SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The tsunami of news about the current coronavirus outbreak and now the reopenings can be overwhelming. To help you navigate through what you need to know here’s a news roundup of the top coronavirus and reopening-related stories from the last 24 hours.

Good News — Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Sonoma County Food Bank Provides For Those Who Can’t Travel Because Of COVID Quarantine
FORESTVILLE — Thirty years ago, Food for Thought was organized to help HIV patients. Now, that model is being used to feed COVID-19 patients. It’s an unusual food bank, providing food for folks too ill or in isolation from coronavirus who can’t get food on their own. “Someone will get infected and then the whole family will be infected and then they’ll be quarantined in their homes,” said Food For Thought Executive Director Ron Carp. Healing with food and love is the motto of Food for Thought. You call a counselor and discuss what food you want and a custom order is prepared. Read More

Social Worker’s Non-Profit Provides For Needs Of Farmworkers Along San Mateo County Coast
REDWOOD CITY — Farmworker families are not feeling forgotten in the fields of the San Mateo County coast, thanks to this week’s Jefferson Award winner. During a recent day off for farmworkers and their families, Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga was at work giving them free food. “I think about the hard work our immigrant community is putting in every day in this country, and that’s what keeps me going,” she said. Hernandez-Arriaga started off serving Latino families pro bono as a clinical social worker when she discovered they needed more. “Although they were suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, what they really need was to be visible. To have a space to celebrate who they were,” she noted. Read More

For Uplifting Stories Of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Visit Our Better Together Section

Restaurants Owners Relieved Outdoor Dining Can Stay Open In Alameda County
LIVERMORE — Restaurants in Alameda County got some much-needed news Wednesday night that outdoor dining can stay open, for now. Azul restaurant in Livermore just opened 4 weeks ago, in the middle of the pandemic. The owner says having an outdoor dining set up in front of his restaurant has boosted his business 50 to 60 percent, but it was in danger of being shut down. “On Friday at 9 o’clock we were told that it was over, it was like a punch in the gut. Tears literally started coming down and I was like why,” says Azul owner MJ Moreno. Luckily, the City of Livermore notified restaurant owners it would not enforce the county’s guidance over the weekend until it received a legal order. Read More

Contra Costa County Hairstylists Go Underground After Reopening Rollback
DANVILLE — Newly-reopened businesses in Contra Costa County have shut down again, leaving workers struggling to make ends meet, and forcing some hairstylists to take their business underground. Donald Kolinski has turned his backyard into a barbershop. “So now I’m cutting friends hair in the backyard making no money,” said Kolinski.His Danville salon was shut down Wednesday in the Contra Costa County rollback. But Kolinski says he is taking matters into his own hands, literally. But he says cutting his friends’ hair won’t pay the bills. “You’re not making any money on $2,000 unemployment,” said Kolinski. “It doesn’t pay the mortgage. We’re going to go have to go underground.” Read More

Marin Sets Up Online Hotline To Report Violations Of COVID-19 Public Health Orders
SAN RAFAEL — Counties have been dealing with the pandemic for more than four months now and officials say it’s time to beef up enforcement of public health orders. In Marin County, residents may be keeping an eye on their neighbors. Marin County actually does a pretty good job when it comes to wearing face masks. But “pretty good” isn’t good enough. “We still are not where we need to go,” said Supervisor Katie Rice. “And given this virus is going to be around for quite a while, we really have to get to 100 percent compliance.”
So, the county has established an email address,, where people can report violations of the health order, with the focus on business or commercial operations, not just someone walking down the street without a mask on. Read More

Debate Over Emotional, Educational Toll Of Distance Learning Heats Up With Back-To-School Weeks Away
SAN FRANCISCO — The debate over whether distance learning is the right answer to start off the new academic year in San Francisco, many parts of the Bay Area, and across the country is only intensifying with back-to-school just around the corner. “I’m a fourth grade teacher and it’s stressful. It’s extremely stressful to provide remote instruction because I know it doesn’t work,” said SFUSD Board President Mark Sanchez. As teachers and students grapple with the new reality, parents like Gene Oh are balancing work and homeschooling. But there’s concern children will lose vital scholastic and social skills that simply can’t be taught through a screen. “All of these intangible benefits I feel offset the cost to the health implications and the spread of the disease,” said Oh. Read More

Luxury Home Sales Rebound In New Pandemic Work-From-Home Culture
SONOMA — Luxury home sales have hit a record high, all thanks to the work-from-home culture. “People want a haven, a place to go, somewhere that feels distant,” Christine Krenos with Compass Real Estate said. Krenos says wine country has gone from a second home market to a primary home market overnight. “My phone is ringing off the hook,” Krenos said. Krenos showed us a five-bedroom, five-bathroom luxury home in Sonoma that is on the market for just under $7 million. The 5,000 square foot home sits on 13 acres, complete with an at home gym, pool and the new necessity, two home offices. “There’s a joke right now among agents, like we keep teasing each other saying, there’s not going to be any houses left to sell,” Krenos said. Read More

State Approves Alameda County COVID-19 Variance; Outdoor Dining Can Resume Immediately
OAKLAND — Alameda County officials announced Wednesday their request for COVID-19 variance by state health officials has been approved, allowing them to immediately allow al fresco dining at restaurants across the county. The order will also allow the Oakland Zoo to reopen with appropriate safety measures in place. However, the news was not all positive in regards to COVID-19 restrictions. Alameda health officials said Wednesday was the county’s third day on the state’s COVID-19 watch list meaning that places of worship can hold outdoor services only and indoor malls will be required to close. Read More

SFUSD Superintendent Announces School Year To Begin With Distance Learning
SAN FRANCISCO — The superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District announced Wednesday that students will begin the upcoming school year with distance learning, amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area and California. “After reviewing the best available evidence-based sources of guidance from health officials, and gathering input from staff, students, and families, we have determined that on August 17, 2020, our fall semester will begin with distance learning,” Superintendent Vincent Matthews said in a letter to the school community. “We know our entire community needs to make plans since we are not opening for in-person instruction, so we wanted to share this news now, even as we are still finalizing more details,” Matthews went on to say. Read More

San Francisco Officials Announce Hair And Nail Salons Will Remain Shuttered
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday that San Francisco has not made enough progress stemming the new surge of COVID-19 cases to allow for hair and nail salons to be reopened. In a joint statement, Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said several key COVID-19 indicators still show that a surge of cases and hospitalizations is underway within the city and must be brought under control before reopening can continue. “Personal services such as haircuts, massages, tattoos and body piercing, manicures and pedicures will not be allowed to reopen at this time,” the release stated. Other activities and businesses that were previously scheduled to reopen either on June 29 or July 13 also will remain on pause. Read More

Education Chief Tony Thurmond Says Schools Should Prepare For Both In-Class And Remote Learning
SAN FRANCISCO — California’s education chief on Wednesday applauded the state’s two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, for this week’s decision not to reopen classrooms this fall amid rising coronavirus cases but said the same rules need not apply in counties with low rates of infection. With three weeks until some districts go back to school, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond called for “an abundance of caution” as many of California’s 1,000 school districts finalize plans for the new school term. On Wednesday, San Francisco Unified Superintendent Vincent Matthews announced students in the city would begin the upcoming school year with distance learning, amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area and California. Read More

San Mateo County To Allow For Limited Nursing Home Visits Under New Order
SAN MATEO COUNTY — Nursing homes in San Mateo County will soon be allowed to welcome visitors, with limitations, under a new order issued Wednesday. The new order by Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow allows for limited outdoor visits from family and friends of residents, along with spiritual advisors and those charged with making legal decisions. Under the new rules, outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance and be in a designated area that facilitates social distancing. Residents and staff supervising the visit would be required to wear surgical masks, while visitors must wear face coverings. No more than two adults can visit one resident, but cohabitating residents may participate in the same visit together. The order does not allow for “hired service providers” such as hair stylists or barbers. Read More

Airbnb Asks Renters To Consider Donating Money To Hosts, Creating Social Media Backlash
SAN FRANCISCO — An attempt by Airbnb to assuage the financial concerns of its property owners, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the travel industry, is backfiring on social media as renters balk at the suggestion of helping out their hosts. The San Francisco-based short-term rental firm has rolled out a tool that allows guests to send former hosts “kindness cards” that can include cash donations to the property owners. “To show appreciation or encouragement, eligible guests can send personalized kindness cards to hosts they’ve given four or five-star ratings, with the option to add a financial contribution,” reads an Airbnb help center article. “Airbnb will charge no fee, and 100% of your contribution goes directly to the host.” The gesture is falling flat with Airbnb customers on Twitter, who are questioning why it should fall on them to prop up struggling property owners, many who are “megahosts” who own dozens of properties bought with the purpose of listing them as short-term rentals. Read More

