Citizens and Businesses Are Flouting the Distancing Guidelines 

Coronavirus Journal: Parks may yet have to close, AA goes online, first death in Alameda County, and school's out for summer?

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Other Virus News ...

California launched an online portal for all the latest updates about this intractable pandemic. Covid19.ca.gov highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and links to resources available to anyone impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment benefits. ...

The first death in Alameda County due to the coronavirus occurred over the weekend, the county's public health officer announced on Monday. The identity of the patient and where they live is not yet known. The decedent was described as being an older individual with underlining medical issues, said Dr. Erica Pan, Alameda County interim public health officer. The virus is believed to have been community-acquired, she added. ...

At this point, the county's hospitals are not yet feeling the expected stress to the system that is expected in the coming days and weeks. The number of hospital beds and Emergency Room availability is "stable," said Colleen Chawla, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency director. ...

Brace yourselves, parents. It looks like school's out 'til fall. Gov. Gavin Newsom relayed the news in a presser Tuesday, saying it's unlikely the 6.2 million students in California's K-12 system will go back to class before mid-year recess. "Don't anticipate schools are going to open up in a week," he said. "It's unlikely that many of these schools — few if any — will open before the summer break. Boy, I hope I'm wrong, but I believe that to be the case." ...

Got an appointment to renew your driver's license? Well, here's another pandemic perk to celebrate: you can put it off for another two months. The California DMV has asked law enforcement to go easy on some drivers with expired registration, permits and the like so coronavirus-prone populations can avoid the agency's field offices for the next 59 days. ...

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has asked insurance companies to give policyholders a two-month grace period on premiums. That way, he said, people won't lose coverage for being unable to pay in the midst of a public health emergency. ...

The pandemic prompted the federal government to give us a grace period on income taxes while the California Franchise Tax Board pushed its own filing deadline for individuals and businesses to July 15. ...

When kids stay home from school, dogs are more likely to attack our friendly neighborhood mail carriers. At least that's what the U.S. Postal Service claims in a PSA reminding everyone to extend the shelter-in-place order to their aggressive fur-babies. The advisory urges families to wait until the carrier leaves the area before opening the gate to pick up the mail. ...

The free coronavirus testing site in Hayward is being watched as a possible blueprint by several other local entities and jurisdictions in Alameda County. The site is located at the Hayward Fire Department's Station 7 at 28270 Huntwood Avenue. Anybody can be tested and without a doctor's referral. Someone who is not readily showing any symptoms of the coronavirus can also be tested. ...

Panic-buying has prompted a hiring spree at Bay Area grocers. Safeway, Vons, Pak 'N Save and Andronico's are looking for folks to staff deli, meat, bakery, produce, fuel and customer service stations. The positions include paid training, flex scheduling, employee discounts, benefits, vacation and holidays. To apply, go to Safeway.com or ask one of the harried store managers about it next time you brave the lines to restock your hoard of toilet paper. Farmstead, a Bay Area-based food courier, is hiring about 50 warehouse workers and delivery drivers in the coming week and may recruit more going forward. Meanwhile, Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods want to add 100,000 people to its U.S. workforce and is offering a $2 bump to the normally $15 hourly wages through the end of April to keep up with the influx of orders. ...

Door Dash announced a series of pandemic-related initiatives to help the restaurants that make the food its dashers deliver. For starters, it's made no-contact delivery the default, shipped free hand sanitizer and gloves to couriers in 400 cities, and sent notifications to let customers know which restaurants are still taking carryout orders. ...

Facebook renewed vows to police disinfo on its platform. But the site bugged out the other day, flagging totally innocuous posts as spam or otherwise inappropriate. The FB powers-that-be yanking links to news articles about AOC's move toward universal basic income, landlords evicting people because of this coronavirus crisis, and cities suspending utility shutoffs for non-payment. After enough people complained, Facebook put out a few public statements about how it was just a glitch. ...

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 reached a deal with Safeway granting grocery workers stronger protections as they become frontline workers in the pandemic. The agreement includes more scheduling flexibility to accommodate childcare and expanded use of paid sick leave. Workers will get up to two weeks of pay if they contract the virus or have to self-quarantine because of exposure. The contract also calls for stricter sanitizing for employees and customers, and assures that all staffers will get a $2-an-hour bump for at least two weeks. ...

After downplaying the novel coronavirus and defying a regional shelter-in-place mandate to close the Fremont Tesla factory, Elon Musk has finally come around to recognizing the severity of the crisis. Sort of. While still seeming doubtful about the risk of the virus overwhelming surge capacity of the nation's hospitals, the Tesla CEO tweeted that he would join General Motors and Ford in making hospital ventilators for COVID-19-sickened patients. ...

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