at least 50,000 more hospital beds. He also encouraged people with a healthcare background, including medical and nursing students, to register for the California Health Corps system (If you’re hired you will be paid and will be given malpractice insurance coverage).
California needs more health care workers to staff the heath care sites that are being opened across the state. Check out healthcorps.ca.gov to find out if you are eligible and register.
Additionally, USNS Mercy—a 1,000 bed hospital ship—arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, March 27.
The ship has 15 patient wards, 80 ICU beds, 12 operating rooms, a blood bank, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy and many other health care essentials that will allow for the treatment of urgent care patients without the virus.
This releases pressure from local hospitals and creates more capacity for COVID-19 related care. I hope to see continued cooperation and collaboration between the different levels of government so we can properly address this multifaceted challenge.
State Moratorium on Evictions
On Friday, March 27, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order establishing a statewide ban on evictions through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits the eviction of renters who are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 crisis.
A few notes:
- Those seeking protections under this order are required to declare in writing—before the rent is due or within seven days after the rent is due—that they are unable to pay, in full or partially, due to difficulties stemming from COVID-19.
- This order does not mean a waiver on rent payments. Tenants will still be obligated to repay full rent once the moratorium is lifted.
- The order is now in effect.
While there is still more to be done, this a necessary step in the right direction—no one should lose their home because of the COVID-19 crisis!
Read the full executive order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.27.20-EO-N-37-20.pdf
Oakland’s Emergency Moratorium
Along with the statewide moratorium, on Friday, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed an emergency moratorium to protect tenants and commercial properties.
The ordinance halts residential evictions, rent increases, late fees or any evictions due to non-payment of rent. It also halts evictions for commercial properties. The moratorium ends on May 31st.
If you have questions or need assistance regarding the moratorium, Oakland’s Housing and Community Development Department is open from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday-Friday to serve constituents. Contact: (510) 238-3721, email@example.com.
Similar to Oakland, San Leandro has halted evictions for commercial and residential tenants, including mobile home tenants and recreational vehicle owners, who have been substantially affected by COVID-19 and the City of Alameda has issued a 60-day moratorium on evictions due to substantial loss of income due to COVID-19.
Localized actions such as these are an essential part of an effective COVID-19 response and I thank the leaders of these great cities for taking the necessary steps to help our community members.
Additional Information on Mortgage Payment Relief
Some important additional information about last Wednesday’s announcement that many banks would not require mortgage payments from homeowners for 90 days.
- First, this mortgage relief is not automatic! Do not simply stop making your mortgage payments. You must work with your specific bank (not all banks are participating in this, although 200 plus banks and financial institutions are, including 4 of the 5 largest banks in the nation-- but NOT Bank of America) and show proof of COVID-19 impact.
- Second, the Governor’s deal with the 200 plus banks is a major agreement, but it is not a law (as a general matter, California does not have primary regulatory authority over many banks; the federal government does). This is important because it means that banks are not compelled by law to grant any relief.
- The bottom line: Californians must get in contact with their banks to request the relief options and confirm arrangements with their bank. Again, do NOT simply stop making your payments. Please share this information to help get the word out!
Please find the Governor’s COVID-19 webpage on eviction moratorium and mortgage related information here: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-financial-help/#top
Voting and Elections
Many people have asked me if COVID-19 will impact elections this coming November. The short answer is: COVID-19 should NOT prevent elections from going forward or infringe on our fundamental right to vote, but it WILL require that we take action to ensure our rights are protected.
California is currently working on measures to enhance participation in November through expanded vote-by-mail and improved in-person-voting.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and other leaders from across the country have outlined and advanced voting reforms for the nation, including easier vote by mail and expanded early voting, to ensure we can still exercise our fundamental right to vote this fall.
To support the November election, the stimulus bill Congress passed last Friday earmarked $400 million to ensure improved and effective voting measures for each state.
We must not let this pandemic silence our voices or weaken our democracy!
Read more about Secretary Padilla’s and Congressional efforts here: https://www.usatoday.com/…/coronavirus-pandemic…/2890296001/ .
Please find the Secretary of State’s website on COVID-19 related information and resources page here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/covid-19/
Federal Student Loan Payment Suspension
As part of the $2 trillion stimulus package, the federal government is suspending federal student loan payments through September 30, 2020!
With growing unemployment and economic uncertainty, this is a necessary step to ease financial burdens on those with federal student loan debt.
A few notes:
- You have the option of not paying your federal student loans until September 30, 2020 without worrying about late fees.
- You will not be charged interest on these loans during the time of suspension.
