Category Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

Benicia residents get phone alerts: 6-county shelter in place extended to May 3

Order does not include Solano County

By Roger Straw, March 31, 2020

My cell phone went off twice around 1:40 pm today with an emergency notice that our coronavirus shelter-in-place was being extended to May 3.

This was a little confusing, given that Solano County issued a statement just yesterday (on March 30) extending our Shelter at Home Order through April 30th.  ?Why would the County extend for just 3 days??

A little googling reveals that once again, a group of Bay Area counties acted jointly, exclusive of Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

According to ABC News Bay Area, “The new restrictions applied to six Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo. Those six counties, plus the City of Berkeley (which operates its own public health department) announced the shelter-in-place orders would be extended to May 3 in their jurisdictions.  Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties had not announced such extensions, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The new 6-county order adds new restrictions to what residents are allowed to do as they shelter in place.  Again according to ABC News Bay Area: “In addition to the restrictions put in place for the original three-week shelter-in-place order, officials are now requiring:

    • Funerals are limited to 10 people in attendance
    • Playgrounds, dog parks and picnic areas have to close to the public
    • Don’t use golf courses, or public tennis and basketball courts
    • When it comes to sports that require you to share a ball, only play them with members of your household
    • Most construction is banned
    • All essential businesses that are still open must develop “social distancing protocol” before April 3

What is considered an “essential business” has been expanded to include:

    • “Providers that enable residential transactions” (like notaries, title companies, and real estate agencies)
    • Funeral homes and cemeteries
    • Moving companies
    • Rental car companies
    • Rideshare services

Someone should compare these new 6-county restrictions to those covered in our Solano County Shelter at Home Order.  Please send your comparison to the editor, rogrmail at gmail dot com.


    COVID-19 charts and data – Bay Area Counties and California

    [Benicia Independent editor – This email was forwarded to me, and it shows important information.  However, I am unable to provide links to the “Atlantic’s daily tracker.”  The Atlantic has a lot of information on the virus, but these charts may be for subscribers only.  Many thanks to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson for passing them on to us.  – R.S.]

    An email from Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
    Subject: FW: COVID-19 charts and data
    Date: March 24, 2020 at 12:22:50 PM PDT

    Interesting data………

    Attached are some charts showing various COVID-19 stats. This data came from The Atlantic’s daily tracker.

    Regular hospital and ICU beds are required to be reported annually to CDPH. Positive and negative tests at public and private labs are also required to be reported annually. But the number of patients broken down by County is not readily available.


      Coronavirus CA: Bay Area hospitals to delay elective surgeries, limit visitors ahead of COVID-19 crisis

      ABC7 News, by Laura Anthony, March 16, 2020

      WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) — Bay Area hospitals have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis from the early stages and are still holding on, at least for now.

      While it’s not business as usual at any Bay Area Hospital, the head of emergency services at Walnut Creek’s John Muir Medical Center says his team is keeping up with it’s patient load, coronavirus related or otherwise.

      “We’re actually doing well,” said Dr. Russell Rodriguez M.D. “We have everything we need in terms of equipment for our staff and we have enough beds for the patients coming in, so we’re actually in a pretty good spot.”

      Like most hospitals in the area though, John Muir is cancelling most elective surgeries. So are Sutter Hospitals and Kaiser Permanente facilities in Northern California.

      RELATED: Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about the San Francisco Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order

      “We’ve been monitoring the situation since January,” explained Michelle Gaskill-Hames, Kaiser Permanente’s Senior Vice-President for Hospital and Health Plan Operations, Northern California.

      Kaiser has 21 medical centers in the Bay Area, each with it’s own command center.

      The group’s big objective is to keep patients who don’t need emergency or hospital care away from the medical centers.
      “Our message to our members is to ensure that they call before they come in,” said Gaskill-Hames, “and we really want to leverage tele-visits and video visits if we don’t really need to have a physical appointment.”

      RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Nurses, healthcare workers concerned about their safety as COVID-19 cases rise

      Some nurses in the the Bay Area have told ABC7News they don’t have enough masks, a vital part of the personal protection equipment. But most hospital officials we talked with told us they’re well-supplied, at least for now.

      “We have been careful in our use,” said John Muir’s Rodriguez, “But we are providing our staff with all the equipment that they need and we have enough to maintain the current functioning of the system without a problem.”


