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COVID-19 Roundup: Defiant Alameda County Salon Owners Set To Reopen; Great America Shuttered Until 2021; State Under Reporting New Cases

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

Family Finds Creative Way For Morgan Hill Grandmother To Have Her Birthday Hugs
MORGAN HILL -- In the current COVID-19 era, birthday wishes can be hard to fulfill when you can't see family in person. But a Bay Area family recently figured out a way to make a grandmother's birthday dream come true. All Morgan Hill resident Maria Vasquez wanted for her birthday was to hug her eleven grandchildren and family members. "Hugs have been off limits for me," Vasquez explained. When faced with the dilemma of allowing Vasquez the human contact she wanted without exposing her to increased coronavirus risk, her family got creative and set her up with a birthday surprise involving rubber gloves and a shower curtain. KPIX 5 reporter Juliette Goodrich asked Vasquez to describe what happened that day when her family insisted she close her eyes for their visit. Read More

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

Palo Alto Lawmakers Vote To Keep Outsiders Out Of Foothills Park
PALO ALTO -- A Palo Alto gem that's been closed to outsiders for decades won't be rolling out the welcome mat anytime soon. "I believe it is illegal, is unconstitutional, for them to close the park," said retired judge LaDoris Cordell. "If they don't do the right thing by voting to open it then we will see them in court." The threat comes after the majority of city councilmembers voted Monday night against a year-long pilot program that would have opened Foothills Park to non-residents for the first time since the sixties. Five councilmembers voted to move forward with the program, but with a list of conditions. The 5-2 vote essentially delayed any decision to open up Foothills Park. "They proposed a whole bunch of things, such as it's got to be revenue neutral, it should go to the voters in 2022," said Palo Alto Mayor Adrian Fine. Read More

Online Learning Session To Explore History Of Sir Francis Drake, Possible Street Name Change
LARKSPUR -- A learning session will be held Wednesday to present the history of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Marin County as part of a longer discussion about potentially changing the name of the boulevard. A representative from a local indigenous tribe and a history professor will be the featured guests for the online learning session, according to the county. The sessions are being held due to a local push to have the boulevard, which runs through five jurisdictions in the county, renamed because of Sir Francis Drake's history as a slave trader. The learning session, moderated by Chantel Walker from the Marin County Free Library, will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It will be available via Zoom with meeting ID: 924 8372 9278 and password: 798119. Read More

SF Extends Business Registration, Licensing Fee Deadlines Until March 2021 Due To COVID-19
SAN FRANCISCO -- As thousands of San Francisco businesses remain closed due to COVID-19 and with future reopening dates still in limbo, city officials on Tuesday announced extended deadlines and fee deferrals for business owners. Under the new measures, Unified License Fees and Business Registration Fees for businesses will be deferred to March 1, 2021. When the pandemic first began in, Mayor London Breed and city Treasurer Jose Cisneros moved to extend the Unified License Fees and Business Registration Fees deadlines from March to May 31, 2020. In April, Breed and Cisneros again extended the deadlines to Sept. 30, 2020. But as the city continues to see a high volume of cases, resulting in reopening being pushed back indefinitely, Breed said another extension was necessary to help business scrambling to survive. Read More

Hair Salon Owners Plan to Defy Alameda Co Shelter-In-Place
PLEASANTON -- By following Covid-19 safety protocols, many businesses have been given the chance to reopen. But in Alameda County, the hair and nail salons are still locked up tight and some of them may soon stage a rebellion. About 30 stylists and owners from the Tri-Valley region of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore met Saturday to discuss their frustration over the state's and county's rules not allowing them to reopen during the pandemic. They are concerned that if they don't reopen soon, it could mean the end of their businesses. The Adobe Plaza shopping center in Pleasanton has a lot of "hands-on" businesses so it's been hard hit by the shutdown. But while some have been allowed to reopen in outdoor settings, Flaunt Hair Designs has not. "At first I DID understand…I don't get it anymore, because it has been proven that we don't spread it," Flaunt owner Christine Palmer said. Read More

San Mateo Co. Supes Approve $5 Million in Assistance For Renters, Landlords
SAN MATEO COUNTY -- San Mateo County supervisors on Tuesday approved allocating up to $5 million in federal funds to provide support to renters and property owners adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The allocations include $2 million in rental assistance, up to $2 million to support small residential property owners and $1 million for assistance programs such as incentives for landlords and tenants to compromise on back rent, legal services, and educational programs. The funds come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds provided by the federal government. Board President Warren Slocum said that this was a step toward creating a "win-win" situation. Read More

Virgin Atlantic Files For U.S. Bankruptcy Protection
NEW YORK -- Virgin Atlantic, the airline founded by British businessman Richard Branson, filed Tuesday for relief from creditors as the virus pandemic hammers the airline industry. The airline made the filing in U.S. federal bankruptcy court in New York after a proceeding in the United Kingdom. A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic cast the Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing as part of a court process to carry out a restructuring plan that the airline announced last month. The process is supported by a majority of the airline's creditors, and the company hopes to emerge from the process in September, she said. The carrier flies to 10 U.S. airports, including San Francisco International. Read More

San Rafael Rushes to Provide Poor Neighborhood Free WiFi
SAN RAFAEL -- San Rafael is rushing to close the digital divide by installing a Wi-Fi network in its Canal District in time for the start of school.  The Canal district is a low income area with about 2,000, mostly Latinx school children that has suffered from substandard infrastructure for years. We live in a digital age, but for many living in the Canal District of San Rafael, they're living in a digital black hole, and nowhere more so than in the new world of remote learning. COVID-19 exacerbated the educational divide, because immediately schools went to online learning and online learning not only broadband but enough broadband," Marin County's Chief Assistant Director Javier Trujillo said. The lack of connectivity has long been a problem in the majority LatinX neighborhood, but now, it means the difference between whether or not a child can go to school. So an alliance of city and county government as well as private companies and nonprofits like the Canal Alliance is building a wifi mesh network for the neighborhood. Read More

San Mateo, Santa Cruz Counties Impose Fines For COVID-19 Health Order Violations, Including Masks
REDWOOD CITY -- Effective immediately, residents and businesses that do not comply with state COVID-19 health orders in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties are subject to fines after lawmakers voted unanimously in favor emergency ordinances, Tuesday afternoon. Supervisor David Canepa introduced the law in San Mateo County, which includes face masks and other statewide measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. "If you don't wear your face mask, then you should be fined. This ordinance decriminalizes violations of the health order essentially but at the same time gives us an added tool to enforce compliance of the state's face covering and social distancing mandates," Canepa said. Individuals in both counties may be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for additional violations. Read More

California's Great America In Santa Clara To Remain Closed Through 2020
SANTA CLARA -- Officials at California's Great America amusement park in Santa Clara on Tuesday announced that the park would remain closed for the remainder of 2020 due to the ongoing challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. "The safety of our guests and associates is always our top priority," read a statement attributed to park Vice President and General Manager Manny Gonzalez in a press release. "Although we have done our due diligence in developing a comprehensive safety plan in accordance with industry and public health standards, the continued uncertainty in our region surrounding COVID-19 as well as the diminishing number of calendar days left in the 2020 operating season, has brought us to the difficult decision to keep the park closed for the rest of the year." California's Great America was originally set to reopen for the 2020 season on March 21 before state-mandated COVID-19 health orders closed all non-essential businesses. That date was initially pushed back to April 4 before being postponed indefinitely until Tuesday's announcement. Read More

State Health Official Details Waiver Process For Schools Seeking To Hold Classes In Person
SACRAMENTO -- State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan on Tuesday outlined the state's waiver process for K-6 schools that seek to hold classes in person, even if they are in a county on California's COVID-19 coronavirus watchlist. Pan, the former health officer for Alameda County, said K-6 schools can apply for a waiver to begin in-person instruction if they are located in a county that meets several criteria in spite of being on the state's watchlist. Individual schools must submit a site-specific plan to keep students and staff safe, taking into account input from interest groups like labor unions and parent organizations. Those schools must then publicly post their plan and submit it to their local health officer to apply for a waiver. Read More

California Under-Reporting Virus Cases Due to Technical Issue
LOS ANGELES -- A technical problem created a lag in California's tally of coronavirus test results, casting doubt on the accuracy of recent data and hindering efforts to track the spread, the state's top health official said Tuesday. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said California recently stopped receiving a full count of tests conducted, or positive results, through electronic lab reports due to an unresolved issue he did not describe. The state's data page now carries a disclaimer saying the numbers "represent an underreporting of actual positive cases" per day. The revelation comes as the state showed improvements in the infection rate and number of positive cases. The latest daily tally posted Tuesday showed 4,526 new confirmed positives, the lowest total in more than six weeks and a precipitous drop from the record nearly 13,000 reported two weeks ago. After the issue came to light, county health officials posted notices on their sites advising of the lag and that a drop in cases might not paint a full picture. Read More

Tiger Woods Recalls Ruckus End To 2005 WGC-American Express Championship At Harding Park
SAN FRANCISCO -- On Tuesday, Tiger Woods flashed back to what it was like before COVID-19 forced fans from the course during a PGA Tour Event. It was 2005. Woods and John Daly were locked in a duel at the WGC-American Express Championship that whipped the Harding Park crowd into a frenzy, more reminence of a rock concert than a golf tournament. Woods would later call the environment electric. "You couldn't have put two of the more crowd-drawing people together in a playoff," Woods said during a pre-tourney Zoom call Tuesday. "Myself and John Daly. It was loud. The people were into it. It was a lot of fun. I still look back on it. I just didn't want it to end the way it ended. In that playoff, the way we were playing, we should have continued. It was just an unfortunate way to end it." Read More

22nd San Quentin Inmate Dies While Being Treated For COVID-19
SAN QUENTIN -- A general population inmate being treated at a Northern California hospital for COVID-19 has died of complications from the virus, raising the death toll at San Quentin State prison to 22, prison officials announced Tuesday. Currently, state prison officials said, there were 168 inmates at San Quentin with active cases of COVID-19 -- 93 of those being reported over the last two weeks. Several of those inmatee were being treated at Northern California hospitals for severe infections. Another 1,965 have recovered from the virus since the outbreak began in June and 55 inmates with COVID-19 have been released. Among those infected was Greg Morris, who was doing 17 years to life in San Quentin attempted murder when coronavirus infiltrated the prison's walls. Morris was just released — three months earlier than expected — after he tested positive for COVID-19. Read More

Oakland-Based Clorox Warns Disinfecting Wipe Shortage To Continue Into 2021
OAKLAND -- Clorox, the world's biggest maker of disinfectant cleaning materials, said consumers will continue to see a shortage of its wipes and other products into 2021 because of overwhelming demand during the pandemic. While all kinds of disinfectant products have been flying off store shelves since March, wipes have been in especially high demand with consumers. Oakland-based Clorox, which dominates the $1 billion disinfectant wipes market with a 45% market share, said it has aggressively ramped up production for its cleaning products, but it still won't be enough. "Given the fact that cold and flu sits in the middle of the year, and then we expect the pandemic to be with us for the entirety of the year, it will take the full year to get up to the supply levels that we need to be at," Clorox President and CEO-elect Linda Rendle said Monday in a call with analysts to discuss the company's earnings. Read More

Alaska Airlines Warns Hundreds Of Bay Area Employees Of Possible Layoffs
SAN FRANCISCO INT'L AIRPORT -- Alaska Airlines is warning it may have to lay off thousands of employees, including hundreds in the Bay Area, as air travel has plummeted during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The job cuts could affect more than 600 workers at San Francisco International Airport and the airline's Burlingame offices. Meanwhile, 48 employees in San Jose could also be laid off. Layoffs would include customer service agents, flight attendants and maintenance technicians. Alaska sent layoff warnings to about 4,200 employees in total. Read More


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