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Resource Connect Solano can help.
Call 707.652.7311 or email RCS@caminar.org to learn how RCS can
help you navigate your housing crisis. Connect with life-changing housing and supportive services through access points across Solano County.
CITY OF BENICIA UPDATE ON COVID-19 FOR MAY 11, 2020 Solano County Amends Shelter at Home Order to Allow More Outdoor Activities and Protocols for Reopening Low-Risk Businesses
Benicia, CA (May 11, 2020) – On Thursday, May 7, 2020, the Solano County Public Health Official amended the shelter-at-home order to allow some additional outdoor activities and low-risk businesses in Solano County to reopen subject to specific social distancing practices. In accordance with the order, the City of Benicia reopened the Phenix Dog Park, the skate park and the tennis courts at Civic Center Park. The tennis courts are reopened with posted restrictions that allow for singles only, no spectators, and no switching ends. A complete list of restrictions is posted at the courts. The reopening of facilities is subject to change as conditions evolve. Playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball courts and the James Lemos Swim Center remain closed at this time.
The amended order permits “low risk” businesses to reopen as described in Solano County’s Roadmap to Recovery, and includes requirements that must be met in order to reopen such as posting social distancing protocols at the entrance to the business. A sample social distance protocol is located in Appendix B of the order.
The sample social distance protocol found in Appendix B provides a check list to be posted at the entrance of businesses that acknowledges that protocols have been met in the following categories: signage, measures to protect employee health, measures to prevent crowds from gathering, measures to keep people at least six feet apart, measures to prevent unnecessary contact, measures to increase sanitation and measures to ensure compliance to protocol. Under the order, businesses classified as low-risk are allowed to reopen if they meet and continue to meet the social distance protocols that comply with the requirements listed in Exhibit B of the order.
For any questions about the amended order, Solano County has a warm line to answer questions about COVID-19, including questions about whether a business or activity is considered essential or may reopen. Call 707.784.8988 or email email@example.com, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Gary Darst lost his job at Pläj in late March. The Scandinavian restaurant in Hayes Valley in San Francisco depends on nearby institutions like the opera, symphony and SFJAZZ Center for much of its business. When those venues went dark in early March, Darst started to worry.
“The thing about the restaurant industry is that you’ve always got a job,” he said. “It’s relatively safe. At least it used to be.”
First, the restaurant furloughed Darst for a few weeks in mid-March. Not long after, all 20 employees were laid off. Darst filed for unemployment insurance immediately — one of hundreds of thousands of Bay Area workers to do so.
But county-level unemployment data show the pandemic is impacting each Bay Area county in a unique way. Those with the lowest unemployment rates have also seen the highest increase in unemployment insurance claim filings — and vice versa.
San Francisco, for instance, has a high percentage of professional and white-collar workers, many of whom continue to work from home and receive a paycheck. The unemployment rate in the county was 3% at the end of March, on the lower end for the Bay Area, according to a KQED and Associated Press analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“It could be driven by the fact that you have white-collar jobs that have kept their jobs, kept their pay, and other workers who haven’t,” Sylvia Allegretto an economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley said.
Many Bay Area workers have lost their jobs, but the region as a whole is faring much better than the national average. The unemployment rate for the Bay Area as a whole was 3.5% in March compared to 4.5% nationally at the same time. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the April national unemployment rate at 14.7%, the highest since 1948.
While that number is alarming, Allegretto emphasizes the context behind the numbers. “We came together as a nation collectively to shut down the economy as we start to try to deal with a pandemic,” she said. “If I didn’t see high rates of unemployment I’d wonder why are all these people working.”
San Francisco saw a 31% increase in how many unemployment claims were filed in March compared to February. That could reflect the large numbers of restaurants and bars in San Francisco, which were among the first businesses to shutter after the Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order on March 16, Allegretto says.
“It can hold both ways,” Allegretto said.
Meanwhile, the eastern Bay Area counties show the opposite trend: higher rates of unemployment, but lower increases in unemployment insurance claim filings from February to March.
Solano and Sonoma counties have the highest percentage of workers in construction and retail, industries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they don’t account for expected increases around the busy holiday season for retail workers or seasonal fluctuations in construction.
Allegretto warns that it’s early yet to draw definitive conclusions. The April report reflects unemployment insurance filings through the end of March, just when the economy started to wind down. The full implications of COVID-19 on the workforce have only grown more acute.
Californians who are missing work because of the novel coronavirus can access benefits, including unemployment. Benefits are not only for people who have been laid off, they also apply to caregivers, those who are quarantined and workers whose hours have been reduced.
Some self-employed people will not qualify for unemployment insurance, particularly artists who rely on informal, direct cash payments or practice without a business license. With those challenges in mind, KQED compiled a list of mutual aid funds that distribute emergency grants to artists, creative professionals and freelancers facing financial hardships.
From restaurants and bookstores to dry cleaners and hair salons, small businesses are a big deal in the U.S., employing nearly half of the nation’s workforce. Most of these institutions, which were already operating on razor-thin margins, have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. And without major assistance, many simply won’t be able to weather their economic losses. This guide lists some of the lifelines Bay Area businesses can try to take advantage of.
Understanding the Economic Disruption to Benicia as a Result of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new obstacles for business, employees, elected officials, job seekers, and everyone in the Benicia community. The City of Benicia engaged Dr. Robert Eyler, PhD of Economics, to help us understand what this extraordinary event means for our local economy and our recovery.