Category Archives: Vacaville CA

Vallejo (and all Solano County) residents are welcome in Benicia’s library where masks are required

By Roger Straw, September 14, 2021

[UPDATE: County reverses itself – click here…]

Worried about Solano County Library system not requiring masks?  Visit us in Benicia!

Benicia Public Library is locally run and follows Benicia’s indoors mask mandate.

And here’s good news from the Benicia Library websiteVallejo residents are welcome in Benicia’s library.   Solano County, St. Helena, and Dixon cards are valid in Benicia.

Even if you don’t check out a book, it’s a great place to just sit and read a magazine or get on the internet!

Here’s from the Benicia library website about pandemic hours and masks: “The Benicia Public Library has restored regular service hours, and we are excited to welcome you back inside our building. Whether you want to use a computer or plug into our free Wi-Fi, visit an exhibit, borrow materials or just browse our bookcases, we are here for you. Please bring your mask and library card. If you do not have one, they are free.”

The mask requirement applies whether you are vaccinated or not.

Don’t go to Vallejo libraries! Bela’s rules favor COVID transmission there

…and maybe you should think about staying away from all of Solano “up-county” – Fairfield and Vacaville, Suisun City, Dixon and Rio Vista!  – R.S.

[UPDATE: County reverses itself – click here…]

Vallejo libraries immune from mask mandates

Face coverings not required for the vaccinated

Staff and visitors aren't required to 'mask up' at Springstowne Library at 1003 Oakwood Ave., since the facility is county-operated. (Rich Freedman/Times-Herald)
Staff and visitors aren’t required to ‘mask up’ at Springstowne Library at 1003 Oakwood Ave., since the facility is county-operated. (Rich Freedman/Times-Herald)

Vallejo Times Herald, by Richard Freedman, September 13, 2021

Seems vaccinated staff and visitors are granted asylum from masking at the John F. Kennedy and Springstowne libraries in Vallejo.

Both facilities are exempt from the Vallejo City Council’s Sept. 7 “mask mandate” for all public buildings, vaccinated or not, because they are “subject to the county and library policies, procedures, rules and regulations that govern all library branches,” according to Suzanne Olawski, director of Library Services in Fairfield.

In Solano County, only Vallejo and Benicia have mask mandates in place.

Vallejo Councilmember Katy Miessner and Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan said they received complaints from citizens visiting the local libraries after noticing some staff members going maskless.

An employee at the John F Kennedy library wears a mask as he reshelves books on Friday in Vallejo. Because the library is a county building, employees have the option to not wear a mask indoors if they have proof of vaccination on record. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

Hannigan said that she “received an email from a resident citing librarians were not wearing masks, some were. When asked why they weren’t masked a librarian stated that the county doesn’t have a mask mandate and since they were in a county facility they believe they are exempt from the Vallejo mask mandate.”

Hannigan said she forwarded the email to Olawski.

“The City (Vallejo) owns the buildings and contracts with the County for library services,” Olawski said late Friday. “Per the operating agreement, the libraries operate as branches of the Solano County Library.”

A sign posted at the JFK Library entry effective June 15 states that “by entering this facility without a face covering you are self-attesting that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” For individuals who are unvaccinated, there is a list of reasons they could still be exempt from masking.

Information counter staffers at both Vallejo libraries sit behind framed Plexiglas shields. At JFK, most staffers still wore masks. Most of the staffers at Springstowne didn’t.

“If an employee is fully vaccinated, it is optional for them to wear a mask at work,” Olawski said. “However, any staff member not vaccinated is required to wear a mask at work. Face coverings are available to any employee that requests one, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Olawski added that “the county’s practice at this time is masks are not required for people over the age of 12 if they are vaccinated.”

Anyone over the age of 12 not wearing a mask in the library “is self-attesting to being vaccinated,” Olawski continued. “however, there are individuals who may be exempt from wearing a face covering because of medical or physical impairment issues.”

Not good enough, Miessner said, already “deeply disappointed that Solano County Public Health decided the County didn’t need an indoor mask mandate, given the delta variant causing increases to Vallejo’s infection rates and hospitalizations. So I was furious when I heard the county decided they can disregard Vallejo’s mask mandate in Vallejo libraries.”

The library, continued Miessner, “is a place where children tend to gather and children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated depend on adults who are, and who wear masks. Obviously, Vallejo children can’t depend on Solano County Public Health. But I was grateful that Vallejo had the authority to act on our own.”

If the policy was up to Hannigan, “all county employees working inside buildings in any city with a mask mandate should be masked,” adding that President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate for public agencies and vaccine recommendation for private employers “is the right direction.”

“Implementing vaccine mandates for employees and contractors is the only way we will get closer to ending this pandemic and reduce the opportunity for new variants,” Hannigan said.

Vallejo Councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga said she “agrees that public and private buildings, offices and businesses should follow the mask mandate passed by the Vallejo City Council last week. This mask mandate is for the health and safety of our residents and everyone.”

Verder-Aliga said masks are mandated where she works at the Solano County Behavior Health Clinics in Vallejo and Fairfield and also mandated at the county courthouse in Fairfield where she served on jury duty.

The Vallejo City Council said it will re-visit the mask mandate in mid-October.

Because Benicia’s public library is not part of the county library system, masks are required for everyone, Steve Young said Friday. Any changes, the mayor added, will be based on COVID case count.

The county currently “does not mandate masks for vaccinated people in indoor public spaces, except for those venues where the state specifically requires, such as public transportation. schools, and healthcare facilities,” Solano Public Health Director Bela Matyas said Friday.

Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown sent a letter dated Aug. 27 to Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell and the Vallejo City Council encouraging the city re-instate a mask mandate — which it did — and noting that she doesn’t have enough votes on the board of supervisors to implement a (county-wide) mandate.

“I am in full support of a mask mandate in Solano County,” wrote Brown, emphasizing that “the science supports requiring face coverings” and that “the unvaccinated are filling our hospitals at alarming rates. Vaccinations are crucial to beating the virus, but so are mask mandates.”

Vaccination rate in Solano County? Dead last among Bay Area and nearby counties.

By Roger Straw, July 24, 2021

What is our vaccination rate and how do we compare with other California counties?

The numbers are always changing, of course.  And Solano County doesn’t report it on  their COVID Dashboard.  So I went digging.  Pretty interesting…

Los Angeles Times – Tracking coronavirus vaccinations in California

I went to latimes.com/projects/california-coronavirus-cases-tracking-outbreak/covid-19-vaccines-distribution/#county-comparison and scrolled down a bit to Vaccinations by county.

There you will see that as of 9:23am on July 24, among all Californians, 52.7% are fully vaccinated, meaning they have either received both shots of a two-dose regime from Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Solano County had administered 458,724 doses of vaccine.  58.4% of county residents had received at least one dose, but only 48.8% were fully vaccinated.

Our fully vaccinated rate of 48.8% puts us right around average, ranking 27th among California’s 58 counties.  Our one-dose measure ranks us a little better, 22nd out of 58 counties.

It’s interesting to compare Solano to our Bay Area neighbors: among the fully vaccinated, Solano ranks dead last among our 9 Bay Area and nearby neighbor counties.

Rank County Doses administered At least 1 dose Fully vaccinated
1 Marin 381,136 78.20% 72.20%
2 San Francisco 1,221,452 76.10% 69.60%
3 Santa Clara 2,655,770 74.50% 68.30%
4 San Mateo 1,045,079 73.80% 67.10%
5 Contra Costa 1,484,380 69.90% 65.10%
6 Alameda 2,127,975 70.80% 64.80%
7 Napa 178,871 69.50% 61.10%
8 Sonoma 621,710 67.00% 60.40%
9 Santa Cruz 328,312 65.50% 57.00%
10 Yolo 245,168 62.00% 55.10%
11 Sacramento 1,564,963 56.20% 50.00%
12 Solano 458,724 58.40% 48.80%

Only Sacramento County has fewer residents who have received only 1 dose.

And… vaccination rates by Solano cities and zip codes – Benicia at 80%!

I tracked down Benicia’s vaccination rate on the State of California’s Open Data Portal.  It’s complicated, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how I got there, but here’s the page you want: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/ca.open.data/viz/LHJVaccineEquityPerformance/MapView.  This will open a map showing the instruction, “Click anywhere to load an interactive data experience.”  You click on the map and another map that looks identical opens.  But this map is interactive – click the + (plus sign) 2 or 3 times to enlarge the map, and then you can hover your mouse over our Solano cities and zips for detailed information.  Here’s what I found hovering over Benicia (click the image to enlarge).

In Benicia, zip code 94510, we have a vaccination rate among the 24,819 of us who are 12 years and older… of 80%!

You can explore the map to see your city’s zip code.  But I’ll save you a trip – here are the Solano cities/zips I was able to find AS OF TODAY.  Note that these numbers are all higher than the LA Times numbers above.  I suspect that is because this data calculates a percentage based on residents 12+ while the LA Times most likely uses total population.

Solano County zip code 12+ Population Share of population vaccinated
Benicia 94510 24,819 80%
Vallejo 94589 26,451 74%
Vallejo 94590 31,869 70%
Vallejo 94591 48,466 71%
Vallejo / Mare Island 94592 830 86%
Vallejo all zips 107,616 75%
Suisun City 94585 24,994 62%
Green Valley/Ffield 94534 33,547 80%
Fairfield 94533 62,858 61%
Travis AFB 94535 2,546 18%
Vacaville 95687 59,036 52%
Vacaville 95688 31,725 64%
Elmira 95625 74 100%
Dixon 95620 18,303 64%
Rio Vista 94571 10,004 71%

Something is surely off about the Travis numbers.  Is the Air Base not reporting?

Interesting that EVERYONE in Elmira is vaccinated!

Solano County remains in red tier again – detailed data sheet

[BenIndy editor: This report does not mention Solano County, but it does provide a link to a fascinating, extensive and detailed spreadsheet:  “updated data from the California Department of Public Health”.  Clearly the State did NOT advance Solano out of the RED tier today.  – R.S.]

Amador County moves to yellow tier; Yolo County advances closer to least restrictive tier

This week Amador, Orange, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties moved to the yellow tier.

ABC10 News, by Chelsea Shannon, May 18, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As California moves closer to reopening on June 15, five counties have been allowed to loosen their coronavirus restrictions.

This week Amador, Orange, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties moved to the yellow tier, according to updated data from the California Department of Public Health. Tehama also moved to the orange tier in the same update.

As counties move to less restrictive tiers, businesses and activities within those areas can resume operations and allow more people to be inside the business or participate in the activity.

With the most recent data update, five counties saw case rates and positivity rates that put them in a position to move next week if their numbers remain low:

  • Placer County could move to the orange tier.
  • Yolo County to move to the yellow tier.
  • Plumas County to move to the yellow tier.
  • Inyo County to move to the yellow tier.
  • Merced County could move to the orange tier.

Yuba and Tuolumne county were in a position to move to a less restrictive tier last week, but their case rates rose to a point where they were ineligible to move this week.

Counties need to meet the next tiers metrics requirements for two consecutive weeks before moving tiers. There are only three more weeks of tier changes until June 15, when the state plans to retire the tier system. So, there still is enough time for more counties down one more tier before there are no more tiers.