Word from the Mayor

City of Alameda &nbsp&nbsp Mayor Ashcraft picks up some Ice Cream from Tucker’s on Park Street.

Word from the Mayor

‘A time to think and act anew’

Last week Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined six criteria for modifying his stay-at-home order; Alameda County’s public health officer ordered residents to wear face coverings in public; and the City of Oakland offers free COVID-19 testing to all medical personnel, first responders and public-facing essential workers.

“You’ve met this challenge in remarkable ways and, because of your behavior, you have bent the curve,” Newsom said, praising Californians’ response to his March 19 stay-at-home order. He described six indicators that will help him determine when and how to begin lifting the statewide order. 

•  The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed
•  The ability to prevent infection in people at risk for more severe COVID-19, including 6 million older adults living at home and those in congregate settings such as nursing homes
•  The ability of hospitals and health systems to handle surges, including adequate bed capacity, ventilators and masks. We must anticipate an increase in cases when the order is relaxed. Currently, hospitals have created excess capacity by cancelling elective surgeries and procedures.
•  The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand. This is particularly important in the absence of a vaccine
•  The ability for businesses, schools and child care facilities to support physical distancing guidelines
•  The ability to determine when to reinstitute measures, including the stay-at-home order, if necessary.

Newsom compared lifting the stay-at-home order to sliding a dimmer switch, rather than flipping a light switch. We will “toggle from stricter to looser controls” as more medical data is received because lifting restrictions too soon could cause a relapse.

“The new normal will be anything but,” said Newsom. Things will look different going forward. Restaurants will reopen, but with fewer tables. Physical distancing guidelines for schools and workplaces must be developed. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, he urged Californians to embrace these new ways; “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.

“Principles, not politics must govern,” said Newsom, adding that his decision will be guided by local governments, but informed by public health officials.

Got mask? Last week our county public health officer, Dr. Erica Pan, citing a steady increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Alameda County, ordered people to wear face coverings in public, including when inside, or waiting in line to enter essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies and at medical appointments. Pan emphasized that wearing a face covering is not a substitute for sheltering in place, physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing.

Neighbors helping neighbors: The City of Oakland has opened two testing sites in downtown Oakland that provide free coronavirus testing for healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers who provide direct services to the public, including grocery store and food-bank workers.

The site follows CDC guidelines of testing those who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. An appointment is required. For more information and to register, e-mail covid19testing@oaklandca.gov.

Join my Mayor’s COVID-19 Town Hall, Friday, April 24, with Congresswoman Barbara Lee to learn about the latest federal relief efforts and ask questions. For details, please visit www.alamedaca.gov/alerts.

I am proud of Alamedans’ response to all that has been asked of you during this crisis. You are stepping up to save lives! We will take each new challenge in stride. We are Alameda Strong!

Take care, stay safe everyone!


Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of Alameda. She can be reached at 747-4745 or