Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the State and County have once again revised their Shelter in Place orders. While SIP will continue, it is being adjusted, slowly and carefully, to allow more activities. A few more businesses will be able to operate with safeguards, and local governments will be able to provide more of their normal services. We are looking at a ‘new normal’, as we expect COVID-19 to remain a health hazard for the foreseeable future, but we are doing as much as we can to minimize its disruption to our lives.
It’s important to remember that the relaxation of some restrictions does not mean that the threat is gone; the virus is still here, and we could very possibly see renewed outbreaks as we re-open. If we follow the guidelines that the State and our local health officials are providing, we can start engaging in the activities we have missed, but the process will be deliberate and, unfortunately, slower than any of us would like.
Council Meeting This Evening
Feel free to join me and my colleagues for tonight's meeting at 7 pm. We will be hearing an update on the reactivation of full Town Hall services, including those that have already been re-started. We will receive the Town's annual Housing Element update, and we will discuss a grant opportunity from PG&E to pursue additional wildfire vegetation management work.
Health Officer Allows Vehicle-based Gatherings
The County has issued a new order permitting certain “highly regulated” gathering of vehicles, designed to allow schools to host modified graduation ceremonies. It will be up to individual schools to decide if they will use this option, as they will need to submit an application to the Sheriff’s office. This order is specific to graduations and does not allow for parades or non-regulated gatherings.
At a time when some of our most important community celebrations are being disrupted by this pandemic, I am glad that the County provided a way for us to celebrate such an important life event.
Health Officer Plans to Align San Mateo County with State’s Early Phase 2
San Mateo County’s Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow says he intends to issue a new shelter in place order, later this week, effective on May 18th, that would bring San Mateo County in line with the early Phase 2 guidelines of the governor’s Resilience Roadmap: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/
The Roadmap allows for curbside and delivery activities for retail. Logistics and manufacturing, along with some other businesses, can open with modifications. Dr. Morrow expects to release the local health order, in line with the state order, later this week.
November election vote by mail option for everyone: update your registration info
The Governor signed an order this week, requiring that all registered voters be sent vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020, General Election. Anyone who may need access to in-person voting opportunities – including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, individuals experiencing homelessness, and others – will still be able to access a voting center. If you have not updated your mailing address in a while, please update your contact information here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/
Donations to SMC Strong Fund Relief Campaign Top $8.2 Million
More than 1,000 donors have contributed a total of $8.2 million to the San Mateo County Strong Fund, which provides grants to individuals and families, small businesses, and nonprofit groups impacted by COVID-19. The Town Council approved a $100,000 donation to support businesses in Portola Valley.
I realize that the ongoing Shelter in Place can be stressful and frustrating at times, and like many of you, I am impatient to return to our old way of life (starting with a haircut!). At the same time, I’m still amazed, every day, at the small acts of selflessness and community I see around me. To everyone who has donated money, food, time, or a few friendly words to their neighbors, their larger community, or to people they don’t even know, thank you. Be well and stay safe.
Jeff Aalfs, Mayor
Town of Portola Valley