- This suspension does not apply to borrowers of private student loans. If you have a private loan, call your lender as soon as possible! Ask about loan modification programs, including options for reducing or pausing payments, and waiving late fees.
Please find the Federal Student Aid’s website on COVID-19 related information and resources here: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
Private Sector Stepping Up in COVID-19 Response
The COVID-19 crisis is a multifaceted problem requiring solutions from all sectors, all people, and all levels of government, which is why it is wonderful to see the private sector stepping up in innovative ways to bolster our responses to the impact of this virus.
Here are a few examples:
- The Bloom Energy team is working hard to refurbish ventilators for Californians and over 350 manufacturers are cooperating to provide our state with sanitizer, gowns, ventilators, and masks. California’s innovators’ “can do” and collaborative spirit is just what we need to meet the challenge of COVID-19! Read more here: https://ktla.com/news/california/gov-newsom-visits-norcal-workers-refurbishing-ventilators-as-ca-faces-shortage-during-outbreak/
- Abbot, which has one of its facilities right here in the 18th Assembly District (in the City of Alameda), has launched an FDA-approved COVID-19 point-of-care test delivering positive results in as little as 5 minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. This could prove to be an invaluable tool in the larger fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Abbot expects to produce 50,000 tests per day. Thank you Abbot for bringing this critical breakthrough to the fight! Read details here: https://abbott.mediaroom.com/2020-03-27-Abbott-Launches-Mol…
- Finally, a big thank you to the employees at General Motors who stepped up and offered to make ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
I’m proud that our workers and private partners are putting politics aside and are showing a collective resilience, collaboration, cooperation, and “can do” spirit in this fight to protect our people.
Physical Distancing Vs. Social Distancing
For the past couple of weeks, we have all been using the phrase “social distancing.” But this does not accurately describe our efforts to limit our physical proximity to one another in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. “Physical distancing” is a better phrase.
As human beings, we need interaction, we need support, and we need love, even in the best of times, and certainly, in times such these when we are faced with so many uncertainties and challenges. At this moment, when physical distancing is critical to our collective public health, social connection, interaction, and activity is as important as ever. We can and must remain appropriately physically distanced, while coming together socially in diverse, creative, and intentional ways.
Call, video chat, message, and find other creative ways to check-in with your loved ones, neighbors, and community members—things have certainly changed and given these unprecedented times, it’s a way to stay safe while staying close to those you love and care for. Now, we need each other more, not less. So, let’s remember to stay physically distanced, but socially close!
My job as a public servant includes making sure that the people I represent have the information, resources, and help they need to face challenging times such as these, which is why I and my staff have been working hard to gather and synthesize developing information regarding COVID-19.
I hope the information I provide is helpful and, as always, please feel free to reach out to me if you need any assistance. I am here for you, both as your elected representative, and as a fellow community member.
Be physically distant and socially close and please be well!
Friday, March 27th
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.
I come to you today with a few updates on REAL ID deadline extension, the federal stimulus package, including allocations for transportation, and resources for our immigrant communities.
REAL ID Deadline Extended
Great news for those of you who have not had the chance to get your REAL ID. The deadline has been extended! The federal government has extended the deadline for a year, to October 1, 2021 because of COVID-19 so you can hold off on going to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get your REAL ID. In the meantime, let's continue our commitment to the shelter-in-place orders and combat COVID-19 together. Read the details here: https://www.dhs.gov/…/acting-secretary-chad-wolf-statement-…
FAQs on the Stimulus Package
I know some of you have question about the pending federal stimulus package. Here’s the latest on the historic COVID-19 stimulus bill and some valuable FAQS: The emergency spending plan moves to the House now for a “voice vote” set for Friday at 9AM EST. It’s expected to pass the House and President Trump has indicated that he’ll sign the emergency measure. Read more here: https://www.nytimes.com/…/coronavirus-stimulus-package-ques…
Funding for Transportation in the Stimulus Package
The federal stimulus bill includes $25 billion in emergency funding for transportation agencies across the country and the Bay Area is estimated to receive $1.3 billion from that funding. Many public transportation groups have seen significant decreases in revenue because of COVID-19. This funding will help keep public transit running so they can continue to provide transportation for our essential workers.
Resources for our Immigrant Community
During these challenging times, many in our community are faced with health and economic uncertainties. For our immigrant communities these challenges are exasperated by their immigration status. Immigrants, documented and undocumented, are the backbone of our state and we must support them during this crisis since they may not be able to access the same resources channels and help as the rest of us. The California Immigrant Policy Center is taking the lead on this by sharing this important COVID-19 resource guide https://bit.ly/2UEYnu4. Thank you CIPC! Everyone needs access to information & resources regardless of immigration status! We continue to stand with our undocumented community!
