Beginning today, San Francisco officials will be enforcing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew. Mayor London Breed announced the curfew, and said the National Guard was standing by, Saturday night after unrest broke out in the city’s downtown area. Earlier in the day, demonstrators peacefully marched through the city in response to police killing George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Protesters marched from the Civic Center to the Mission. They gathered in front of the Mission Police Station to chant and recite the names of others killed by police, then returned to the Civic Center. Later in the evening, storefront windows were smashed and shops looted around Union Square, and some fires were set.
Muni is running only a core system of buses with no rail lines in service. But around 100,000 people still ride every day. Cat Carter, interim executive director of the San Francisco Transit Riders, hasn’t been on Muni in months, but she and others in the organization have kept busy, distributing masks and thinking about the future of Muni as budget cuts and the return of traffic congestion loom. Carter said the pandemic has shown us how essential public transportation really is, and said its importance for essential workers makes it essential for society to function.
While San Francisco city leaders continue to resist long-term homeless encampments, another city 800 miles to the north is taking the opposite approach. San Francisco has approved temporary encampments to slow the spread of COVID-19. But in Seattle, a half-decade experiment with regulated sites has proved so much more successful at getting people off the streets than other solutions that officials recently voted to expand it fourfold.
The shelter-in-place order that has directed San Francisco residents to stay home except to conduct essential business will be in effect indefinitely, though certain previously restricted businesses will soon be allowed to re-open. Meanwhile, the city’s mask order will be expanded, now requiring everyone to cover their noses and mouths within 30 feet of another person.
The San Francisco Unified School District has announced that fall classes will begin on Aug. 17, and administrators are in the process of planning how campuses will function as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. They are challenged with figuring out how to keep students safe and make classes engaging whether they are held remotely or in modified classroom settings.
UPDATE 5/28/2020 9:01 p.m. Adds new details from city officials that substantially change story. Revisions throughout. Twenty-nine recreational vehicles leased by San Francisco to house homeless residents during the pandemic were never used for their intended purpose, an endeavor that may have cost the city as much as half a million dollars, a city official confirmed.
Every year, San Francisco Pride events bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city during the last week of June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which kicked off the modern LGBTQ movement. Pride Board President Carolyn Wysinger said Pride is an international event. “It's really becoming a destination thing. I had friends who were coming from New York, from Los Angeles who are coming from Louisiana, who come from Texas, who come from London, so people come from all over the place specifically to be at San Francisco Pride.”
Instead of celebrating milestones as they prepare to enter what a few months ago was the best job market in half a century, college students throughout the Bay Area are worrying about their futures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic wave of unemployment it has unleashed.
The morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a fire sparked in rural Northern California. It grew to disastrous proportions faster than some fire experts thought possible, and ultimately destroyed the town of Paradise and devastated several nearby communities. At least 85 people were killed, and tens of thousands were displaced. In the new book “Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy,” two journalists tell the stories of those who were affected, from the early hours before the fire took hold to the months of uncertainty in the aftermath. But while the ferocity of this fire came as a shock, it’s unlikely to be California’s last such megafire.
When Irma Villega and Manuel Pineda lost their jobs at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, they were unable to pay rent and had to move out of their apartment. They stayed with family members for a month but couldn’t find new jobs or housing. With no idea where else to go, they contacted their son, Kiva’s, elementary school and asked for help.
The coronavirus pandemic has cost millions their jobs, and that means many tenants haven’t been able to pay rent, landlords have had trouble making mortgage payments and other bills are also stacking up. It’s not clear exactly how big Californian’s debt burden has gotten, but one UC Berkeley study estimated that the rents owed by California households affected by the state’s economic shutdown add up to nearly $4 billion a month.
Bay Area health officers have been working hard to coordinate the region’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But as Mission Local managing editor and columnist Joe Eskenazi reported last week, that cohesion seems to have started crumbling. San Mateo county last week announced steps toward reopening its economy that depart from the unified strategy other counties had planned to employ. That break indicates a shift toward a county-by-county effort rather than a regional one, Eskenazi said.
UPDATE 5/20/2020: Adds link to city website showing some open park restrooms in eighth paragraph of "Hygiene" section. More than four in every 10 emergency hygiene facilities the city has set up during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve homeless people lack at least one element essential to handwashing, the Public Press found.
Researchers are hoping to learn whether and how the health of people who live and work near the old Hunters Point Shipyard, which was used as a toxic and radioactive waste dump, may have been affected by toxic materials. Journalist Chris Roberts reported for the Public Press, in a story titled "Toxic Metals Found in Shipyard Neighbors, but Source Still Unknown," that nearly all participants in a recent community health biomonitoring survey had elevated levels of toxic heavy metals that are “contaminants of concern” at the shipyard.
Some two weeks after a universal coronavirus testing mandate for nursing facilities was announced, 40% of the city’s nursing patients and staff have been tested, according to San Francisco health director Dr. Grant Colfax.
One of the key panels maintaining local government accountability will soon get back to work after being sidelined for months if the head of the Board of Supervisors gets his way.
Youth aged 16 and 17 could gain the right to vote in municipal elections if existing voters approve a charter amendment in November. City supervisors have introduced that amendment, and if it continues to see widespread support from the board, the measure will go to the ballot.
An estimated 3 million people work on farms in the United States every year to raise and harvest the nation’s produce. The meat and poultry industry is estimated to employ another half million. Working conditions in both industries tend to be harsh, and many workers have limited access to health care to begin with. With the coronavirus pandemic, these industries are seeing outbreaks. Civil Eats reporter Gosia Wozniacka has been covering working conditions in the nation’s food supply chain and how workers have been affected by the pandemic. Employer’s responses to outbreaks have varied widely, Wozniacka reports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many of us to turn to news outlets to learn more about the virus, shelter-in-place orders, data on infections and deaths, and other details from political leaders, public health officials and analysts.