CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With the surge in new coronavirus cases beginning to ease and demand for vaccination growing, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the weekend.

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COVID-19 Cases Falling; San Francisco Officials Could Reopen Indoor Dining
SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom believes some California counties could enter the less restrictive red tier this week. In the Bay Area, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin counties are poised to move first. This weekend, plenty of people were out and about enjoying outdoor dining and the mild weather. Things could get even busier with the addition of indoor dining at 25% capacity. Total Meltdown SF on Valencia Street is a new pop-up shop at Mission Picnic that offers all things cheese and comfort food. It just opened last month and is more than ready for more business. “I’m cautiously excited about it, because you can really feel the energy in the city shifting, there’s a little bit of willingness to be out and about,” said Total Meltdown SF partner Jacob Paronyan. Read More

Much-Criticized San Francisco School Renaming Effort Paused; Board to Focus on Reopening
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Education is putting the plan to rename 44 buildings in San Francisco Unified School District on hold and focusing on reopening efforts, board president Gabriela Lopez announced Sunday. On Twitter, Lopez summarized her statement on the matter, saying, “I am committed to focusing the board’s attention on getting our students back into the classroom. I’m committed to making sure every student and family at SFUSD is supported through this process. “I also acknowledge and take responsibility for mistakes made in the building renaming process,” she continued. “We need to slow down and provide more opportunities for community input — that cannot happen until AFTER our schools are back in person.” Read More

Marin County Opens Drive-Thru COVID-19 Vaccine Site At Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal
LARKSPUR — Marin County health officials have opened a drive-through vaccination site at the Larkspur FErry Terminal to provide easier access to the COVID-19 shot. The new site is particularly helpful for older adults and other residents who may have mobility issues, said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, in a statement. Appointments are required and are limited to Marin residents age 65 and older who can show proof of age and residency. All appointments are full for this week at the Larkspur Landing. However, county officials urge residents to keep checking the appointment website — https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine/P1Bsignup — to find appointments available at Larkspur Landing and at Marin Center. Read More

Fauci: COVID-19 Face Mask Restrictions Will Likely Remain Until 2022
SAN FRANCISCO — Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that it’s “possible” Americans will still need to wear masks in 2022 to protect against the coronavirus, even as the U.S. may reach “a significant degree of normality” by the end of this year. Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” whether he thinks Americans will still need to wear masks next year, Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, replied: “You know, I think it is possible that that’s the case and, again, it really depends on what you mean by normality.” The comments from Fauci come as the US Covid-19 death toll approaches 500,000 and the country nears a full year in its fight against the virus. And though the US is now steadily rolling out vaccines to fight the pandemic, the nation’s top infectious disease expert underscored the importance of mitigation measures to fight the aggressive virus and its emerging variants as many Americans express pandemic fatigue. Read More

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Costco To Begin Administering Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine In Marin County
SAN RAFAEL — Costco has announced it will begin offering a limited number of appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations at its pharmacies in four California counties — Marin, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernandino. Currently, the only Bay Area location is at the Novato Costco. . Costco officials said the appointments can only be made online. They added that the chain was offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines, typically Moderna. “Please do not contact the local Costco pharmacy as they are unable to schedule an appointment or provide current eligibility requirements,” Costco said on its website. “Check back frequently for updates about COVID-19 vaccine availability.” Read More

Oakley School Board Resignations Spotlight Rift Between Educators, Parents Over Reopening Policy
OAKLEY — A few dozen people gathered at Oakley City Hall Saturday, not all of them from Oakley. What happened here this week is now part of the statewide fight over reopening schools. “It’s not, honestly, the light we would want on our city” said parent Rebecca Mears. “It is unfortunate that it came to that but unfortunately they were caught red-handed making inappropriate and unprofessional comments.” Originally planned as a protest against the school board members who have now resigned, Saturday’s event became a call for open schools. “Five days a week, on campus, now!” one speaker said. “That’s what’s gotta happen.” Read More

East Bay Vaccination Sites Expand Focus Toward Education Workers
OAKLAND — When the federal government opened its mass vaccination clinic at the Oakland Coliseum, it also included a couple of mobile units to target areas of special need. Saturday, the focus was on getting schools reopened. The vaccination clinic at the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward was held specifically for employees who either work on campuses now or will be on campus when in-person learning resumes. Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe gave credit to the county for including teachers and school workers in its Tier 1B designation. “Many counties have had difficulties being able to prioritize educators,” she said. “They’ve said, we’re going to stick with 65-plus, see how that goes, and then we’ll let you know, educators, when we can look at vaccinating you. Alameda County said we need our educators to have access to this vaccine, too.” Read More

Livermore Cites Bike Repairman for Working Out of His Garage; Orders Business To Be Shut Down
LIVERMORE — Many people across the Bay Area are working from home during the pandemic, but one Livermore man says trying to work out of his garage got him in trouble with the city. “I couldn’t pay rent. I didn’t have a stimulus. I didn’t have unemployment,” said AJ Wright. He lost his job repairing bicycles at Livermore Cyclery when the shops closed around the start of the pandemic. He was able to take his work bench and equipment home. “I’ve got all the tools needed to do the work. I’m going to try. I’m going to put some feelers out there and see what happens,” said Wright. He started AJs Bike Service out of his garage last April. He says he got a business license with the city and was trying to do everything right to make sure he was following the city guidelines. Within a few weeks, he had enough customers to keep him busy full-time. Read More

Stolen California EDD Unemployment Benefits Used To Fund Assault Weapons Purchases; 2 Arrested
SACRAMENTO — When police in California’s capital city searched an apartment in mid-January, the most telling item they found wasn’t the illegal assault weapons — it was a small red notebook filled with 55 names and their birthdays, social security numbers, usernames and passwords associated with accounts at the state’s unemployment benefits agency. Police say that one notebook was worth more than half a million dollars in fraudulent benefits, money delivered on more than a dozen debit cards that was likely used to purchase the illegal weapons. Friday, authorities arrested 25-year-old James Smith and 21-year-old Chyna Hill and charged them with 23 counts of unemployment insurance fraud, along with 13 counts of possession of stolen property and one count of possessing identifying information with the intent to defraud more than 10 people. Read More

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Oakley School Board Resigns After President Steps Down Over ‘Hot Mic’ Remarks
OAKLEY — One day after the president of the Oakley school board resigned over disparaging comments about parents that she and other board members made on a video conference call the rest of the board trustees followed her lead. The district’s superintendent, Greg Hetrick, released a statement early Friday evening announcing the mass resignations after the social media explosion mushroomed following the release of the public meeting’s recording. Board president Lisa Brizendine had resigned Thursday, although there was no public announcement made at the time. The statement stated: “Board Members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito, Richie Masadas ask that the statement be shared with you: We deeply regret the comments that were made in the meeting of the Board of Education earlier this week.” Read More