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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Children, elderly, pregnant and those with respiratory or cardiac issues should take particular care

Berkeley, California (Friday, November 16, 2018) - With air quality remaining at very unhealthy levels in Berkeley, the City is following federal guidelines and the recommendations of the City's health officer by curtailing various services requiring outdoor work by non-emergency staff.

This work is being scheduled and prioritized for when air quality is better, typically in the mornings. Residents and businesses should be aware of the following impacts:

  • Pickup of waste, recycling and compost were stopped on Friday, but will resume Saturday morning. Residents should keep bins out until they are picked up.
  • Inspections are being cancelled when air conditions are very unhealthy. That includes building, housing and fire inspections.
  • The City's Transfer Station will be closed on Saturday

These steps are being taken in light of recommendations that follow federal guidelines based on the EPA's Air Quality Index. These recommendations are being reiterated by Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the City of Berkeley's Health Officer. Air quality measurements in Berkeley reached 246 on Thursday and 247 on Friday, levels the EPA deems "very unhealthy"."  

Dr. Hernandez  recommends that everyone with respiratory or cardiac issues avoid outdoor activity. Everyone else - especially children, the elderly and pregnant women - should limit time outside.

Move indoors and reschedule outdoor activities when air quality improves.

Conditions can change rapidly due to wind and other factors. Residents and visitors should check for updates with baaqmd.gov or airnow.gov and take precautions based on their own health. The air quality district also has   Berkeley-specific air quality data.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has already issued advisories through Tuesday November 20.  Contact your health care provider if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Repeated coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea or unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

Masks are not a substitute for staying indoors. Using masks is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with one's medical provider. The lack of a professional fitting, improper storage and wearing it incorrectly are factors that can make masks ineffective. Because masks increase the carbon dioxide levels inside the mask, some health conditions are worsened by wearing them. Consult your doctor.

The City of Berkeley Public Health will continue to monitor conditions.


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