San Quentin Death Row Inmate Jeffrey Hawkins Dies Of Suspected COVID-19 Complications
SAN QUENTIN — The coronavirus outbreak at San Quentin State Prison has claimed two more inmates’ lives, including Death Row prisoner Jeffrey Hawkins, prison officials announced Wednesday. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Hawkins was pronounced dead Wednesday at an outside hospital from what appear to be complications related to COVID-19. An exact cause of death has not yet been determined, CDCR said. Another San Quentin inmate died Tuesday at an outside hospital from apparent COVID-19 complications, CDCR said Wednesday. There was no additional information forthcoming about the inmate because of medical privacy concerns, the CDCR said. Read More

California Equals 2nd Worst Day In COVID-19 Deaths; New Cases Surging Across State
SACRAMENTO — California has reported its second-highest daily total of new coronavirus cases and equaled its second worst day for deaths as a wave of new cases continued to build across the state. More than 11,000 new cases were recorded by state officials Tuesday, a rise of 3.3%. California also recorded 140 deaths, tying a recent tally for its second-highest daily figure. The number of tests and the rate of those testing positive also rose. The positivity rate over the past two weeks has now topped 7%, while in hard-hit Los Angeles County with a quarter of California’s population that rate has soared to nearly 10%. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday that Los Angeles County is in “an alarming and dangerous phase” that could overwhelm intensive care units and prompt sweeping closure orders if not reversed. Read More

Caltrain Teetering On Financial Collapse As SF Supervisors Table Tax Proposal
SAN FRANCISCO — Transit agencies around the Bay Area have struggled during the pandemic. BART and Muni are both facing budget disasters as riders stay home. But now Caltrain may have jumped to the top of the endangered list, in part because of something very few people saw coming. “Yeah, we got a tip at the beginning of the meeting, after the meeting started,” says Adina Levin, founder of Friends of Caltrain. “It was a total shock.” Even for those who follow transit issues closely, it came as a surprise when San Francisco supervisors decided not to advance a November ballot measure for a Caltrain-dedicated sales tax. “Caltrain is operated by SamTrans, which means San Francisco voters and San Francisco leadership don’t actually make the decisions as to what happens,“ San Francisco District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton said during a conference call Wednesday. Read More

Former Alameda Co. Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan Sworn In As State’s Epidemiologist
SACRAMENTO — Alameda County supervisors Tuesday bid farewell to the county’s former health officer, who was sworn in as the state’s epidemiologist. Dr. Erica Pan was Alameda County’s health officer for a year, including the period since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and overall had served the county for 8-1/2 years in more than one role. Pan was sworn in Monday as state epidemiologist and deputy director of the California Department of Public Health Center for Infectious Diseases. “Dr. Pan’s extensive experience in public health, infectious diseases and emergency response is exactly what California needs right now in our continued response (to) the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, state public health officer and director of CDPH. Read More

Oakland Zoo Closer To Reopening After Alameda Co. Files COVID-19 Variance With State
OAKLAND — An Oakland Zoo official said that the zoo might be able to open in a couple of weeks or even sooner after Alameda County supervisors voted Tuesday to support a COVID-19 variance attestation that public health officials have now submitted to the state. Supervisors voted Tuesday afternoon to support health officials in their request for an attestation that, if approved, would allow the zoo to reopen and outdoor dining to resume in the county. The Oakland Zoo has been closed since March, when regional shelter-in-place orders went into effect to limit the spread of the virus. The vote of support passed unanimously. “I’m really pleased and excited that the supervisors moved this forward,” said Nick Dehejia, executive vice president of the zoo. Read More

Poll: 79% Of College Students Say They Wouldn’t Attend Parties This Fall To Prevent Coronavirus Infection
NEW YORK — The biggest question currently facing colleges and universities is whether they will allow students back on campus for the fall semester. And, if they do, what safety measures will need to be put in place as a result. According to a new College Reaction/Axios poll, students say they’d be fine with not partying as long as they’re able to return to campus. The poll found that 76% of students who responded will return to campus if they have the option, with 66% of those saying that they would attend in-person classes. In order to make that happen, 79% of those polled said they wouldn’t attend parties and 71% said they wouldn’t attend sporting events. Read More

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