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Dear Residents of Menlo Park,

Your patience, courtesy and adherence to the shelter in place order are very much appreciated. We are living a new normal in navigating our day-to-day lives, where things are changing rapidly every day due to COVID-19. What has not changed, I assure you, is the City of Menlo Park’s commitment to your health and safety during this public health crisis.

There have been many additional measures considered and implemented to help protect the health and safety of all residents in Menlo Park and employees. Fortunately, our County’s Shelter in Place Order was one of the first across California, which started reducing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve. Governor Newsom also acted decisively by putting a stay-at-home order in place, with limited exceptions, throughout California.

COVID-10 has reminded us of the interconnectedness of all our lives and how we depend on each other to make it through such a crisis. As a reminder, do your bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Please continue to stay at home. Only leave for essential activities, food, medical necessities or outdoor exercise. Learn more about how to protect yourself at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website.

Access in the time of crisis
In these times, we as public officials have to quickly analyze complex information, make quick decisions and understand that these decisions have impact on those we serve at their most vulnerable time. A vision or perspective using the lens of equity must be included in these decisions. Challenging times are particularly difficult for people who have not reaped the benefits of our fruitful county or booming economy. For them, the limited access that existed before COVID-19 still exists today, and the impact is felt even harder.

Many residents do not have options to stock up on food and supplies. Others are worried about being evicted and may not be aware of the resources available now. Many live in an area zoned for much higher density without many resources, making social distancing strategies more difficult.

The city and county have made the following resources available to address these needs:

The city of Menlo Park has allocated $100,000 as emergency funds to cover rent, food and utilities. The city has collaborated with Samaritan House to disburse funds. Visit the Samaritan House website for more information.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors this week approved $3 million to seed a fund called San Mateo County Strong to support residents, nonprofit organizations and small businesses through this crisis. The fund will cover basic household expenses for residents, help local businesses avoid layoffs and stay open, and support nonprofit organizations that take care of our most vulnerable populations. If you are interested in donating to this fund or applying for economic help from this fund, visit their site for the latest updates.

San Mateo County has approved a resolution establishing a temporary, countywide eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent by residential tenants directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are my priorities as a Mayor in the coming weeks and months?

I will continue to focus on these priorities:

  • Proactive and regular communication – increased phone hours and video town hall meetings on specific subjects, leverage technology for virtual connections
  • Increased volunteerism, including with needed City projects that can be done remotely. We would like to put up a website with needs that the community can offer to help with
  • Early childhood education resources for in-home schooling
  • Moratorium on evictions for small business owners
  • Encourage all residents to participate in the 2020 census
  • Resources for health and wellness, education and life-long learning, families and small businesses
  • Updated emergency evacuation plan for each neighborhood in Menlo Park
  • Creating a council of churches to build networks within communities to share resources more easily
  • Listening campaigns in all districts with proactive community outreach and education
  • Virtual Office Hours including next Tuesday, March 31, 2020, from 10-11 a.m.

What is your personal responsibility?

  • Stay home. It makes a difference.
  • Check in with neighbors who live alone, the elderly and the chronically ill. Call them so they do not feel so alone, and be aware of who needs help so we can help them. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. We just need to learn different methods to stay in touch.
  • Stay informed by visiting our city’s coronavirus website

What is your civic responsibility?

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more health and wellness resources. I am very mindful of how sheltering in place is affecting all of us. We have come to a time where we need to rely, trust and support one another. Keep doing the things you’re doing to stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

In times like this, I am inspired by the human spirit and this quote from Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

InMenlo file photo (c) 2017

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Be on the alert for scams related to COVID-19 urges SMC District Attorney

Today, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe advised San Mateo County residents and businesses to be alert for scams related to the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, it is common for scammers to exploit the uncertainty and anxiety associated with emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic to take people’s money or steal […]

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Menlo Park closes additional recreation facilities, urges better social distancing

To reduce crowds at local parks and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City of Menlo Park is taking additional safety measures and closing all park restrooms, all public tennis courts and all public basketball courts. These new closures are in addition to the already closed playgrounds and skate park. These changes are effective […]

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Steph Curry to hold live Instagram Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci on March 26

Stephen Curry will hold a live Instagram Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, at 10:00 am PDT. The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will join the Warriors’ star  – and Atherton resident – to answer questions regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Curry is currently accepting questions via […]

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Schools will continue to be closed through May 1

Seven Bay Area county health officers, in collaboration with their six county superintendents of schools have made a unified, regional decision to extend school closures and student dismissals from regular school attendance through May 1, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. The safety and wellness of students, school personnel, […]

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COVID-19 clinical testing expanded thanks to collaboration of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, CZI and UCSF

Supported by an executive order from California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (CZ Biohub), and UC San Francisco (UCSF) are helping frontline healthcare facilities and local authorities better fight the COVID-19 pandemic, using their capabilities to increase the volume of local clinical testing. UCSF’s goal is to achieve […]

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Menlo Fire’s Pandemic Emergency Response Unit goes in service

Captain Paramedic Jason Martin and Engineer Carlos Carpenter became the first two firefighters to staff the Menlo Park Fire Protection District’s new Pandemic Emergency Response Unit. Perhaps the first of its kind in the nation, this unit will only respond to all suspected COVID-19 incidents in the Fire District. As a result, hopefully only two […]

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Menlo Fire implements changes to their safety equipment and procedures to slow community spread of COVID-19

With six personnel, out of just under 100 firefighters placed off duty in the last few weeks, until either their COVID-19 test comes back negative, or they are symptom free after a 14-day self-isolation period, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District is trying to navigate, prepare and prevent, an unexpected draw down on its most […]

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Changes in Menlo Park Police Department response to non-emergency calls

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, there will be some temporary changes in Menlo Park Police Department service. When you call the police for non-emergency calls, our officers may ask to meet you outside versus inside, or call you and take a police report over the phone. In certain instances, you may […]

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New neighborhood organization Park Forest Plus Prepare springs into action in response to Covid-19

Park Forest Plus Prepare, a new neighborhood organization dedicated to mutual help in the community, sprang into action yesterday, distributing 95 copies of the Citizen’s Guide to the Covid-19 Pandemic to residences in the Park Forest neighborhood of Menlo Park. Park Forest is an area of some 85 townhouses bordered by El Camino Real, Stone Pine […]

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With shelter in place in effect, Menlo Park focuses on essential services

Yesterday, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow and six other Bay Area health officers issued a unified order for residents to stay home and limit activity to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preserve health care capacity across the region. The order requires all residents to stay home and limit […]

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