Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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

Take steps to protect yourself, protect our community

Berkeley, California (Friday, March 13, 2020) - Alameda County on Thursday evening announced that they had two lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases where there is no known exposure or travel history – a development that increases the urgency to add social distancing actions since the new coronavirus is now spreading in unknown ways in all of the inner ring of Bay Area counties.

Our county joins Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Solano counties in seeing this development, known as “community spread,” even as our city has only three lab-confirmed cases, who each had known exposures not acquired in the community and are isolated. The three cases in Berkeley involve a traveler to an outbreak area and two people from the Grand Princess Cruise ship, one of whom tested positive this week after having been in isolation.

As the City of Berkeley’s Health Officer, I encourage parents to use social distancing measures for children who are home from closed schools. For the general population, stronger social distancing measures will help reduce cases of severe illness, especially among the most vulnerable – those over 60 and those with chronic conditions.

Flatten the curve: effective social distancing and hygiene measures reduce spikes in hospital visits

With no pharmaceutical response available to treat this new coronavirus, hospital capacity becomes a concern, and we need to collectively reduce the number of people getting severe COVID-19 illness. I fully support the further reduction in non-essential gatherings, as recommended by the California Department of Public Health, and urge tighter guidelines to protect the most vulnerable. Organizers should cancel or postpone:

  • Gatherings of more than 250 people.
  • Smaller gatherings that do not allow six feet of space between people.
  • Gatherings of 10 or more people over 60 or who have underlying health conditions.

For gatherings of less than 250, consider the following factors:

  • Size: Smaller is better. The risk of getting the virus increases as the size of the crowd increases.
  • Duration: Shorter is better. The risk of getting the virus increases as the duration of the event increases (e.g., a 2-hour meeting is lower risk than a 2-day conference).
  • Density: Risk of getting the virus increases in crowded settings. If the venue or setting doesn’t enable people to keep social distance (more than arm’s length of one another), the risk of spreading the virus increases. People should avoid crowded places where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.
  • Geographic reach: Mixing of people across regions, states, and countries currently raises risk

These recommendations provide an additional layer of behaviors to hygiene measures everyone should take:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
  • Avoid close contact with other people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Collective social action is powerful. The more that take these actions, we amplify the power of our most powerful weapons against COVID-19. In doing so, we prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with severe cases.

Changes to City Services

Actions by City Manager

City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley has moved quickly on these recommendations and the following actions are underway:

  • Cancelation of almost all city-sponsored or permitted events.
  • Closure of our senior centers starting Monday March 16, while allowing pickup lunches.
  • Cancelation of most boards and commission meetings for 60 days, except for critical items before the following:
  • Design Review Committee
  • Fair Campaign Practices Commission
  • Joint Subcommittee on the Implementation of State Housing Laws
  • Landmarks Preservation Commission
  • Open Government Commission
  • Personnel Board
  • Planning Commission
  • Police Review Commission
  • Zoning Adjustments Board
  • City council meetings will be teleconferenced, and will have a publicly accessible location for public comment and meeting observation.

Senior Centers: Pick-up lunches still available

In an effort to facilitate important service while maintaining social distancing for a vulnerable group, the City of Berkeley’s senior centers will provide members the opportunity to pick up a nutritious lunch daily, between the hours of 11:00 am – 12:00 pm only. Please note that this will be for PICK-UP ONLY with NO dine-in option.

North Berkeley Senior Center
1900 Sixth Street
Building Hours: CLOSED
Lunch Pick-up Service: Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis Street
Building Hours: 8:00am – 11:00am
Lunch Pick-up Service: Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Testing through clinicians

I know that many people are frustrated with the shortage in testing. I am, too. However, not everyone with symptoms needs to be tested for COVID-19.

  • Those who have mild symptoms of a cold or flu should stay home. With no pharmaceutical response, going to a hospital may expose you to other illnesses.
  • If your symptoms worsen or you have concerns, call your primary care physician.

All testing is done through clinicians. Our public health clinics do not test for COVID-19. Right now, the top priority for public health response is to implement and encourage community-wide, non-pharmaceutical actions that reduce exposures to this new coronavirus.

As I strive to serve our City of 120,000 people, I recognize that people are making many tough, complex decisions. Use the frameworks I’ve provided to help make decisions in consultation with those you trust and respect.

Our personal and group actions have great power. Help others. This is the time to act.

Lisa B. Hernandez, MD, MPH
City of Berkeley Health Officer


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