Mayor’s Latest News

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s time to end the stigma associated with experiencing and seeking treatment for mental illness. This is especially important now, after nine weeks of sheltering in place. COVID-19 has increased stress and anxiety about our health, jobs and businesses, finances and education, restricted our mobility and created uncertainty about the future.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers these tips for coping with stress during COVID-19:

  • Pause. Breathe. Notice how you feel.
  • Take breakes from COVID-19 content.
  • Make time to sleep and exercise.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Reach out and stay connected.
  • Seek help if overwhelmed or unsafe.

If you or someone you know needs emotional or mental health support, the Alameda Family Services (AFS) clinic offers help for individuals and families via confidential videoconferencing or by phone at (510) 629-6210.

For 24/7 crisis support, call 1-800-309-2131. If circumstances prevent you from making a phone call, you can text 20121 for support from 4 to 11 p.m. daily. More information is available at the AFS website at www.alamedafs.org.

Domestic violence on the rise

Unfortunately, there has also been an increase in domestic violence during this public health crisis. The Alameda Police Department reports a 41.5 percent increase in domestic violence calls in April 2020, compared to April 2019. If you experience domestic violence, please call, or text, 911.

You are not alone. Survivors of domestic abuse can access housing assistance and other resources from Building Futures for Women and Children. Call their 24-hour crisis line: 866-292-9688. Find tips for helping a friend who is experiencing domestic abuse during COVID-19 at www.bfwc.org

Shop locally and carefully
This week Alameda County moved into Early Stage 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step plan to reopen California. Early Stage 2 includes curbside or storefront retail — customers may walk up to the store to pick up pre-ordered goods — from retailers selling books, jewelry, toys, clothing, shoes, home furnishings, sporting goods and antiques, as well as music stores and florists.

Yet even as more businesses are allowed to operate, “All Alameda County residents must continue to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings when outside their homes and maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from anyone outside their households,”  says County Public Health Officer Erica Pan, because the number of COVID-19 cases in Alameda County continues to rise. 

“When does the economy recover?” Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, was asked this question recently on 60 Minutes. He replied, “It really does depend on what happens with the coronavirus. The sooner we get the virus under control, the sooner businesses can reopen. And the sooner people will become confident that they can resume certain kinds of activity.”

This is why it is essential to continue practicing important COVID-19 precautions. We owe it to small businesses — especially food and beverage and retail providers who have suffered greatly during the shelter-in-place — to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus cases that could result in renewed restrictions. 

Alamedans rock! In Alameda, 71.5 percent of households have completed their Census 2020 questionnaires so far. County-wide only 64.2 percent of households have completed their census questionnaires, and this is the fifth-highest county rate in the state. (Statewide average is 60.5 percent). But we can do even better! 

Alameda’s share of federal funding for hospitals, schools, fire departments, public transit systems, housing assistance for seniors, Congressional representation and more is based on census results. Let’s not leave money on the table! You can complete your questionnaire quickly and easily at www.my2020census.gov.

Your collective actions have helped slow the spread of COVID-19. Don’t let your guard down and don’t give up! There’s too much at stake. Be smart. Be safe. Be Alameda strong!
 

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of Alameda. She can be reached at (510) 747-4745 or 
mezzyashcraft@alamedaca.gov