The Weekly Roundup, March 27, 2020
Friday, March 27, 2020 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
How to Contact the City of Lafayette During the COVID-19 Emergency
Lafayette’s City Manager Niroop Srivatsa wants everyone to know that during this local, state and national emergency, she assures you that the City of Lafayette is committed to serving the public by providing essential services while still complying with the Shelter-in-Place Order. Until further notice, all City facilities will remain closed except for the police department. The City offices are being staffed virtually weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM and staff is monitoring telephone lines, email, and social media. Follow this link to find out the best way to reach us throughout the duration of the Order: https://bit.ly/LafayetteCovid-19Contact.
Mayor Anderson to Hold Virtual Lunch to Discuss Lafayette’s Response to COVID-19
Mayor Mike Anderson will be holding a virtual lunch on Wednesday, April 1, at noon, to answer residents’ questions concerning the COVID-19 emergency and how it affects Lafayette. Mayor Anderson will talk about how the City is responding to the Stay at Home Order, what steps we are taking to keep the City functioning, and how best to get in contact with the City during the crisis. We are still working out technical details and you may be able to ask questions during the virtual lunch. In the meantime, however, please send your question for the Mayor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “Mayor’s Virtual Lunch” in the subject field. You can join the Mayor’s Zoom lunch with this link: https://zoom.us/j/960889243 or use the one tap mobile number +16699009128,,960889243#, or dial-in at (669) 900 9128, and enter meeting ID 960 889 243.
Sign-Up Now for the City of Lafayette’s Latest Information on COVID-19
Right now is the time to make sure you have the latest news and information about what is happening in our City. The City of Lafayette is urging everyone to sign-up for the latest COVID-19 information for Lafayette residents and businesses. You can subscribe to City of Lafayette notifications, including Covid-19 updates, here: https://bit.ly/LafayetteNotifications. In the past 24 hours we have had over 160 new subscribers. If anyone you know has trouble signing up for e-Notifications, please have them contact Jeff Heyman, the City’s Communications Analyst, at email@example.com. You can also find the latest Information on Covid-19 on the City's website here: http://bit.ly/LafayetteCoronavirusInfo. Stay informed, stay safe!
Contra Costa County Portal for COVID-19 Resources
The County website www.contracosta.ca.gov is a helpful portal for information and resources.They have recently added an update on County offices and services, including answers to FAQs and Covid-19 Call Center information. Some of the new resources include:
- Emergency Food Resources in Contra Costa County
- Senior Support Services and other social services at EHSD.org
- How to report cases of price gouging
- How to pay your Property Tax by April 10, including a statement and FAQs from the Treasurer-Tax Collector
- Unemployment and economic resources for businesses and employees
- California’s new COVID-19 website
- State and federal resources with links to information, including the DMV, IRS, State Income Tax info, and more
Please continue to check https://cchealth.org/coronavirus and the County website for updates. Watch this special Q&A video with Contra Costa’s Health Officer, and also learn about the Health Services donation drive for protective medical supplies here: https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/donations.
Terraces of Lafayette Planning Commission Meeting Rescheduled
State and County Stay at Home Orders state that production of housing is essential and the City of Lafayette continues to process applications for housing development. The Terraces of Lafayette project is moving forward with the City’s environmental consultant, Impact Sciences, continuing to prepare the Addendum to the certified Environmental Impact Report. When completed, the Addendum will be published with the staff report for the next Planning Commission meeting, which was tentatively scheduled for April 6 before the COVID-19 outbreak. The target date for the rescheduled Planning Commission meeting is April 27. New public notice will be provided two weeks before the meeting. Learn more about the Terraces project here.
City of Lafayette Opens Virtual Planning Counter
While the City of Lafayette’s offices remain closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Planning & Building Department, beginning this week, will be providing services through a Virtual Planning Counter. Please visit www.lovelafayette.org/planning for self-service information including zoning, application forms, and staff contact information. To utilize the Virtual Planning Counter, which will be open Monday-Friday, 1:00-3:00 p.m., simply connect with a City Planner in real-time via Zoom at this link: https://zoom.us/j/699247459.
The Virtual Planning Counter is a pilot project that will run through the end of the month, and if successful, will continue as long as City Offices are closed. Planning staff continue to work remotely on application processing, long-range planning projects, and administrative tasks. Directly emailing a project planner is the best means of communication on a specific project at this time. For general Planning & Building Department inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can get all your questions answered on the new Planning & Building Department COVID-19 operations FAQ page. Check it out now.
Get Ready for Work on Moraga Road Next Week
We just wanted to remind you that the City’s contractor will be performing street maintenance for Moraga Road starting Monday, March 30, and continuing through next week. The work hours will be 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. All through traffic will be detoured around Moraga Road via St. Mary’s Road and Rheem Boulevard (in Lafayette), or Moraga drivers may wish to detour via Rheem Boulevard and Glorietta Boulevard/Moraga Way if they are heading toward or coming from Orinda. The actual road closure will be between Old Jonas Hill Road and Sky Hy Drive. If you live between the closure areas, please follow the directions of a traffic controller for access in and out of your home and please be aware that there may be a delay, depending on construction activity, up to 10 minutes. Thank you for your patience.
