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Daily Life

The Next Frontier in Social Distancing Covid-19 Battles – Restaurant Patios

As the weather warms up with social distancing shelter-at-home orders in effect until at least until May in the Bay Area, I have a feeling the next battle in social distancing is going to be the restaurant patio. Currently, restaurants can offer either take-out or delivery. Recently I noticed one city’s local email newsletter tout open restaurants. Some offered take-out while others offered both take-out and delivery. What surprised me were those that only indicated they were open. Surely this must be a mistake I thought. So I called a few of them up to see what the deal was.

I asked if I bought something could I eat it there. They said I could eat out by the patio if I wanted to. And there you go. They know they have patios, but instead of publicizing patio dining, they leave it as an unspoken feature.

My prediction: the first weekend with nice weather, restaurant patios are going to be semi-packed with diners eager to get out and enjoy the weather. The media will report about it, possibly with egregious video / photographic evidence. And patios will be forced to close. Just like parks, playgrounds and other outside public areas that people congregated to.

Have you noticed diners eating out at restaurant patios?

Daily Life

Why do Contra Costa City and Business Leaders Not Mention that Donated N-95 Masks should be in “Unopened Containers/Boxes”

Despite Contra Costa Health Services, the largest the county government department, noting on their advisories and donations page that any N-95 mask donations must be in unopened containers/boxes”, it seems like every other day I’m getting email requests from school superintendents, police chiefs, business leaders and other government officials imploring me to, “donate any masks or gloves”.

Why are county government and business leaders encouraging people to donate any masks without checking guidance from our county government? Is the official county health department responsible for managing the coronavirus crisis being too conservative in the face of an emergency, or are local government officials being irresponsible for forwarding requests without checking county donation guidelines?

Daily Life

“Play Structures are Closed Until Further Notice”

Despite the “Play Structures are Closed Until Further Notice” signs popping up around playgrounds, basketball courts etc. I occasionally still notice both kids and adults failing to adhere to the social distancing order in effect around the Bay Area. The signs do help compared to before. Does anyone else still notice people congregating together?

Daily Life

Broadway Plaza Almost Empty as Residents Adjust to Shelter in Place Order


Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek

It was rather eerie strolling through Broadway Plaza in downtown Walnut Creek over the weekend during prime shopping hours as stores were closed with the exception of Boudin Bakery for pick-up and almost nobody around except for the occasional dog walker. Oddly, the same pop music was piping through speakers as if nothing had changed.

Daily Life

Shelter at Home Order Issued by Contra Costa and Other Bay Area Counties

I’ve been harping about coronavirus since before it was officially declared a pandemic, with increasingly distressing news from around the world, and now it has come to this. A Shelter at Home order in all of Contra Costa and other Bay Area counties, mandating people stay home except for essential needs through April 7th, punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

From the FAQ:

Vulnerable populations must stay home. Everyone should stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. It is OK to go outside for walks if you are not in a group. It may be extended depending on recommendations from public health officials.

What’s Closed?

Dine-in restaurants
Bars and nightclubs
Entertainment venues
Gyms and fitness studios

• You cannot engage in group activities in person with others.
You cannot have dinner parties. You cannot invite friends over to your home to hang out.
You cannot go to a nail salon or get your hair cut by a stylist or barber.
• You cannot go shopping for non-essential goods.
• You cannot take unnecessary trips on public transport or in your car or motorbike.

Stay safe everyone!

Daily Life

Help for Small Businesses


Photo by Flickr user alachuacounty

As more and more restaurants, bars, cafes and shops are impacted by effects of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses and their employees are surely suffering as they temporarily close or limit their capacity in order to stop the spread of the virus. Thanks to a reader for pointing out that there is a special Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster program specifically for coronavirus, providing low cost loans up to $2 million which you can find out about here. Contact your local chamber of commerce if interested.

Another reader also pointed out that many restaurants offer take-out services so help support local restaurants by ordering take-out when you can.

Daily Life

Schools Close across Contra Costa and Beyond

As coronavirus infections and deaths mount throughout the world, increasingly stringent orders are coming into effect locally in order to maintain social separation among people so as not to overwhelm hospitals. Schools are closing for multiple weeks coinciding with spring break. Check out the latest Bay Area school closures here. Are there any schools remaining open round here?

With many people working from home with school-aged kids, I imagine there will be plenty of  families at home together which should be quite an interesting experience!

Daily Life

Say Goodbye to the Stick-Work Sculptures at Civic Park in Downtown Walnut Creek

When the stick-work sculptures made from woven willow saplings went up in front of the Walnut Creek Library at Civic Park a couple of years ago I knew they would be gone within two years, but driving by recently and seeing them missing, replaced by a forlorn dirt patch, made me somehow sad. You can still see the Hand of Peace sculpture and the recently completed colorful mural in the background towards the top left in the above photo.

Daily Life

First Local Case of Coronavirus in Contra Costa


Photo by Unsplash user Ani Kolleshi

How concerning is this? Step one for me is to stop touching my face!

From an advisory:

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has confirmed the first positive case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, involving a resident of the county.

The person tested positive this afternoon. Our County’s public health lab conducted the test, which is expected to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in the coming days. The patient, who is being treated at a hospital in the county, had no known travel history and no known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

This movie theater scene from 1995’s Outbreak makes me nervous: