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Purple Tier COVID Roundup: Rents Continue To Tumble; 49ers Off To Arizona; San Francisco Mayor London Breed's French Laundry Gathering

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- With a surge in coronavirus cases, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here's a roundup of the COVID stories we've published over the last 24 hours.

'Our Dangerous Winter Has Arrived,' Breed Warns Of New SF Restrictions, Possible Muni Layoffs
SAN FRANCISCO -- Officials in San Francisco on Tuesday said the city would soon roll out stricter COVID regulations as case rates and hospitalizations continued to spike, with Mayor London Breed warning that budget issues could lead to major layoffs for SFMTA workers. "We've been worried for months, but now it's real. Our dangerous winter has arrived," the mayor said during a press conference Tuesday updating the city's pandemic response. Breed began her comments by discussing how San Francisco had gone from the good news of entering the yellow tier to cases and hospitalizations rising to levels that San Francisco had not seen during the pandemic. "This isn't just about San Francisco. It's about our entire region, our state and our country," Breed said. "Even now, as hospitalizations are spiking, we are still taking in transfer patients from other counties. Because while it's getting bad here, it's even worse in other places." Read More

Rents Continue To Tumble Across Bay Area, South Bay Sees 20% Drop
SAN JOSE -- As COVID cases climb and the exodus from the Bay Area continues, rents are falling with some of the biggest declines in the South Bay. The continued drop since April is due to the departure of remote working techies, creating opportunity for steep discounts near Silicon Valley tech giants. Keller Williams real estate broker Myron Von Raesfeld showed KPIX 5 a newly renovated unit at 1400 White Drive in Santa Clara, just off El Camino Real that became vacant during the pandemic. "We used to - a place like this we would when it first goes on the market place, we'd have 15, 20 calls in the first day or two," said Von Raesfeld. If it were available in the same condition last year at this time, it would have rented for about $2,150 within 2 weeks of hitting the market. It's been sitting empty for 4 months. The rent now - $1,900 and the first month is free. Read More

Santa Clara County Issues Over $115K In COVID Compliance Fines During Holiday Weekend
SAN JOSE -- Santa Clara County issued more than $115,000 in fines over the weekend to businesses failing to comply with local COVID-19 health guidelines, county officials said. The county's Business Compliance Unit visited 427 business sites and issued 181 violation notices during the Black Friday weekend, amounting to at least $115,000 in fines. According to the county, that total may increase until the cited businesses rectify the violations. "As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise to new record levels, we need everyone in the community to do their part to protect the health of the community," said Michael Balliet, the director of the county's Business Compliance Unit. Read More

Stimulus Package Update: Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan COVID Relief Plan
SAN FRANCISCO -- With Democrats and Republicans far apart on a second stimulus package, centrist lawmakers from both parties have announced a $908 billion plan to address coronavirus relief. The plan would help state and local governments, small businesses and individuals. State and local governments would receive $160 billion to offset steep declines in revenues. Small businesses would be allocated $288 billion, at least partially through the Paycheck Protection Program, which loans money to businesses to keep employees on staff during the economic downturn. And the unemployed would be paid an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits for four months, totaling $180 billion. A second round of stimulus checks is not currently part of the plan. Read More

Santa Clara County Hospitals 'Are Prepared For A Very Dark Winter'
SAN JOSE -- On the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, the signs are not encouraging. Hospital beds are filling up as a surge in new cases continue to climb. Santa Clara County Health Director Sara Cody said care facilities across the county are "feeling the pinch" as 801 new cases were reported Monday and 80 percent of the available hospital beds were in use. Dr. Paul Silka, who heads up the Emergency Department at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, has been on the front line of care in the county which has been the epicenter of the pandemic since 57-year-old Patricia Dowd, a senior manager for a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm, was the first in the nation to died of the illness on Feb. 6th. Since the outbreak began, Santa Clara County has had 35,085 confirmed COVID cases with 476 deaths. Read More

Much-Needed $1/Hour Wage Hike Strains Novato Businesses Struggling To Survive COVID-19
NOVATO -- It has been two years since the City of Novato approved a series of minimum wage hikes and now, despite the economic disaster brought on by the pandemic, businesses will have to pay more to their employees beginning January 1. While there's no doubt workers could use some extra money to make ends meet, it may not be a good time for some businesses to be paying for raises. The wage hike will be one dollar, with small businesses paying $14 per hour and larger ones, $15 per hour. "Marin County is probably one of the more expensive counties to live in," said Novato Mayor Pro Tem Pat Eklund. "And it's important for people to work one job rather than two or three jobs in order to pay the rent." Eklund proposed the accelerated wage schedule last year. After a wage hike in July, the city council considered delaying any future increases during the pandemic, but in a close vote, decided to keep to the accelerated timeline. But this latest hike will actually be the third increase since January of 2020. Read More