Update: PG&E’s Regulator Station Project at Reliez Station Road & Olympic Boulevard
PG&E is re-building and upgrading the regulator station in this area to meet a compliance requirement. As part of this project, PG&E is preparing to install two sniff holes, which will allow them to confirm no active gas is flowing through the pipeline while work is being conducted. This is to help ensure the safety of the crews and the community. PG&E is planning to install these sniff holes approximately April 1 along Reliez Station Road, south of Andreasen Drive and approximately May 1 along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, in between Olympic Boulevard and Hawthorne Drive
These locations have been selected due to the layout of the gas system. Each sniff hole installation will take approximately 5-6 days to complete. PG&E will cover the area with a metal plate once the excavation and installation are complete. These metal plates will remain in place until the end of May. Please note that no lane or trail closures will be necessary to complete this work. PG&E will also be able to complete work using existing easements and will not require additional permitting. Prior to beginning work on the sniff holes, PG&E will contact nearby property owners that may be impacted by this part of the project via letters and automated phone calls to make them aware of the upcoming work. If you have any questions regarding this planned work, please email PG&E’s Julian Lacson at J5LR@pge.com.
Lafayette Engineering Department Operations During COVID-19 Emergency
The City of Lafayette's Engineering Department remains in operation during the COVID-19 emergency, although City Offices are currently closed to the public.Engineering staff are working remotely, providing most services previously offered during counter hours, including issuing and inspection of encroachment permits, with priority being given to permits for essential work. For updates about ongoing engineering-related applications or projects, directly emailing the engineer or inspector already involved with your project (see staff contact information here). For general inquiries, please email TKain@lovelafayette.org.
Essential and emergency projects involving work in the City’s right of way will continue to be issued encroachment permits and receive inspections. Should you require an Encroachment Permit, please follow these online instructions: https://www.lovelafayette.org/city-hall/city-departments/engineering/permits-agreements/encroachments.
A Message About Our Parks & Trails
As we enter the weekend it will be very important for everyone to practice physical distancing, and only hike/walk near your homes during the stay at home order. Last weekend some parks, playgrounds, beaches, fields and other recreation facilities saw unprecedented use and agencies were forced to respond by closing more facilities and parking lots. Please view this video message from Parks, Trails & Recreation Director, Jonathan Katayanagi, and help the Lafayette Parks, Trails & Recreation Department keep the trails open by making sure your neighbors know to hike or walk close to home during the Stay at Home Order and always practice physical distancing. Maps and information about local trail connections can be found at www.LoveLafayette.org/Trails.
East Bay Regional Parks Announces Park Closures & Parking Restrictions to Limit
The East Bay Regional Park District has announced park area closures to address overcrowding and public safety. Additionally, park picnic areas are closed, and all group gatherings prohibited. The COVID-19 health emergency remains a serious and evolving situation. Last weekend, the Park District saw more people in parks than on a busy holiday. While the Park District hopes to keep parks and trails open, some closures are necessary to limit overcrowding and maintain social distancing. Here is the list of parks, developed park areas, parking lots, and entrance points will be closed beginning Friday, March 27, 2020, through Thursday, April 30, 2020. Trails will remain accessible on a walk-in, bike-in basis.
From the Superintendent: The Schools Report
The Lafayette School District will be observing its spring break from March 30 to April 3, as scheduled, but for the first time with a shelter-in-place order from the County. Our facilities will now be closed through May 1 but we expect student learning to continue during this time. The principals have been in touch with their school communities about our prior two weeks of supplemental opportunities online, and the new distance learning we will be providing starting April 6. We ask that you respect the shelter-in-place and do not use our school facilities as gathering places for your families or friends. We have formally closed our play areas at all of our schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. If you have questions about distance learning or school operations during this time, please send them to email@example.com, and for any spring break needs you may also use that contact information. The district office will not be open during spring break, but there will be limited staff working from home. Thanks for your constant support of our local schools, especially in this challenging time. Resources for families during the shelter-in-place can be found at lafsd.org.
Republic Services COVID-19 Update
Republic Services, our garbage collection service, would like customers to know that it has had to close its front office in Pacheco. However, payment drop-off is still available there through the mail slot, or customers can call the local Customer Service number for assistance with online bill pay and other payment methods. After this week, Republic will be suspending its Bulky Pick-Up and On-Call Clean-Up programs. This includes e-waste, appliances, furniture, and other materials that do not fit in a customer’s regular cart. They are trying to reduce drivers’ exposure and direct contact with such items until the COVID-19 emergency ends. Regular garbage, recycle, and organics pickups will continue as normal, and Republic’s local Customer Service center can still be reached every weekday at (925) 685-4711.
PG&E Customers Can Lessen Financial Hardship During COVID-19 Emergency
Pacific Gas and Electric Company is offering additional support for customers experiencing hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is implementing a series of billing and service modifications effective immediately to ensure the lights stay on and the gas continues to flow for customers experiencing financial challenges during this time. New billing and service modifications for impacted PG&E customers includes:
- Suspend service disconnections for non-payment and waive new service deposit requirements for residential and small business;
- Implement flexible payment plan options; and
- Provide additional support for low-income and medical baseline customers.
