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Around California - page 3

With California left behind on indoor dining, here’s what Bay Area restaurants can hope for next

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To the surprise of some in the restaurant industry, San Francisco on Tuesday failed to secure state permission to reopen limited-capacity indoor dining, with the county falling short on one of three key metrics to move to a higher Covid tier.

With other states, including New York, recently relaxing restrictions and permitting the return of some indoor dining as infections fall, California appears to stand alone as the only state in the U.S. where indoor dining remains effectively off-limits. While a handful of rural counties are in the red and orange tiers and can allow indoor dining, as of Tuesday, 99.8% of the state’s population lives in purple-tier counties where only outdoor dining, takeout and delivery are permitted.

So how close are we?

To move from purple into the red tier — which allows indoor dining at 25% capacity — counties need an adjusted case rate of between 4 and 7, a test positivity rate between 5% and 8%, and a health equity metric between 5.3% and 8%. They must meet all three — and hold those numbers for two weeks straight before they can move up.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Business Times

Marin County to widen vaccine access to 65-plus bracket

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GREENBRAE CA - DECEMBER 17: Marin County Fire Department paramedic Kevin Stone prepares a syringe with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Calif. on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Continuing Care Retirement Community staff at The Tamalpais are among the first to get the coronavirus vaccines in Marin. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

Marin County will expand the pool of people eligible for coronavirus vaccines to residents 65 and older beginning next week, the county’s public health officer said Monday.

The change represents the first time that many of the the roughly 33,000 Marin residents between the ages of 65 and 74 will be able to book appointments to get vaccinated. The county has so far reserved its limited supply of vaccine doses for residents age 75 and older, in addition to people living in senior care centers, health care workers and other occupational groups.

Appointments for vaccinations through the county’s public health department will open Thursdays at 12 p.m. at coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine. The number of appointments each week will be limited based on supply, according to Dr. Matt Willis, the public health officer.

Kaiser and Sutter Health patients must book appointments through their health care providers, Willis said. While Sutter expanded vaccine eligibility to patients 65 and older last week, Kaiser has not yet lowered the minimum age below 75 in Marin, a company spokesman said Monday.

Continue Reading on Mecury News

Electrify America’s Charging Grid Expands With 30 Free Of Charge Solar Powered Stations

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Electrify America is installing 30 solar-powered EV charging stations throughout central California. Each charging station features two charging ports.

The chargers are specifically being placed inland to provide greater access to charging infrastructure in rural parts of the state, while more than half are located in disadvantaged and low income communities, and they are all available to the public free of charge.

“Electrify America’s mission centers around increasing access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet the differing needs of drivers across a diverse set of communities and lifestyles,” said Nina Huesgen, senior manager, home, and eCommerce at Electrify America. “We believe adding renewable energy to our offerings and expanding access to public charging in rural communities will help continue to spur EV adoption in the state.”

Continue Reading on Carscoops

Rebounding gas prices in Bay Area will soon surpass pre-pandemic levels, analysts say

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Gas prices have rebounded in the Bay Area and are on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels as California continues to reopen, vaccinations increase and the economy slowly begins to recover, according to analysts.

The average price of gas in San Francisco as of Thursday was $3.54 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com, a tech company that collects data on gas prices throughout North America. That’s about 7 cents less than a year ago before the coronavirus pandemic roiled the U.S.

But petroleum analysts say that’s soon to change.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Chronicle

California joins with FEMA to open 2 new COVID-19 vaccine centers, 1 at Cal State L.A.

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California joined with the federal government to open two new mass vaccination centers as test areas for new President Joseph Biden’s effort to create 100 such sites nationwide in 100 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The sites at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University, Los Angeles, will be jointly run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The move comes as California’s deadliest pandemic surge eases but the state struggles with vaccine shortages and bureaucratic headaches in a race to vaccinate its most vulnerable people.

The new sites are expected to open Feb. 16 for eligible people who can sign up now to be notified and will eventually schedule vaccine appointments using the state’s online MyTurn system. Both sites will be able to administer up to 5,000 doses a day, said state emergency services spokesman Brian Ferguson.