As always, all thanks due to our health care workers and frontline responders who—despite the high risks to their, and their families’ health and safety—continue to report to work and care for those who need it most. We must do our part to ease the burden on our health care system by staying home so these brave women and men can continue to provide their much-needed services.
Support one another in any way that you can and continue to be optimistic. We are Californians and Bay Areans, tackling challenges together is what we do best! We will get through this crisis stronger and more united!
I hope all of you are staying home, staying healthy, and staying safe.
Thursday, March 26th
First, I want to say how awe-inspiring it is to see this community rising to the challenge and coming together to face the COVID-19 crisis head-on. I am truly proud to represent such a compassionate, kind, and resilient district.
As part of my continued effort to keep you abreast of the latest developments related to COVID-19, I am reaching out to provide updates on recent actions taken at the local, state, and federal levels.
Protections for Tenants
Our Assembly District 18 cities are stepping up and answering the call to protect tenants through local ordinances:
- San Leandro has halted evictions for commercial and residential tenants, including mobile home tenants and recreational vehicle owners, who have been substantially affected by COVID-19
- Alameda has issued a 60-day moratorium on evictions due to substantial loss of income due to COVID-19.
- In Oakland, this Friday March 27, Councilmembers Nikki Fortunato Bas and Dan Kalb will be introducing an emergency eviction moratorium to protect renters, small businesses, and nonprofits suffering from a loss of income and/or increased expenses because of COVID-19. The legislation would also impose a moratorium on residential rent increases and late fees.
I, and many of my fellow state legislators, do not believe the burden should be solely on cities to protect tenants–we need a statewide moratorium on evictions to provide uniform protection to all tenants in California.
Which is why we are asking Governor Gavin Newsom to do exactly that during the COVID-19 crisis. https://a18.asmdc.org/…/20200325-bonta-and-colleagues-call-…
In order to stay at home, we need to make sure all Californians have a home to stay in.
$2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Package
Yesterday, March 25, the U.S. Senate passed the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief bill. Here is what you need to know about the bill:
- Taxpayers who earn up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 in one direct payment and an additional $500 per child. The payment will phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000, ending at incomes of more than $99,000.
- Student loan payments are suspended without penalty through September 30.
- Unemployment benefits will expand to cover freelance workers and gig workers. Unemployment insurance will be extended by 13 weeks including an increase in weekly payments by $600.
- Small businesses and community banks that do not lay off workers are eligible for government loans through June 30.
- $500 billion will go towards a lending program to help businesses suffering from the pandemic.
- Hospitals and healthcare systems will receive $100 billion to go towards PPE, new construction, testing equipment, increased health care staff, and more.
- California will receive $10 billion from the block grant portion of the bill alone
Check out this article to learn more: https://www.cnn.com/…/stimulus-package-details-c…/index.html
I am happy to see unity, rather than partisanship, in an effort to meet the peoples’ needs.
State COVID-19 Financial Relief
The financial impact of COVID-19 is widespread and our community needs relief. Yesterday, March 25, Governor Newsom announced that four major banks—Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo (Bank of America has not agreed to this at this time)—along with close to 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers have committed to providing relief including:
- A 90-day grace period for those impacted by COVID-19 and needing to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments.
- For 60 days, these institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines.
- Financial institutions will waive or refund late fees and other fees that are mortgage-related.
It is great to see private entities cooperating with our state government to help folks stay afloat during this trying time and I am hopeful Bank of America will soon join these financial institutions to provide relief for their customers.
For more information on how to access COVID-19 related financial help visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-financial-help/#top
Executive Order Suspends Inmate Transfer
In response the rising rate of COVID-19 contracted in prisons, Governor Newsom’s latest Executive Order suspends the intake and transfer of inmates and youth from county jails to state prisons. The executive order also requires parole hearings to be conducted through videoconference, and free communication for detainees whose visitation rights have been restricted as a result of COVID-19. We must make sure that all Californians can take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of illnesses. Together we can flatten the curve. Read the order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/24/governor-newsom-issues-executive-order-on-state-prisons-and-juvenile-facilities-in-response-to-the-covid-19-outbreak/
If you’re wondering what you can do to help others during these unprecedented times, consider donating blood. Blood donation centers have always followed strong infection control procedures and now they have added extra safety measures like having staff check the temperature of all donors before they enter the donation center, spacing beds at least six feet apart, and wiping down each donor-touched surface between each collection. Donating blood can save lives. If you’re young and healthy, think about giving blood today.