        Bay Area events you can stream during ‘shelter in place’ order

        San Francisco Chronicle DATEBOOK, March 16, 2020

        All public events, including theater productions, concerts and even movie screenings, have been canceled through at least the end of the March in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Six Bay Area counties announced a “shelter-in-place” order for all residents starting Tuesday, March 17, that emphasizes the importance of self-distancing and staying home. The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and will be enforced until April 7. It affects a combined population of more than 6.7 million.

        Still, while patrons may not be stepping in a movie theater or a concert hall any time soon, arts organizations are starting to share their work through technology. Check out our running list of live-streamed Bay Area events here.

        Editor’s note: Venues and organizations hoping to add their streamed events to this guide should email details to


        Culann’s Hounds: The band is offering a free live-stream of its annual St. Patrick’s Day concert from San Francisco. 7:30 p.m. March 17.

        Stephen Steinbrink: The Oakland-based musician and producer will be doing a lockdown live-stream set on his Instagram. He’ll be playing new songs, old songs, covers, and will be taking requests in the comments. 9 p.m. March 17.

        Thao Nguyen: The San Francisco based singer-songwriter will try to entertain your children on a live-stream Q&A, answering only questions submitted by your children or someone else’s. 12:30 p.m. March 18.

        Del Sol String Quartet: In lieu of the Pacific Pythagorean Music Festival originally scheduled for March 21, at Old First Church in San Francisco, the quartet will livestream a performance of music by Ben Johnston, Michael Harrison and Jung Yoon Wie. 7 p.m. March 21.

        Del Sol String QuartetPhoto: Lenny Gonzalez


        American Conservatory Theater: Ticket holders to “Gloria” and “Toni Stone” can now stream those productions, and as a bonus they get one week of access to the catalogue of BroadwayHD, ACT’s streaming partner. New patrons may also purchase streaming capability for a limited time; they’ll get a link to a password-protected site (though they do not get access to BroadwayHD’s catalogue). Both streaming options are available through March 29. $15-$100 sliding scale for new buyers, with ACT’s website instructing: “Pay the price that works for you, and when you choose your price think about the number of people you will watch it with.” 415-749-2228.

        Mummenschanz: Hammer Theatre Center will livestream “you & me” by Swiss mime troupe Mummenschanz. 7:30 p.m. March 16-17. $10. 408-924-8501.


        San Francisco Ballet: A taped performance of the Ballet’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be available to ticket-holders only. The company will share an access link via email.

        Smuin Gala 2020: The live-streamed performance for Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s annual gala, which was scheduled for March 15, is available to ticket holders only. The company will share an access link via email. The recorded performance will be available for ticket holders to view indefinitely. There is also an online auction open until noon March 20.


        The Quarantine: Virtual Open Mic: This two-hour live stream event will feature poets, emcees, actors, visual artists and other artists showing off their best work. Interested performers can sign up through the event’s Facebook page. 6-8 p.m. March 18. Participants can access this event on with meeting ID: 415-402-7164.


        Blow the Man Down: A film about two young women from a Maine fishing village, who cover up a murder, was originally intended as a simultaneous Amazon Prime and theatrical release. The theatrical release has been dropped, but the film debuts on Amazon Prime on March 20.

        Trolls World Tour: Universal Studios will be releasing this animated film to both live stream and into theaters on April 10. (It was originally planned to open in theaters only.) The price for a 48-hour rental is $19.99.

        Arts and Exhibits

        Monterey Bay Aquarium: The aquarium has 11 live-cam streams available to the public through their website. These include Aviary Cam, Monterey Bay Cam, Jelly Cam, and others from the aquarium’s popular attractions. 831-648-4800.

        Anna Wiener writes about her life working in San Francisco’s tech startup scene in her book “Uncanny Valley: A Memoir.”


        Anna Wiener: The San Francisco author of “Uncanny Valley” had a conversation with writer Robin Sloan over a City Arts and Lectures livestream on Thursday, March 12. The conversation is available to watch on YouTube for anyone who missed it.

        Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: The  Caldecott Medal-winning children’s author (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Pig series) is offering up daily doses of school-time structured fun for the next few weeks. Episodes air at 10 a.m. on YouTube daily.


        Thao Nguyen: The San Francisco based singer-songwriter will try to entertain your children on a live-stream Q&A, answering only questions submitted by your children or someone else’s. 12:30 p.m. March 18.

        Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: The  Caldecott Medal-winning children’s author (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Pig series) is offering up daily doses of school-time structured fun for the next few weeks. Episodes air at 10 a.m. on YouTube daily.

        Storytime From Space and Science Time: The Global Space Education Foundation is offering children’s stories read from space as well as educational demonstrations with Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason on their website.