CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s been a year since the historic COVID-19 shutdown and the battle with the virus is still impacting our daily lives. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.

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San Francisco Moves Into Orange Tier; Restaurants Move To 50 Percent Indoor Capacity
SAN FRANCISCO — With new cases continuing to decline and the number of local residents vaccinated on the rise, San Francisco officials announced Tuesday the state has elevated the county to the Orange Tier, allowing non-essential businesses to reopen offices and restaurant indoor dining capacity to grow to 50 percent. The city/county had last been in the Orange Tier last fall before the post-Thanksgiving surge in new cases forced into back into the most restrictive Purple Tier. Santa Clara and Marin counties also moved to the Orange Tier on Tuesday. Mayor London Breed said the move to the Orange Tier would also allow for the reopening of non-essential offices at 25 percent. Read More

Santa Clara and Marin County Move Into Orange Tier
SAN JOSE — Both Santa Clara and Marin counties moved into the state’s orange tier of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, allowing them to expand indoor capacities for some businesses and reopen bars outdoors. Those two counties and San Francisco join San Mateo County as the only Bay Area counties to proceed into the orange tier since the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted in January. Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody said the decline in new cases and move to a new tier is reason to celebrate, she still remains cautious. “Some really good news is our case count continues to decline, very significantly since peaking in January,” she told the county board of supervisors in a Tuesday afternoon zoom call. “But now that decline is beginning to slow. We should take a moment to celebrate and feel good about the safety we have created for each other and that we are able to ease some restrictions.” Read More

Contra Costa County Aims For Orange Tier In Early April
MARTINEZ — Public health officials told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday they’re aiming to have the county move into the less-restrictive orange tier of the state’s reopening plan by April 7. It’s the earliest Contra Costa can reopen further, according to state guidelines, which mandate remaining three weeks at the same rate or lower of reported infections before progressing. It’s been nine days since the county progressed from the most restrictive purple tier into the red tier. As of Monday, 734 people have died in Contra Costa from COVID-19. County health director Anna Roth told the board vaccinations are going so well, her department has lowered the age the current age threshold to 50. “Now that’s moving out to another 300,000 people, and we feel confident that we now have the supply coming in to be able to start vaccinating those people,” Roth said. Read More

Alameda County In Red Tier For At Least 1 More Week; Another Case Surge Possible
OAKLAND — Alameda County will remain in the Red Tier of California’s reopening plan for at least another week, a health official said Tuesday. The county then may move to a less restrictive tier that allows businesses to serve more people indoors, for example, than they do now. Some other Bay Area counties moved to the less restrictive Orange Tier Tuesday. The daily COVID-19 case rate continues to fall in the county as do hospitalizations as well as testing. But health officials are not letting their guard down yet. “This is not over,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss told the county Board of Supervisors. “Additional surges are possible,” he said in response to a question about surges occurring in other states and in Europe. Read More

Labor Shortages Loom As Reopening Bay Area Businesses Try To Rehire Former Workers
SAN JOSE — Labor analysts warn that California may be faced with a looming labor shortage as the state races to reopen more and more of its economy that was shut down over the past year. “A good number of people, by necessity, have gone on to other jobs or moved to other areas of the state or other states,” says Michael Bernick, former Director of California’s Economic Development Department. That is the grim reality many employers have discovered as they sought to re-hire employees laid off during the pandemic. “We went from 64 employees down to 17 or 18 in three days,” says Dan Holder, owner of Jack Holder’s Restaurant in San Jose. Holder says it pained him to let so many valued employees go at the start of the lockdown last March. And as the county has slowly reopened and his restaurant has rebounded, he says he’s trying to lure as many back as possible. Read More

Oakland To Provide $500 A Month In Guaranteed Income To 600 BIPOC Families
OAKLAND — The City of Oakland announced a pilot program Tuesday to give a small group of low-income people a guaranteed monthly income to see if it will improve their economic plight. The experiment is actually small in scale, but it addresses a problem faced by millions trying to survive in this economy. Oakland Resilient Families, the name of the program, will provide $500 a month for at least 18 months to the families who can spend the money on anything they want to. The money will go to Black, Indigenous and other people of color, also known as BIPOC. These groups have the greatest wealth disparities in Oakland. “We believe that guaranteed income is the most transformative policy that can achieve this vision and whose time has come,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Read More

