Alameda Must Rise to the Challenge — Again

Alameda Must Rise to the Challenge — Again

City under restrictive Purple Tier

Last Monday, Nov. 16, the California Department of Public Health moved Alameda County and 40 other counties into the most restrictive Purple Tier of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy because the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in these counties continue to increase daily.

California is taking this action now to avoid outcomes that other states and countries are experiencing, with health care systems being overwhelmed and death rates rising. Colleen Chawla, Director of Alameda County Health Care Services Agency reminds us that, “Acting quickly and aggressively will help save lives.”

Under these new restrictions restaurants can only operate outdoors and for take-out and delivery, indoor retail is limited to 25% capacity, and movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers can only operate outdoors.

To learn how you can support our struggling local businesses during these challenging times, including hearing directly from small business owners, the introduction of the “Alameda e-card,” and how you can participate in Alameda’s Spend Local campaign and get a goodie bag, please join my Mayor’s Town Hall tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 20 at noon visit to learn more.

Giving Thanks Safely: Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays are arriving in the midst of this uptick in COVID-19 cases. College students are also returning home, and some may be bringing COVID-19 back with them. This is why we must continue to exercise caution.

We know that COVID-19 spreads when people from different households mix with each other, especially when indoors without masks.

So, please follow this guidance from public health officials: Keep any gathering small (no more than 12 people in your “pod”), short — 2 hours maximum, and well-ventilated — outdoors, if possible or indoors with windows open to provide good air circulation.

Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Public Health Officer advises, “Stay home for the holidays, wear face masks, maintain at least 6 feet of distance, wash your hands frequently, and get your flu shot.”
Alamedans did an outstanding job celebrating Halloween safely this year by foregoing trick-or-treating. We can do the same with Thanksgiving.

Pay attention to mental health, too: Kale Jenks, Psy.D., School-Based Services Program Director for Alameda Family Services reminds us to stay socially connected while maintaining physical distance because mental health is as important as physical health.

Dr. Jenks notes that holidays often give rise to difficult emotions, including grief, anger, anxiety and stress that may be intensified by the impacts of coping with a pandemic.

He recommends paying attention to your feelings, finding ways to connect with others (send “snail mail,” schedule Zoom or video chats with family and friends, group watch a movie from different households), establishing boundaries to maintain work/life balance, and taking time for self-care.

It also helps to practice gratitude, remembering what you’re thankful for during these challenging times. And seek help when needed. You can find a variety of mental health resources at or by phoning (510) 629-6210.

More mental health advice from Dr. Jenks, as well as information about COVID-19 testing from Alameda County Public Health physician Dr. Jocelyn Freeman Garrick were provided on my November 13 Mayor’s Town Hall at

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for our compassionate, caring community.

You have sacrificed to protect yourselves and others from COVID-19, while also helping those in need. I am grateful to know that effective COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon that will soon help us emerge from these incredibly difficult times.

I wish you and your families a Happy, Safe Thanksgiving!

Be safe. Be smart. Be grateful. Be Alameda Strong!

Marilyn Ezzy Ashrcraft is the mayor of Alameda.