San Jose Business Owners Putting Up Cash To Pay COVID Fines Incurred By Other Businesses
SAN JOSE -- San Jose business owners are stepping up to help some of their competitors who have been slapped with fines by the county over COVID health violations. EQ1 Real Estate Founder and CEO Mike Bui said Tuesday he was pledging $2,000 toward the fines levied against other businesses, and that two other businesses have pledged their own $2,000 for a total of $6,000. Bui said other small business owners are just doing what they can to survive and shouldn't be hit by the county when they are already down, saying helping other business owners, even if they are competitors, is just the right thing to do. He said with so many businesses on the brink, even a small fine could be the tipping point. Read More

Demand For Tests High In Alameda County Amid Case Surge
BERKELEY -- Some COVID testing sites in the East Bay are noticing more demand and increasing the number of tests given per day amid the current coronavirus case surge, officials said. The testing site at Martin Luther King Junior Youth Services Center in Berkeley is one of 27 free testing sites in Alameda County. It doubled its daily tests to more than 330 starting this week. Health officials expect a surge in cases and hospitalizations in the coming weeks and are seeing a higher demand for tests. According to the Alameda County Health Department, Alameda county has the highest number of deaths in all Bay Area counties, and the second highest number of cases behind Santa Clara County. Three things are partly driving the higher demand for testing these days according to Dr. Peter Chin Hong, a professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at UCSF Medical School. Read More

San Mateo Supes Approve Purchasing 2 Redwood City Hotels For Unsheltered Residents
REDWOOD CITY --San Mateo County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the purchase of two hotel properties in Redwood City to provide shelter to unhoused residents via the state's Project Homekey initiative. During a special meeting held over Zoom, the supervisors approved resolutions to purchase of the Pacific Inn at 2610 El Camino Real and the TownePlace Suites at 1000 Twin Dolphin Drive in the Redwood Shores neighborhood. According to a county statement, the TownPlace suites consists of 95 rooms that will be occupied by seniors 62 and older with extremely low incomes. Meanwhile, the Pacific Inn consists of more than 70 rooms that will be occupied to those experiencing homelessness. Project Homekey is a statewide project that purchases hotels and other buildings to transform them into long-term housing for unsheltered people, especially those who are vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

San Francisco Mayor London Breed Faces Scrutiny After Dining At French Laundry
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined at the French Laundry in Napa Valley with several people last month, the latest elected official to face scrutiny for attending a gathering while also urging people to stay home to slow the coronavirus. Breed's office told KPIX 5 that she was at a friend's birthday dinner with seven other people at the famed restaurant in Yountville, confirming an earlier report in the San Francisco Chronicle. The dinner was held at an open-air table and that she paid for her own meal, the mayor's office said. At the time, both indoor and outdoor dining were allowed in Napa County and in San Francisco. It's unclear how many households gathered for the meal. A spokesperson for Breed's office said the mayor, "has always been cautious when she is dining out. Now, with cases rising, and Bay Area counties moving back into the purple tier, she is once again limiting her actions and is encouraging all San Franciscans to do the same." Read More

Mayor Sam Liccardo Apologizes For Attending Thanksgiving Meal That Violated Gathering Rules
SAN JOSE -- San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo apologized Tuesday after attending a Thanksgiving meal in violation of state COVID-19 rules limiting the number of people and households at private gatherings. In a written statement, Liccardo confirmed he and his wife were at his parents' home Thanksgiving for an outdoor dinner on their patio where eight people from five different households were in attendance. The mayor said those attending had their masks on while they were not eating and said other family members stayed home out of caution. "I understand that the state regulations, issued on November 13th, limit the number of households at a private gathering to three. I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family," the mayor said. Liccardo went on to say, "I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better." Read More

Silicon Valley Exodus? Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Moving From San Jose To Houston
SAN JOSE -- Joining other tech companies in looking beyond Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said it would move its company headquarters from San Jose to the Houston area. According to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office, the business computing company will open its new headquarters in early 2022 in the suburb of Spring. "We are excited that Hewlett Packard Enterprise has chosen to call Texas home, and I thank them for expanding their investment in the Lone Star State by relocating their headquarters to the Houston region," Abbott said. The governor touted that HPE would join more than 50 Fortune 500 companies based in Texas, and 22 in the Houston area alone. HPE CEO Antonio Neri called Houston "an attractive market to recruit and retain future diverse talent." Neri also said the firm was was not abandoning its Bay Area roots. Read More

World AIDS Day 40th Anniversary Marked As COVID Pandemic Recalls Darkest Days
SAN FRANCISCO -- Several prominent civic leaders and activists, many from the Bay Area, honored the hundreds of thousands of Americans who've lost their lives to both AIDS and COVID-19 during this year's World AIDS Day on Tuesday. This year's event marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the U.S. and coincides with a surge with the latest surge in coronavirus cases and deaths. During Tuesday's virtual event "World AIDS Day - A National Conversation," put together by the San Francisco-based National AIDS Memorial, speakers drew several parallels from between the two pandemics. So far, some 270,000 American lives have been lost so far due to COVID-19, while the AIDS pandemic has taken as many as 700,000 lives nationwide. Read More

California State University System Extends Fall 2021 Application Deadline Due To Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California State University System has granted prospective students additional time to submit their applications for Fall 2021, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "To better serve high school and community college students facing university admissions challenges caused by COVID-19, the California State University (CSU) will extend its fall 2021 priority application deadline to December 15, 2020," the university system announced Tuesday. The previous application deadline was December 4, 2020. The nation's largest university system with 23 campuses, including San Francisco State, San Jose State, CSU East Bay and Sonoma State, the CSU is planning to continue with distance learning through at least the Spring 2021 semester as the pandemic continues. Read More

San Francisco Unified School District To Begin Free Lunch Program For All Children
SAN FRANCISCO -- As need mounts during the COVID pandemic, San Francisco school officials announced Tuesday they were expanding their free lunch program to all children under 18 living in the city not just to public school students. The lunch distribution will begin on Dec. 3rd and will offer two days' worth of prepared meals, plus snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables and milk each week at 18 school locations throughout San Francisco. Families can visit any of the locations and provide the child's first name, last name, and birthdate to receive a grab-and-go card to use to pick up meals. Adults can pick up meals for children without a child present. The school district has been providing free meals for students since school buildings closed in March. Read More

COVID Sports
Golden State Warriors Players Test Positive For COVID; Start Of Training Camp Delayed
SAN FRANCISCO -- Two members of the Golden State Warriors have recently tested positive for COVID-19, General Manager Bob Myers told reporters Tuesday. Myers did not identify the players who tested positive or when the tests were taken. News of the positive COVID tests will delay the start of the team's training camp at least one day. Player individual workouts are now scheduled to begin Wednesday, while team practices would begin on Monday. According to the NBA's pandemic-related protocols, any player who tests positive for COVID will be sidelined for at least 12 days. Read More

San Francisco 49ers Prepare For A December Away From Home
SANTA CLARA -- With COVID cases soaring in Santa Clara County and new restrictions in place, the San Francisco 49ers will head to Arizona Wednesday, relocating all team operations for at least the next three weeks. While road trips are a common feature of professional sports, there is nothing normal about what is happening to the 49ers. A reality, head coach Kyle Shanahan, is well aware of. "Right now, we know the restrictions say until the 21st, so we've got to plan for about three weeks, at least," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm just telling the guys and our team, just look at it one week at a time. We've traveled as a team for a week before, so I'm trying to get guys not to just make all their decisions yet, which is tough with the families and everything, but hopefully we can get down there for a week and kind of figure it out, what we can do, what we can't do, what the situation is." The team will be moving into the Renaissance Hotel, where the Cardinals were headquartered during training camp. Read More

Stanford Football Heads To Northwest Due To County COVID Restrictions
PALO ALTO -- The Stanford football team is headed to the Northwest to prepare for its next two games due to county COVID health restrictions, team officials announced Tuesday. The Stanford Football Twitter account posted updated scheduling for the team's next two games against the University of Washington and Oregon State late Tuesday morning, noting that the team would be traveling to Seattle on Tuesday to prepare for the game scheduled there on Saturday, Dec. 5. The game scheduled to be played on Dec. 12 between Stanford and Oregon State has been moved from Stanford Stadium to Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, PAC-12 officials confirmed. Read More


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