As a reminder, PG&E has never charged late fees. If you are experiencing financial hardships and have trouble paying your PG&E bill due to the economic impact of COVID-19, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
California Grocers Association Urges Consumers to Shop Responsibly
Widespread concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus have disrupted consumers’ shopping patterns and resulted in many folks purchasing more than they actually need. The California Grocers Association is actively taking steps to reassure consumers that grocery stores will remain open and that food and essential supplies remain plentiful. The goal is to encourage responsible shopping and we hope everyone will sharing this important information with fellow Lafayette residents. Bare shelves you see do NOT indicate a lack of supply. It is a temporary result of people overbuying given the understandable worry right now. Remember: Buy Smart. Don’t Overfill Your Cart.
A Message to the Community from Lamorinda CERT
First, if you would like to volunteer, Lamorinda Community Emergency Response Team (“CERT”) is not organizing volunteers at this time. California Volunteers has built a web tool to engage volunteers: https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19/ Individual Volunteers can Opt-In by registering themselves and search where volunteers are needed by location. We hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy. We have been hesitant to send out information due to the unknowns and uncertainty of this pandemic. Thus, we are going to be as brief as possible and tailor this message to you, your family and your neighborhoods within the Lamorinda communities.
If the illness hits many all at once, our health care system will be impacted hard and face potential shortages of beds and other resources. Hence the shelter-in-place orders throughout the state and country. This is a coordinated attempt to slow the spread of the virus and lessen the impact to the healthcare systems (i.e. “flatten the curve”). The State of California; Contra Costa County, Cities of Lafayette and Orinda and Town of Moraga are taking every step possible to do our part in “flattening the infection rate curve.” We are attempting to buy time through the "Shelter at your place of residence" orders so the 6 hospitals within the Contra Costa County healthcare system can manage the predicted increase of COVID-19 cases.
Our message to you follows the basic CERT motto: “Do the greatest good for the greatest number.” Simply stated – Do your part to slow the infection rate down. What does this mean for us at home and within our neighborhoods? Keep your situational awareness current. Get your information from reliable sources. Avoid the misinformation that is so prevalent on social media and in the press. Prevent yourself from getting the virus. If you do get sick – Contact your Healthcare Provider. Going to the doctor’s office or emergency department unnecessarily may inadvertently expose you or your family member to COVID-19 or other infections and likewise expose other people to whatever illness you may have. Encourage those in high-risk categories to religiously isolate themselves from everyone.
This is not a request for CERT deployment action. This is simply a neighborhood preparedness recommendation. Please reach out to CERT with any support and ongoing community organizational needs you may have by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town Hall Theatre Announces Video of The Cherry Orchard
Town Hall Theatre’s production of Anton Chekhov’s final elegiac comedy masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard, in a new translation by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, is now available to watch on video through April 18. Tickets are $27 - $30, and are available through the Box Office at (925) 283-1557 or online. Watch a streaming version of Town Hall Theatre’s The Cherry Orchard – bring the orchard into your home! While we had to cancel the second half of the run of live performances of The Cherry Orchard due to COVID-19, Town Hall worked with the licensing agency ICM Partners, and they generously allowed us to offer a video recording of the show for a limited period of time. If you meant to buy tickets and weren’t able to, now is your chance to see Chekhov’s prescient “human comedy” in a new translation of the playwright’s original 1903 pre-rehearsal script. If anyone could make sense of challenging times, it was Anton Chekhov.
No Donations to Friends Corner Book Shop
The Lafayette Library is closed, and so is the Book Shop. They cannot accept any book donations while the State and County Stay at Home Order is in effect, as they cannot safely staff the shop and serve customers. Please do not leave any donations outside the shop or anywhere else on the library campus until you hear that the Book Shop is once more operational. Remember (when the Stay at Home Order is lifted): "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"
In keeping with the State and County Stay at Home Orders, all face-to-face public meetings in Lafayette have been cancelled. “Virtual” meetings will be held via Zoom conferencing and other platforms. We will notify you of those meetings as they are scheduled, and provide agendas and instructions on how to provide public comment and attend those meetings “virtually.”
Photo for the Week
Here’s a great idea. Our Republic Services drivers are working tirelessly, day in and day out, to collect our trash, even during the COVID-19 emergency. How about making a sign to thank your driver? It would mean so much to them. It’s a great project for the whole family. You can either attach the signs to your garage or hold them out and wave when our indefatigable drivers go by your house. How about this example from Penelope? She really helped spread some much-needed cheer.
Video for the Week
Check out this video of Acalanes High School Staff and Students Sending Their Love
The Roundup is prepared each week for the Lafayette Community, City Council, and Staff. If you have thoughts about this week’s Roundup or a contribution for next week’s edition, please email the City of Lafayette's Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman. Subscribe to the Weekly Roundup and learn more about Lafayette’s publications and social media sites here.