Read more here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/…/coronavirus--covid-19--and-…
Census: Be counted
In the midst of our COVID19 crisis, filling out the Census remains an important step we must all take to make sure our communities get the representation and resources they need.
The self-response phase (online-phone-mail) has been extended to August 14th. While we are all sheltering in place, it’s a great time to make sure California is counted!
It’s easy, Internet: go to http://2020census.gov and click on the green ‘respond now’ button!
Call: 1-844-330-2020 (English), 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish), 1-844-391-2020 (Mandarin), 1-844-398-2020 (Cantonese), 1-844-478-2020 (Tagalog), 1- 844-416-2020 (Arabic).
Mail: You should have received your mail instructions by now.
Let your voice be heard; be counted!
Free meals in San Leandro, Alameda and Oakland
San Leandro Unified School District is providing all children, under 18, with free prepackaged meals for pick-up! No ID is required to pick up the food. Just remember to stay six feet apart and follow CDC guidelines when going to pick up meals!
Below are the three campuses open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11am-12 noon for students to pick up multiple days worth of food:
- San Leandro High School - 2200 Bancroft Avenue
- John Muir Middle School - 1444 Williams Street
- Monroe Elementary School - 3750 Monterey Boulevard
For more information, check out their website: https://www.sanleandro.k12.ca.us/
The Alameda Unified School District is providing free to-go meals for all students 18 and younger. No ID is required, but students need to be present to pick up the food. Remember to stay six feet apart and follow CDC guidelines when going to pick up meals. Here are the three campuses that will be open on Tuesdays and Thursday from 11am-1pm for students to pick several days worth of food:
- Alameda Point Collaborative:677 W. Ranger Street
- Wood Middle School: 420 Grand Street
- Earhart Elementary School:400 Packet Landing Road
Oakland Unified School District will continue to operate 12 pick-up locations providing “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch for all OUSD students or families and any Oakland child under 18.
Pick-up Locations: Sankofa Elementary, West Oakland Middle School, Hoover Elementary, Oakland High School, Garfield Elementary, Bret Harte Middle School, Life Academy/United for Success, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Madison Park Upper, Fremont High School, Castlemont High School and Elmhurst United Middle School.
These sites will be open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00am to 12:00pm and you can bring a grocery bag or cooler to take food home for the week.
More information here: https://www.ousd.org/covid-19studentmeals
Continue to Shelter In Place
On Tuesday, March 24, President Donald Trump announced that he wants the country "opened up" by Easter. Here in California, we will allow science, data, evidence and sound public health policy to guide our decisions. Governors, Mayors, School Boards will continue to retain critical decision-making authority to put forth measures and policies in the best interest of their particular jurisdictions. While we are all anxious to return to our regular way of life, we cannot, and we will not, do it at the expense of the public’s health.
Let's focus on complying with the shelter in place order, flattening the curve, and looking out for our neighbors!
I know these are hard times, filled with so many uncertainties—but as long as we help one another and continue to take this day by day, we will be okay!
As always, I am here if you need any assistance.
Tuesday, March 24th
I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy.
I’m checking-in to provide you with updates from this past weekend regarding the COVID-19 crisis as well as some resources to help us address this multidimensional challenge.
Covered California Enrollment Extension
Covered California announced that it will extend special enrollment for health coverage until June 30th, effective immediately! If you are uninsured, have recently lost your job, or had your hours cut, see if you are eligible to sign up for health insurance at CoveredCA.com.
Executive Order Expanding Voter Access
On Friday, March 20, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order, which further protects public health in the COVID-19 pandemic, while also strengthening our democracy. By permitting vote-by-mail procedures for upcoming special elections & extending deadlines for ballot counting and tabulation, the state is ensuring our civic voices continue to be heard. Read the order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.20.20-N-34-20.pdf
Resources from FEMA
On Saturday, March 21, Governor Newsom announced that FEMA is sending eight large federal medical stations, providing 2,000 additional beds, to California. I am encouraged by how all levels of government have come together to address this emergency.
$42 Million towards California’s COVID-19 Health Care Response
As of Saturday, March 21, more than $42 million has been directed to California’s COVID-19 health care response.
Two hospitals have been secured to help with our state’s health care capacity.
Other key items include:
- More than $1 million to expand capacity of the public health lab
- Over $8 million to help acquire new and refurbished ventilators and IV fusion pumps
- And $2 million to contract with American Health Response to transport patients
Last week, California started receiving shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers. The Governor has requested millions more to ensure our vital and dedicated medical providers are safe and able to meet our communities’ needs.
