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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COVID-19: Protecting your mental health

COVID-19 creates stress for all of us. It may prompt feelings of anxiety, worry, anger, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and hyper-vigilance to your health and body.

Limiting activities and in-person interactions with family and friends are necessary to protect the health of our entire community, but challenge the support systems we rely on in difficult times. Signs of stress are normal.

During this time, it's important to care for your own physical and mental health and reach out in kindness to those affected by the situation.

Here are things you can do to take care of yourself and your family:

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Be informed

    Understanding the facts about COVID-19 and the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. Turn to trusted sources for information such as the CDC, WHO, or the City of Berkeley for accurate information. Share information with loved ones.

  • Take breaks

    Watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media, about the pandemic can be upsetting. Be sure to take a break from the news and engage in activities you find relaxing and enjoyable.

  • Take care of your body

    Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Exercise regularly while adhering to the need to practice social distancing.

Connecting with others

While staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, support your mental health by reaching out and connecting to friends and family. While modern technology offers new ways to connect, older technologies like mail or telephones hold power as we all build healthy habits and continue traditions. Here are some ideas for staying emotionally close with loved ones while we're separated physically.

Using technology to connect

Technology is a powerful tool for connecting with others. Use video-based communication tools like Facetime, Zoom, or Skype to connect with friends and family. Calls don't have to be limited to talking - look for ways to creatively replicate the diverse ways you would normally socialize. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Meals are traditionally a time for gathering. Schedule a virtual dinner or brunch. Try having everyone make the same recipe and chatting while you cook together.
  • Playing games - combine efforts to solve a crossword puzzle, play charades, have a trivia competition, see who can complete a jigsaw puzzle faster
  • Start a storytelling group - see who knows the best tall tales or spooky ghost stories
  • Sync up and watch a TV show or movie together
  • Take turns reading books out loud - or start a virtual book club

Try different methods of communication

Not everybody has access or is comfortable using video tools. Traditional communication channels are still great ways to stay connected:

  • Surprise a friend with a phone call. Many of our normal social interactions aren't formal or scheduled - they're conversations in passing, like chatting with coworkers in the breakroom or running into a friend at the library. Not every connection needs to be long or scheduled - pick up the phone for a quick chat when you have a few minutes to spare.
  • Text one another photos to share snapshots of your day. Send a picture of a book you're reading or a garden that made you smile while taking a walk.
  • Send a hand-written letter or card by US mail.

Little gestures have big impacts

Remember that simple acts of connection can brighten someone's day. Give a friendly wave when you see neighbors and essential workers. When you're exercising outdoors, nod to people that you pass (from a safe distance - at least six feet apart!). Greet the people standing in line with you during essential shopping trips for groceries or medicine. And remember to smile, even when you're wearing a face covering - your eyes will convey the warmth of sincere human connection to those who need it.

Supporting children and teens

Having conversations with your kids can be essential to support their mental health. The shelter in place can bring feelings of disappointment as activities are postponed, cancelled, or altered. Children may also have questions or be confused about the new virus. People of any age, from kids to adults, can experience increased worry, anxiety and sadness. Those feelings may prompt certain behaviors. It is not uncommon to see changes including irritability, excessive crying in young children, returning to behaviors that had been outgrown, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, poor school performance, avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past, or difficulty concentrating.

  • Talk to your child or teen

    Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that they can understand. Start the conversation by asking what they have heard about the virus. Encourage your child to talk about their concerns and share their questions.

  • Provide reassurance that they are safe

    Before starting a conversation, take the time to manage your own anxiety and fears. A calm demeanor and voice will help reassure your child. Let your child or teen know it is ok if they feel upset and take their fears seriously. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

  • Limit exposure to news coverage

    Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand. Limit exposure to news, including social media.

  • Keep to a routine

    Try to keep up with regular routines. Now that schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities. Exercise, journaling, and drawing can be enjoyable activities that also help children process and manage anxiety.

  • Model healthy behaviors

    One of the best things you can do to support children in your life is to practice healthy behaviors yourself. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Resources for community, crisis, or peer support

California Peer-Run Warm Line, 855-845-7415
Mental Health Association of San Francisco
Non-emergency number for those feeling anxiety or seeking emotional support. Assistance available via web chat or phone.

24 Hour Crisis Support Line, 800-273-8255
Crisis Support of Alameda County
Trained Crisis Line Counselors are available 24/7 to take your call. For those struggling with difficult life circumstances or uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. You do not need to be experience suicidal thoughts or feelings to call.

Berkeley Mental Health Crisis Triage Line, (510) 981-5244
City of Berkeley Mental Health Division
Speak to a local mental health professional for support and resources over the phone. The crisis line is open Monday through Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Last updated March 17, 2020

Questions? Contact covid19@cityofberkeley.info.

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