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Richmond Passes Emergency Ordinance To Stop Evictions During Pandemic
RICHMOND — With more than half of the city’s residents being renters, the Richmond City Council voted to protect them from getting evicted during the pandemic by adopting an urgent city ordinance. Tuesday’s discussion grew heated before lawmakers voted on the law. As this was an urgent ordinance, it needed 5 out of 7 votes, and that is exactly how the vote went. The ordinance will now take effect right away. Vice Mayor Demnlus Johnson passionately supported the effort to keep Richmond residents in their homes as he called on Richmond residents to lift each other up during the pandemic. “I’m familiar with landlords trying to evict me,” said Rosalinda Montes Palacios, a former Richmond resident. Palacios said she was forced out of her home in 2020. While she was able to find housing outside of the city, she worries about others. Read More

Asian American Attacks

US Army Veteran Attacked In San Francisco; Suspect Arrested For Hate Crime
SAN FRANCISCO — A longtime San Francisco resident and US Army veteran said he was attacked for wearing a veteran’s hat on a grocery shopping trip in the city. Ron Tuason, 56, shared photos of his injuries with KPIX 5, after he said a man yelled racial insults, and then punched him multiple times, knocking him to the ground on Mar. 13 around 4 pm at Ocean and Plymouth Avenues. Tuason had been carrying his groceries and waiting at the bus stop. He also relies on a cane. “When he noticed me, he got aggressive and charged across the street, ‘Go back where you came from, you caused this problem’, referring to COVID, and do you want to get hurt? You’re not a veteran, I’m a veteran,'” recalled Tuason. Read More

Woman Dragged By Car During San Francisco Robbery
SAN FRANCISCO — An Asian woman was injured after being briefly dragged by a moving car during a robbery that was caught on video in San Francisco’s Polk Gulch neighborhood over the weekend. The strong-arm robbery happened Sunday afternoon at around 3:45 p.m. near the intersection of Polk and Bush, according to San Francisco police. During the incident, two young black male suspects and one black female suspect, all in the age range of 18 to 25, approached the victim — a 33-year-old Asian woman. The suspects attacked the victim from behind and grabbed her purse which contained her wallet, cellphone and cash, police said. Read More

San Francisco Firefighters Volunteer To Patrol Chinatown Streets
SAN FRANCISCO — Some first responders are coordinating their own effort to help curb street violence from the recent rash of attacks on Asians in San Francisco. The latest incident that left an Asian victim injured in a violent robbery where she was dragged behind the suspect vehicle has given the group of former and current firefighters another reason to respond. “We are going to be there in numbers and in strength and do what we need to do to defend these people,” said retired San Francisco Fire Department Fire Marshall Paul Chin. “We know the police officers can’t be everywhere. We wish,” said John Choy of the San Francisco Fire Department. Read More

Violent Assaults, Killings Force Asian Americans To Seek Ways To Protect Themselves, Loved Ones
OAKLAND — After an alarming increase of violent assaults and killings, more Asian Americans are actively seeking out ways to protect themselves and their loved ones. There is growing interest in learning how to fight back to reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Huy Ha, a martial arts instructor in Oakland, said he’s never been busier teaching free classes to the community. The Oakland resident is also a gun owner and moderator for the private Facebook group, “Asian American Fun Owners of California.” He said its membership recently grew past 2,000. “For me to pull out my firearm, and defend myself, I really, really, really pray that that day doesn’t come, but if that day does come, I know that I will be ready,” said Ha. Read More

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Injured Grandmom Who Fought Back Against Attacker To Donate Funds Raised To AAPI Community
SAN FRANCISCO — An elderly San Francisco woman who fought back during an assault – and who has received nearly $1 million in donations after her story went viral – will be donating the funds to the Asian American community to fight racism, according to her family. 75-year-old San Francisco resident Xiao Zhen Xie garnered international attention after using a wooden board to fight off a man who assaulted her on Market St. last Wednesday morning.  Police said the same man, identified as 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, had also attacked 83-year-old Ngoc Pham just before the attack on Xie. Jenkins was arrested at the scene. Read More