Thank you to all our health care workers who are working so hard to care for those impacted by COVID-19 and thank you Governor Newsom for working to keep our healthcare workers protected and safe! Read more here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/…/governor-newsom-takes-action-to-s…/
Highlights from the Governor ’s Saturday Address
First, the Governor is urging Californians to understand and follow the statewide order to stay inside except for essential needs like buying food or seeking medical care.
Second, the Governor emphasized serious efforts that have been made throughout the state to enhance public health. To help with any possible surge capacity needs, California has procured 1,000 additional hospital beds and secured 2,400 hotel rooms to shelter our homeless neighbors.
Third, the Governor and state agencies are working with numerous private parties to secure additional medical supplies. Apple CEO Tim Cook is donating 1 million masks and Space X CEO Elon Musk is currently working on providing more ventilators for hospitals.
Finally, Governor Newsom is working on a plan to address social welfare issues like helping with unemployment claims, taking care of our homeless Californians, minimizing evictions and foreclosures, and deploying the National Guard in a humanitarian role to help distribute food at food banks.
I’m proud to see our state responding to this challenge with the leadership, speed, and innovation that’s needed to protect our people.
Update on AB 2887, the COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act
With your help and input, I introduced AB 2887, the COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act, on March 13th. Since then, I’m happy to say, great progress has been made on many of the components of the bill! This is largely due to the tremendous leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom through his executive orders.
This progress includes:
- Keeping utilities such as electricity, gas, and water on for CA tenants and homeowners. Thanks to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 16th
- Continuing to provide low-income students with free or reduced-price meals. Thanks to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 13th
- Continuing to fund our schools as they transition to distance learning and independent study. Thanks to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 13th and AB/SB 117 signed on March 17th.
- Providing low-interest federal disaster loans for CA small businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
For the three remaining items in AB 2887, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to push these critical issues forward and urge Governor Newsom to consider them as subjects for future Executive Orders.
- Implementing a moratorium on rent collection from small businesses and nonprofits
- Expanding paid sick time for workers by 14 days, building upon Congress’ HR 6201, Families First Corona Virus Response Act
- Using state funding to further support small businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations, through zero-interest loans during this state of emergency
Our work continues every day to ensure we are providing Californians what they need and deserve!
Changes to Public Transit (AC Transit & BART)
Starting Monday, March 23, AC Transit is suspending fares until further notice. They will now allow passengers to board through the rear doors without paying. Passengers with ADA needs will board through the front doors. The shelter in place order is still in effect and we still encourage you to stay at home as much as possible but we understand that some of you may have to report to work, get groceries, or access health care services and may need to use public transport. Please continue to practice social distancing measures as you perform essential tasks! These are challenging times but it is great to see AC Transit take the necessary steps to ease some of the burdens for our community members. Here’s a link for more information.
With the Shelter In Place orders, BART is temporarily changing train schedules starting Monday, March 23rd.
Weekdays: Trains will run from 5 a.m. through 9 p.m. and Weekends: Trains will run from 8 a.m. through 9 p.m.
Alameda County Food Bank
For those in our community in need, the Alameda County Food Bank remains operational, serving as a critical emergency response organization.
If any community member is in need of food, do NOT go to the Food Bank's, Edgewater Drive location. The office is CLOSED to guests and clients during this shelter-in-place order. Instead, please call their HelpLine at 1-800-870-FOOD (3663) and they will be happy to connect you to a source of food. The HelpLine is operational Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Free Meals from OUSD
During the Shelter In Place order, OUSD will continue to operate 12 pick-up locations providing “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch for all OUSD students or families and any Oakland child under 18.
Pick-up Locations: Sankofa Elementary, West Oakland Middle School, Hoover Elementary, Oakland High School, Garfield Elementary, Bret Harte Middle School, Life Academy/United for Success, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Madison Park Upper, Fremont High School, Castlemont High School and Elmhurst United Middle School.
These sites will be open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00am to 12:00pm and you can bring a grocery bag or cooler to take food home for the week.
More information here: https://www.ousd.org/covid-19studentmeals
We hope these updates and resources are helpful and please continue to reach out to us!
Thank you to all of our first responders, our health care workers, and all of the people reporting to their jobs so WE can have what we need during this difficult time. Let’s all work together to flatten the curve and please, stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, and take care of one another!
Friday, March 20th
In an effort to bring you the most recent information, below is a list of important updates and helpful resources from our State and District. I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during this time.
As a reminder, essential services that will remain open include:
- Gas stations
- Pharmacies and necessary medical care providers
- Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, and take-out and delivery restaurants
- Essential government agencies.
