LETTER. Dear Half Moon Bay Community (Para ver esta carta en español, oprime aquí),
As we enter week four of sheltering in place, I want to check in and update you on what’s been going on at the City.
First, thank you again for doing your best to stay home as much as possible. This is the single most important thing you can do to help keep yourself, your family, and your community safe and healthy. We are heading into warm weather, so please remember to stay within five miles of your home and practice physical distancing. If you go out for a walk and it’s crowded, consider trying again later in the day.
I included a message to our youth in my last letter. For those of you with children at home, it’s important they know how important they are during this pandemic and that they too are contributing to the community and society by participating in remote learning and having to stay away from friends at this time. Here’s the message once more for those of you who may have missed it. Please thank your children for me.
“As a father of young boys, I wanted to take a moment to speak directly to the children on the Coastside as well. To all the kids out there: I know that everything has changed. You’re not seeing your friends, you’re not going to school, family vacations have been canceled. There has been a lot of change very quickly. Please know that your cooperation and involvement during this time is just as important as what the adults are doing. We all need to stay home and do our part to protect our parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, nurses, and everyone else involved. You guys are helping a lot by staying home, and I appreciate and thank each of you for doing your part! Thank you for helping your parents work from home, for sacrificing your usual day, for doing math class around the kitchen table, and for trusting in science. We’re in this fight together!”
Virtual office hours:
Thank you to those who participated in last week’s virtual office hours – I hope you found the time useful. I’ll be available online again this Thursday, April 9, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. We’ll be scheduling ten-minute slots, during which I’m happy to answer questions, or just chat. If you’d like to participate, please contact Jessica Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org to get scheduled.
How many coronavirus cases are on the Coastside?
I know that people have many questions on this topic. However, the San Mateo County Public Health Office has not released location-specific information on the County’s 589 positive COVID-19 cases, or the 21 related fatalities. Throughout the state, each county health officer makes the decision as to how much specific information to provide about COVID-19 cases. Additionally, there are HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) considerations regarding patient privacy. San Mateo County is taking a conservative approach to the release of location-specific information – everyone should assume the virus is in all areas, as community transmission is apparent. If and when more detailed information does get released by the County, we will do our best to provide it to you. Please continue to stay vigilant in your efforts and stay home as much as possible.
#Wave of Strength:
Are you part of the #WaveofStrength campaign? We started this to show support for everyone involved in the COVID-19 response, and for the community doing its part. Consider placing a blue ribbon on your door, trees, fences, etc., as a show of support, unity, and gratitude to first responders, healthcare workers, teachers, public safety, retail and restaurant industry workers, utility workers, volunteers, nonprofits, and all in the community who have come together to support each other.
To participate, every night, at 6:00 p.m. please step onto your porch and wave to your neighbors as a show of support and gratitude! There is a Faceboook frame available on the Downtown Half Moon Bay Facebook page (facebook.com/downtownhmb) that you can use to show your support as well.
CDC’s Updated Recommendations on Use of Face Coverings:
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) – it is still critical that you maintain the 6-foot social distancing recommendation. For more information visit the CDC online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-
ncov/prevent-getting-sick/ cloth-face-cover.html. And please remember, the face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
Moratorium on Commercial and Residential Evictions:
San Mateo County has approved a resolution establishing a temporary countywide moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent by residential tenants whose ability to pay has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies to all 20 cities in the County, as well as unincorporated areas.
At its meeting today, the Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance prohibiting eviction of small business commercial tenants for non-payment of rent when directly impacted by COVID-19. The ordinance will take effect immediately and apply only to businesses under $2.5 million in annual gross receipts. Please note that the County’s business eviction moratorium applies only to the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County; we are exploring establishing our own moratorium on commercial evictions for businesses within the City of Half Moon Bay.
Property Tax Payments:
Second installments of property taxes have been delayed until May 4 in San Mateo County. Due to COVID-19, property tax payments will only be accepted via mail, online, automated phone system, and the drop box at 555 County Center, Redwood City. They will not be accepted at local offices, including the one in Half Moon Bay. Tax collector’s offices are tentatively scheduled to reopen May 4. For more information, please visit https://tax.smcgov.org/.
Tips for Staying Healthy:
This site from SafeHome.org includes some tips about how to properly disinfect for all viruses, which is especially helpful at this time – www.safehome.org/resources/
As of the last update, Half Moon Bay’s census response rate was 56.1%, which is more than 11 points higher than the state average of 44.8%. Thank you for your participation! We need your help to spread the word and help us count all Half Moon Bay residents. San Mateo County has launched #CensusChallenge – complete the census, take a picture, post it on social media, hashtag #SMCCounts and #EveryoneCounts, and tag five friends to take the challenge. If you haven’t done so – complete your census at www.2020census.gov!
If you’re interested, here is a link you can use to check the response rate in each city – https://2020census.gov/en/
Resources for Small Business:
For our local businesses, there are several resources available that may provide you with some help during this extraordinary situation:
- Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (Federal);
- Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development programs (State);
- General Resources and Business Resources (Local) for economic relief identified by San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA); and,
- San Mateo County Strong, a San Mateo County initiative in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which will support directed donations to specifically benefit San Mateo County residents, small businesses and non-profit organizations.
Proposed Sewer Rate Adjustments:
In the midst of this pandemic, we do still have critical City infrastructure to maintain, including the sewer system. Maintenance of this system is crucial in providing reliable service, and in preventing sewer spills and protecting our waterways, habitats, and wildlife. The system is very important to environmental protection, and we believe the City Council’s priority of Environmental Stewardship is shared by the community. The fixed costs to maintain the infrastructure of the sewer system, as well as operations, have increased over the past few years while sewer rates have not. Without an increase in rates, the City’s sewer fund will face a deficit which cannot be maintained.
Therefore, we find ourselves in the position of having to propose a set of sewer rate adjustments – the first such adjustments to sewer rates in six years. We know the timing is difficult. But we cannot take the risk of deferring the infrastructure maintenance and repair that is necessary to ensure the sewer system is operating properly, preventing overflows and spills, and protecting the environment.
The City Council will hear a presentation on this item at tonight’s City Council meeting and I invite each of you to tune in to learn more and offer your comments.
FAQs and other information is available at www.half-moon-bay.ca.us/680/
Thank you again to everyone for your efforts to follow the shelter-at-home and social distancing orders. I remain fully confident that we have what it takes to endure this crisis and thrive when it’s over. As always, feel free to email me with any comments or concerns. And, as a reminder, to stay informed please visit the City’s COVID-19 Daily Updates webpage (www.hmbcity.com/
covid19dailyupdates), and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
Together in partnership,