September 9, 2020
An Open Letter to Our Livermore Community,
We, your City Council, have been working with City staff and community members on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and would like to share an update on those efforts and our thoughts about moving forward.
As we enter the sixth month of the pandemic, it is evident that our Livermore community is resilient. We have seen inspiring examples of that resilience — from businesses creatively altering operations to keep their customers and staff safe, to residents stepping up to help their neighbors in need. Yes, everyone is wondering, “When will all of this be over?” We wish we had the answer to that question. What we do know is that we all need to work together to get this virus under control. Alameda County falls into the Purple (Widespread) tier of the State’s new Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning the disease is considered to be widespread in our county. Being on this tier affects our path forward. To move to a less restrictive tier, we need to bring down our case rate and that means we all need to do our part. Wearing a face covering, washing our hands, and maintaining social distancing are all important measures that each of us can take, and that experts say each of us must take, to minimize the spread of the virus. We need to do this before schools and additional businesses will be allowed to resume more normal operations.
The entire Livermore community has experienced hardships caused by COVID-19 and the effects are different for everyone. To offer some financial relief to our community, we authorized a moratorium on evictions back in March and have continually extended it as the Shelter in Place remains. Governor Newsom recently signed the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 into law. This Act offers eviction protections through January 31, 2021 to residential tenants with COVID-19 related financial hardships.
For the public’s health and safety, and to help lower Livermore’s case rate, the City has stepped up enforcement of face coverings, concentrating on the downtown area. City staff are present to provide face coverings to those without one, and to date, no citations have been issued. We hope to see this positively reflected in the data.
Unfortunately, our local businesses have been severely impacted by this emergency. We are working with our business community and our partners at the Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce and Livermore Downtown Inc. to address their needs. Many businesses have adapted operations to align with County requirements for safely providing services. Some of the ways the City has supported the business community during this time is through a no-cost outdoor permit program and a new citywide small business assistance grant program. The grant program offers financial relief to our local merchants for COVID-related expenses. Since we do not yet know when we will return to more normal operations, we ask our community to continue to show appreciation for our businesses. Shop in person or online, dine outdoors, order takeout, and buy gift cards for later use.
While we eagerly await the day when this emergency is over, City operations continue. City staff are working to ensure the community’s needs are being met. Our library is distributing books safely into the hands of community members through curbside service. Stockmen’s Park adds much anticipated new open space in our downtown and we are excited about its dedication and the fulfillment of a promise 58 years in the making. We have made progress on our strategies for addressing homelessness in our community by providing units for homeless households in the Chestnut Square Senior and Chestnut Square Family housing projects, and by obtaining funding for a tiny homes project for our unsheltered neighbors in partnership with Supervisor Haggerty and CrossWinds Church. These are just some of the projects accomplished, despite the pandemic, while also prioritizing the public’s safety, maintaining the City’s infrastructure, and working within a balanced City budget.
We will undoubtedly face more challenges as the situation is dynamic with many unknowns. The SCU Lightning Complex fire is a recent example of this. Our firefighters courageously battled to protect lives and property and to bring the fire under control. Despite the challenges, we know that Livermore is strong, and we will get through this if we continue to work together.
Please visit the City’s website (www.cityoflivermore.net/covid-19) and follow the City on social media for the latest information related to COVID-19 and other City developments.
Your Livermore City Council