Californians Are Protected From Price Gouging During This State of Emergency
Price gouging during an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic is illegal. No one should take advantage of vulnerable consumers who need medical supplies, emergency supplies, food, drink, lodging, gas & other essentials. Penal Code Section 396 (2017) specifically prohibits prices increases of over 10% during a state of emergency (The Governor declared a state of emergency on March 4, 2020). If you see price gouging, report it to the CA Attorney General at 1-800-952-5225
Waiver Granted for K-12 School Standardized Testing
Last week Governor Newsom requested that the Federal Government waive the standardized testing requirement for K-12 students because he recognizes that the physical and mental health of our kids comes first.
Today the U.S. Department of Education responded by announcing that students can bypass standardized testing this school year. Instead of worrying about testing, teachers and students can focus on staying healthy.
Support for Small Businesses
Small businesses are the bedrock of our community. The California State Treasurer’s Office has compiled this list of resources to support small businesses.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The COVID-19 shelter-in-place order can create concern for victims and survivors of domestic violence. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or proximity of their abuser, it can create circumstances where their safety is compromised, and they may need to alter their safety plan. If you or a loved one are in need of support, call the National DV Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522 anytime, 24/7, for free and confidential support. You are not alone.
Dedicated Shopping Hours for Seniors & Those With Disabilities
We pulled together a list of some of the retailers who are offering special hours for seniors and people with disabilities to shop and avoid crowds.
Costco: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM on Tuesday and Thursday
Safeway: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM on Tuesday and Thursday
Walmart: 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM Tuesday (San Leandro) One Hour Before Normal Store Hours
Target: First Hour of Shopping on Wednesday
Whole Foods: One Hour Before Opening to General Public
I appreciate the efforts by our retailers to serve and protect our more vulnerable friends and neighbors. It’s important that at times like these that we look out for one another.
Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund
In these unprecedented times, I want to thank our public and private foundations and their generous donors for joining with Mayor Libby Schaaf to launch the Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund will help our vulnerable residents including seniors, homeless residents, small business owners, and low-wage workers. With initial generous seed donations of $2.5 million this fund will help:
1. Ensure that our vulnerable community members, including seniors, children, and low-income individuals and families, can count on support to feed themselves and their families.
2. Provide resources to organizations providing shelter and services through these difficult times.
3. Support our health care workers and first responders who provide essential services to our most vulnerable populations.
4. Help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have the means to support this worthy effort, you can donate to the fund here: https://secure.donationpay.org/oaklandfund/
Private foundations and donors wishing to contribute more than $50,000 to support the Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, March 19th, Governor Newsom addressed concerns of rising anti-Asian sentiments during his press conference by strongly denouncing the rise of xenophobia and hate crimes against Asian Americans. During this time, we maintain our commitment to our California values of opportunity, inclusion, diversity, and justice for all.
California’s Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus has shared the following resource:
Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center
The API Legislative Caucus joined Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University Asian American Studies Department to launch the "Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center" to collect and track incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, violence and discrimination in California and throughout the country. These incidents will help inform future policy discussions. We encourage individuals to share their stories at www.a3pcon.org/stopaapihate
Our Community is Strong!
Huge shout-out to People’s Breakfast Oakland for serving 150 meals to our homeless community in Oakland! This is just one example of the inspiring and neighborly ways folks have been stepping up for each other. Never has our sense of community been stronger! Again, thank you to all! Wishing you and your loved ones health, safety, and wellness!
People’s Breakfast Oakland (@PeoplesBreakOak) | Twitter
The latest Tweets from People’s Breakfast Oakland (@PeoplesBreakOak). if you have donations, please text us tel:(408)502-6605|(408) 502-6605
Helpful Activities While Sheltering In Place
I encourage all of you to take this time, if you can, to fill out the Census, continue to support small businesses by purchasing gift cards and shopping at your local grocer, do schoolwork with your children, exercise, and enjoy any down-time with family while taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you.
Visit www.covid19.ca.gov for more information on California’s response to COVID-19.
Thursday March 19th
I’m checking in once again to provide important information to help us navigate this challenging time together.
Over the past couple of days, I have shared details related to the Six-County Shelter In Place Order, executive orders from Governor Newsom, shared EDD and Small Business related resources, as well as details on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. With new developments daily, it has been, and continues to be, my top priority to make sure our community is aware of these developments, which is why I am reaching out to you today to provide some information related to the new statewide Shelter In Place order, the DMV, taxes, and international travel.