Continue Reading on KTLA

Behind Davis restaurant’s uplifting community support, a family grieves

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DAVIS, Calif. — In the wake of a tragedy, the Davis community has shown an outpouring of support for a family — and local business — in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine, a staple in Downtown Davis, has been closed throughout the pandemic. Samir Abughannam, better known around town as Sam, had closed the restaurant indefinitely after his wife, Sue, had fallen ill and later passed away from leukemia on Dec. 20.

Sue and Sam have run the restaurant together since 1995. Compounding on the substantial loss of a loved one, Sam was left with back rent on the building where his restaurant sits.

So, not knowing where else to go, Sam turned to the Davis community with overwhelming results.

Continue Reading on ABC 10

Storm goes relatively easy on Vallejo area

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A cyclist rides through a large puddle on Mare Island left by Tuesday night's strong storm in Vallejo. Rain is expected to return Wednesday and Thursday, but clear up by the weekend. (Chris Riley—Times-Herald)

A fierce atmospheric river storm rolled into Northern California on Tuesday, carrying strong winds and a fire hose of water that could deliver more rain than any storm to strike the region in possibly three years.

It started when the system hit the North Bay and began to spread south, which is where it left its strongest imprint.

Yet, the Vallejo and Benicia area received a relatively mild impact compared to other areas.

Vallejo experienced power outages and at least one downed power line, according to Deanna Contreras at PG&E. She told the Times-Herald that an outage due to a downed line struck at 1:15 a.m. and affected 248 customers on Redwood Street west of Valle Vista Avenue until about 4:30 a.m.

Another big outage occurred at 7 a.m. and affected 2400 customers at Columbus Parkway north of Regis Park Drive, due to wind and rain damaged equipment. By noon on Wednesday, Contreras said only 37 addresses remained without power.

Continue Reading on Times Herald

Northern California communities clean up in aftermath of powerful winds

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Communities across Northern California were hammered by constant and powerful wind Tuesday night into Wednesday, which left behind scattered tree branches, smashed cars and damaged homes in its wake.

On Portola Way in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood, Shannon McNerny says she and her family had a crazy wake-up call.

“About 3:15 or something it shook the whole house,” McNerny said.

A tree fell in between her and her neighbor’s house. The branches crushed her neighbor’s car.

“And I think she parked her car in the driveway just so it wouldn’t be on the street because she never parks there,” McNerny said.

McNerny says she’s counting her blessing as no one was hurt.

Continue Reading on Fox 40

Bay Area restaurants keep flouting dining restrictions. Are health departments enforcing the rules?

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While Bay Area shelter-in-place orders continue to limit restaurants to takeout and delivery service, a growing number are choosing to violate COVID-19 protocols in hopes of generating more revenue. Because of the dire circumstances, enforcing the rules has become a complicated pursuit for many local health departments.

Most local county health departments base their investigations into COVID-19 protocol violations on complaints they get from the public. Even when restaurants flagrantly break the rules and serve meals in outdoor patios in full public view, many local health departments are hesitant to issue fines and view the act of forcing a restaurant to shut down over its violations as a last resort. Instead, a common approach is to issue warnings.

There are some exceptions. A defiant restaurant in Contra Costa County, Incontro Ristorante in Danville, recently had its health permit revoked and was forced to close, though it had already been cited seven times for violating the county’s health order. The restaurant also had to pay numerous fines, according to reports.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Chronicle

Record-breaking temperatures in Vallejo

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The waterfront was crowded with walkers Monday with temperatures in the low 70s. (Rich Freedman--Times-Herald)

Ah, the perfect spring: 69 degrees Saturday, 70 degrees Sunday, and a downright balmy 78 degrees Monday.

Small problem — at least to the fire department — it’s not spring. It’s winter. Or at least it’s supposed to be winter.

Yes, it’s California. But Northern California isn’t typically 70-plus degrees the third week of January. The average for Jan. 18 in Vallejo is 55, according to weather.com. Monday’s roasting 78? A record, easily eclipsing 70 established in 1976.

“If we had a fire today, it would burn almost as aggressively as a fire in July,” said firefighter and VFD spokesman Kevin Brown.

The problem beyond “unseasonably warm weather,” said Brown, was the low humidity and winds above 20 mph.

“Numbers we usually see in August and September,” said Brown.

Continue Reading on Times Herald

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