A new sign recently sprouted around downtown Walnut Creek exclaiming “WE’RE OPEN – Support Walnut Creek Businesses” and it looks like thanks to the nice weather and quarantine exhaustion, more and more people are venturing out. Both Lottie’s and San Francisco Creamery had lines with people looking to get their ice cream fix outside. This is definitely the busiest I ‘ve seen downtown Walnut Creek since the quarantine began in a couple of months ago.
In order to flatten the curve over the coronavirus pandemic, shelter-in-place orders with specific rules were put in place a couple of months ago. The order is being loosened slightly but indoor services provided by salons such as haircuts are still not permitted. Yet, as I was strolling in downtown Walnut Creek recently, I saw one barber giving a haircut to another person with yet another person, all on the older side, sitting inside. None of them were wearing masks. As I peered through the window incredulously, the barber came outside and told me he was giving a haircut to his friend.
Although this happened in the open, I’m sure this must be happening elsewhere in a more private setting. Should barbers and other salons be exempt from the Bay Area shelter-in-place orders?
It seems like every time I visit Safeway and elsewhere, a new rule is in effect to combat the spread of the coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the above photo you can see ONE WAY signs alternating directions each aisle. I waited for a cashier at the end of one aisle and another shopper told me she thought the signs were for waiting in line, but based on the wording “remember to stay 2 carts apart”, they are an attempt to force social separation which is pretty hard especially if the shopper in front of you is spending an inordinate amount of time mid-aisle and you want to pass to get something further down the aisle.
It’s interesting to compare and contrast different shopping centers and restaurants around town. Here you can see the benches at Plaza Escuela in downtown Walnut Creek have been wrapped in caution tape with a note stating that, “due to the recent health crisis and mandates from the local authorities, this area is temporarily closed until further notice”, while a few blocks away at Broadway Plaza the benches are open and this weekend were occupied by the most amount of people I have ever seen since the shelter in place order went into effect last month. Within Plaza Escuela itself you can the patio tables at Chipotle in the background are publicly available and many times occupied.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Moraga Commons Park closed playgrounds, the skate park and recently removed the basketball hoops. However, the volleyball nets are up, even though it’s closed according to the town website. Almost every time I walk by I see people playing. Why go to the trouble of removing the basketball hoops a short distance away but leave the volleyball nets up?
It’s interesting to read the different messages retail stores have posted about closing for the coronavirus pandemic. Most post that they are “closed until further notice”. For some reason a few stores post reopening dates. Considering nobody knows when stores will be reopening there’s no point in adding a date when you’ll reopen.
Recently, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Emeryville eliminated the need for pedestrians to press buttons when crossing crosswalks. Should Walnut Creek and other nearby East Bay cities implement this as well? On the one hand people can use their elbows to press the button, on the other hand, anything that can be done to minimize touching common surfaces would help in the fight against coronavirus.
Local Walnut Creek residents Mike Wooldridge and his son Griffin Wooldridge helped design and make face shields as part of the Open Source Shield project which can be seen here. So far this week they’ve delivered face shields to Contra Costa Health Services, Carlton Senior Living and Hospice East Bay. “The design is based on existing face shields used in hospitals but employs materials that are easily obtained online or at a hardware store.” It’s good to see local residents helping out during the pandemic!