Statewide Shelter In Place Order
On Thursday evening, Governor Newsom ordered all Californians to stay at home except to access essential services, such as health care and food. This necessary order will stay instated until further notice. Bay Area residents have already been sheltering in place, but this order from the Governor applies statewide. In the best interest of the public health, let us all try to stay in place as much as possible. And if you do go outside, please make sure to practice social distancing. As Californians, we must step up and lead the way to flatten the curve so we do not overburden our health care system. Together we will get through this! Link to full order: https://covid19.ca.gov/img/N-33-20.pdf https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/
Federal & State Income Tax Deadlines
Due to COVID-19 there have been some changes and potential adjustments to the filing dates of both state and federal taxes. For state taxes, all filings and payments are now due by 7/15!
Read more here: https://ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/news-releases/2020-3-state-postpones-tax-deadlines-until-july-15-due-to-the-covid-19-pandemic.html
The Federal filing date will stay the same (4/15). BUT you can ask for a 6-month extension. Payments are now due by 7/15!
More information here: https://irs.gov/newsroom/payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-2020
The U.S. State Department has issued the highest level warning urging Americans to avoid all international travel. If you are a U.S. citizen who lives in the U.S. and you’re currently abroad, please start making plans to return home immediately or arrange to remain where you are indefinitely. Things are changing rapidly. Thank you for doing your part to stay safe and healthy, and slow the spread of COVID-19.
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that beginning March 19th, DMV offices will only be taking people with pre-scheduled appointments. People showing up without appointment will not be allowed. And for the next 30 days, there'll be no behind-the-wheel driving tests available. These steps are necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved by limiting the chance of exposure and allowing for adequate social distancing measures. Here are more details: https://bit.ly/3940rAI
I hope this information is helpful.
I want to end by saying that I am so proud of our community’s resilience and kindness during this difficult time. I see our health care workers continue to go to work every day to care for those who are sick; I see local organizations and food banks continue, and even ramp up, their efforts to provide necessities to those in need; I see neighbors helping one another and so many other acts of compassion and care and humanity—I am more certain than ever that we will be alright, as long as we continue to fight through this together.
Wednesday March 18th
Here are some of the highlights from today.
As of today, there are now 598 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California. That's a 21 percent increase over yesterday.
On Tuesday, March 17th, I shared some updates on the Six County Shelter In Place order and EDD resources for individuals facing employment issues due to COVID-19.
Today, I want follow-up with additional information on resources for small businesses, public charge, federal response, and executive orders from Governor Newsom.
Resources for small businesses and non-profits:
Many of my constituents and community members have reached out to me about resources for businesses and organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19.
I am happy to share that the United States Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offers low-interest loans up to $2 million for small businesses, nonprofits of any ize, small agricultural cooperatives, and small aquaculture enterprises. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75%. Loan repayment terms can last as long as 30 years.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
Applicants may apply online and receive more information here: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
At the state level, as part of my COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act, I am working to secure interest free loans for small businesses.
Gov. Newsom has authorized $150 million in funding to protect homeless Californians during the COVID-19 public health emergency. $100 million will go directly to local governments, for shelter support and emergency housing to address COVID-19 among the homeless population. $50 million will be used to secure travel trailers and lease rooms in hotels and motels, to provide immediate isolation placements throughout the state for unhoused individuals. Caring for our the most vulnerable and underserved in our community is the right thing to do.
Gov. Newsom announced a new Executive Order suspending this year’s statewide testing for California’s K-12 schools, pending federal approval. Supporting our students and educators during this time should be our main focus! Read the full Executive Order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/18/governor-newsom-issues-executive-order-to-suspend-standardized-testing-for-students-in-response-to-covid-19-outbreak/
Gov. Newsom has signed an Executive Order waiving eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for individuals and families participating in: Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWorks, Cash Assistance for Immigrants, and In-Home Support Services. This extension means that Californians will continue to receive these services, uninterrupted. We must make sure that every Californian has what they need to stay safe and healthy during this crisis!
Finally, the Governor has launched a new website that features up-to-date and simple information for Californians impacted by COVID-19. Check out https://covid19.ca.gov to learn how to stay safe and how our actions can save lives!
Yesterday, the US Senate passed, and the President signed, an emergency bill to help combat the impact of COVID 19. The package includes: 10 days guaranteed pay for impacted workers and family members, a new paid leave program, increased unemployment assistance for states, and provides some free testing under the Medicare Advantage Program. Coordination of resources and efforts at all levels of government and working across party lines is vital to meet this unprecedented moment. This is certainly a step in the right direction!
Treatment or preventive services to address Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will NOT negatively affect any individual as part of a future Public Charge analysis. Ensuring everyone in our community has access to necessary medical care should be our priority! Fear should not be a factor when it comes to public health. https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge
I am committed to providing you with helpful resources and relevant updates. Please continue to reach out to us and to support your fellow humans. These are trying times and we are facing challenges on all fronts, but we will address them head on and overcome them together!
Tuesday, March 17th
During these unprecedented times, it’s important that we take care of one another and make decisions that are in the best interest of public health. We must continue to follow facts, not fear. We will get through this together— that is what we do and who we are.
Last week I shared a detailed account of the Grand Princess operation at the Port of Oakland, including final disembarkment of all passengers and all non-essential crew members. The Grand Princess departed the Port on Monday, March 16th at 8:00 a.m. without incident.
This week I want to provide information on new developments around COVID-19, including the Shelter In Place Order in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
Bay Area Shelter In Place of Residence Order
This Order, which took effect Tuesday starting at midnight and covers six Bay Area counties including Alameda County, is a difficult, yet appropriate, step to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our families, friends, and communities. It is the right thing to do. This temporary step to stay at home unless absolutely necessary must be followed to reduce the harmful impact of this pandemic. With 472 confirmed cases in California, it is paramount we slow the transmission so we do not burden our health care systems which will become highly impacted if cases continue to rise. These steps, while difficult, will help us protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our community, including the elderly and immunocompromised.
While non-essential gatherings of any size outside the home must halt, it’s important to note that you are still allowed to go out for necessary trips to grocery stores, accessing health care, and helping families, friends or others who need our help. You can also go outside for exercise as long as you maintain six feet of separation from others.
I know these orders will increase economic hardship, and I am working with my colleagues to mitigate these difficulties as much as possible. We’re committed to helping people stay in their homes, providing relief for small businesses, and collaborating with essential providers like local food banks to make sure nobody goes without what they need.
Please do not panic about a shortage of goods-- grocery stores will remain open and the food supply chain is strong. Panic buying and hording is not necessary and it may leave your neighbors without the goods they may need.
To be sure, these are unprecedented times and it is important for us to take care of one another and make choices that are in the best interest of public health. So please, stay at home unless you absolutely have to go out and, as always, you can reach out to me or my office for help or information.
For more about the details of the Alameda County Shelter In Place Order, go here: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx
California Legislative Action
On Monday, March 16, the Assembly and Senate voted unanimously to fast-track up to $1 billion to fight the spread and impact of COVID-19. (Link https://bit.ly/3aYHKQq )
Governor’s Executive Order
Also on Monday, Governor Newsom issued a new executive order to help renters and homeowners keep their homes and keep the utilities turned on during this extraordinary health emergency. (Link: https://bit.ly/3d9XJNq )
I’m proud to see our state leaders unified in the response to provide resources to millions of impacted Californians. Know that we are working non-stop and taking the needed steps to help safeguard our people.
COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act
On Monday, I introduced legislation-- the “COVID-19 Emergency Protections Act” (Link https://bit.ly/2J7mD2J) that will require that during this state of emergency, the State of California will:
• Ensure consumer protections by having utilities provide waivers on late or non-payments so that Californians may continue to have access to vital public services such as electricity and water
• Provide schools with additional protections and waivers related to average daily attendance to protect against loss in attendance (Average Daily Attendance) funding
• Continue to provide students in need in public and charter schools with daily nutritional free or reduced-price meals
• Protect small businesses from wrongful eviction or closure of business by implementing a moratorium on rent collection or eviction
• Provide zero-interest rate loans for small businesses
I am also working with my Assembly colleague Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) on his bill, AB 3126, to establish uniform statewide regulations for paid sick leave, such as an extension of up to 14 days of paid sick time for full-time salaried employees, and making it unlawful for employers to refuse eligible employees from taking family and medical leave due to COVID-19.
Some of the actions my bill calls for are being taken by Executive Order, which I support as it speeds the relief to Californians. The outcome and delivery of support to Californians in need is what matters; not so much the mechanism of delivery of that relief.
Please also check out these useful resources below from the CA Employment Development Department:
- If you are unable to work due to exposure to or contraction of COVID-19, you may file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim for benefits of approximately 60-70% of your wages (depending on income) which can range from $50-$1,300 a week.
- If you are unable to work because you are caring for a sick or quarantined loved one, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim, which provides up to 6 weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages.
- If your child’s school is closed and you will need to miss work to look after them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. You can File an Unemployment Insurance claim and EDD representatives will decide if you are eligible based on considerations, including whether you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely.
- If your work hours have been reduced or your business has shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week.
- Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the pandemic may apply for the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program receive the percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent. Visit Work Sharing Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.
- Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet or contact your local America’s Job Center of California.
- Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886. Hearing impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565.
The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period for Unemployment Insurance and Disability Insurance benefits. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.
You can find a detailed FAQs page regarding COVID-19 here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm