Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Shopping, food & fun at Rivertown Small Business Grand Re-Opening Saturday

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

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Contra Costa County off state’s Watch List as of Friday evening

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Check marks indicate a county has fallen below the monitoring level for that criteria.

County health officials evaluating local data to determine any further business reopening

By Allen Payton

As of Friday night, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 website, Contra Costa County is no longer on the state’s Watch List for monitoring cases.

The state monitors three criteria, which includes elevated disease transmission with a case rate of more than 100 or a case rate of greater than 25 and positivity of more than 8%; increasing hospitalization of more than 10%, and limited hospital capacity with less than 20% of ICU beds available or less than 25% of ventilators available.

Contra Costa has fallen below the criteria which flags counties for inclusion on the watch list.

Asked if there had been an announcement about this new information since our county was included in the list as of Governor Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday, July 1, Contra Costa Health Services spokesman Karl Fischer responded, “No. Counties go on and off the watch list with some regularity, including ours.”

Asked if those businesses that were supposed to reopen on Wednesday would now be allowed to reopen on Monday, Fischer responded, “No determination has been made about changing the reopening timeline. We are evaluating the local data.”

A description of the data being monitored can be found in the Understanding the Data Being Monitored section. The data chart is updated and posted daily.

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Governor allows local governments to extend renter protections through Sept. 30, marriage licenses via videoconferencing, more

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, June 30, 2020 California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30. Currently Contra Costa County’s urgency ordinance preventing evictions and rent increases expires on July 15.

The order also addresses a variety of issues in response to the pandemic, by extending provisions in earlier orders which allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing rather than in-person during the pandemic; waive eligibility re-determinations for Californians who participate in Medi-Cal, to ensure they maintain their health coverage; suspend face-to-face visits for eligibility for foster care; and permit In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue caring for older adults and individuals with disabilities through video-conferencing assessments.

The order also extends waivers temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, allowing for self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility, and waiving in-person identification requirements.

In addition, the order extends provisions allowing for mail-in renewals of driver’s licenses and identification cards, to limit in-person transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and extends timeframes related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.

The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

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Hold that beer: Contra Costa to postpone COVID-19 reopening timeline due to spike in cases, although expected

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Decision on bars made Sunday; gyms, nail salons, bowling alleys, arcades, hotels, museums, plus massage, body waxing and tattoo businesses will also remain closed

As Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) warned the public of the possibility on Friday, they have decided to delay the opening of businesses and activities previously planned for July 1 until the COVID-19 outbreak in Contra Costa is better contained.

The county is closely monitoring recent data showing COVID-19 activity increasing in the community, as it is statewide and throughout the country.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended that Contra Costa County, along with several other counties in the state, not reopen bars. Contra Costa is one of 15 counties on the state’s County Monitoring List. The county’s timeline had previously cleared bars (with or without food), gyms, fitness centers, personal training, massage, nail salons, tattoo, body waxing and other personal services not involving the face, indoor dining, limited indoor leisure (arcades, billiards, bowling alleys, etc.), indoor museums and hotels for tourism & individual travel to reopen July 1.

When asked Sunday about the impact of Newsom’s recommendations, Kim McCarl, Communications Assistant for Contra Costa Health Services responded, “As you know, we released a statement on Friday indicating that we would make an announcement about our timeline going forward on Monday. That is still our plan.  Bars are not currently open in Contra Costa County. We appreciate the governor’s recommendation and will certainly take it into consideration as we determine next steps. We’ll have more tomorrow.”

However, Board of Supervisors Chair Candace Andersen told KPIX5 CBS News, on Sunday that “We were slated to open them on July 1, but given the governor’s announcement, we will definitely not be opening bars on July 1st,” citing contact tracing as one of the biggest challenges. “It is very difficult in a bar where you have lots of people interacting,” she continued. “Whereas in other settings, a workplace, even a hair salon where you know who’s coming, who’s going, where you can then alert them when they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.”

Asked if she and the board had the authority to make that decision or if it was still in the hands of County Health Director Dr. Chris Farnitano and why it wasn’t shared with all the media, yesterday, Andersen responded, “I spoke with Dr. Farnitano yesterday and he told me that while we were not making a determination about the other July 1 activities until today, he was going to recommend that we follow the Governor’s guidelines regarding not opening bars. Based upon that information, I responded to the media inquiries received.”

With the sharp rise in community spread and hospitalizations, it does not make sense at this time to open additional business sectors that could further accelerate community transmission. These businesses and activities will remain closed in Contra Costa until county data indicate that the spread of the virus has slowed, as measured by at least a week of stable case numbers, hospitalizations and percent of tests that are positive. Trends will be monitored and evaluated daily.

Decision Based on Statistics

The seven-day average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county has increased by 75% from June 15 to June 29.

The seven-day average number of newly identified COVID-19 cases has increased from 38 a day to 87 a day. The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive has also increased from 4% to 6%. This suggests the change is not simply due to more testing, but a true increase in community spread.

More Young People Testing Positive

We are also seeing a shift with more young people testing positive. In June, 55 percent of people testing positive in Contra Costa were 40 years and younger, compared to 38 percent for that group in April. It’s a sign that younger people are playing a major role in driving the increase in new cases and potentially infecting vulnerable individuals.

Many people who carry and spread the virus have no symptoms themselves. That is why it’s important for everyone to avoid social gatherings, observe physical distancing and wear masks or face coverings when around others.

Widespread testing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can safely reopen the economy. Testing is the only way to find out if you are carrying the virus and interrupt its spread. People can spread the virus without knowing they are sick.

While Contra Costa have seen an increase in the numbers of people being tested over the past several weeks, we highly encourage everyone who lives and works in the county to get tested, even if they have no symptoms.

This morning, CCHS opened its eighth community COVID-19 testing site at Kennedy High School in Richmond. To make an appointment for a fast, convenient, no-cost test at any site in Contra Costa, call 1-844-421-0804 or visit cchealth.org/coronavirus – online scheduling is available at most sites.

The following questions were sent to Board Chair Andersen and county health services communications staff immediately prior to publication time:

Can someone please ask Dr. Farnitano, with all the recent reopening and protests, in which many more than 100 people were in attendance and clearly not social distancing was not practiced, during the previous three weeks, wasn’t the increase in cases and percentages expected?

If so, then why punish everyone for the actions of a few?

Also, since the new cases aren’t overwhelming our hospitals and health care industry with only 38 hospitalized, today – which was the issue we were told from the beginning was the major concern in the need to flatten the curve – and we all know that cases will increase once more businesses are reopened and activities are allowed to resume, why the delay?

UPDATE: In response, McCarl wrote, “New cases are a precursor to increased hospitalizations. We’ve seen the number of people in hospital go up as the percent of tests coming back positive have gone up. The goal is to lower the percent of positive cases before they overwhelm the healthcare system. We do that by staying home, wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance and washing hands.

You are correct that we expect to see numbers go up. It’s the rate in which they are raising that concerns us. A month ago, the percent of positive tests was in the 2-3% range. As of this morning, it’s about 6%. Our goal was under 5%, the criteria for the state monitoring is 8%. The trend is concerning.

In the past three weeks, our contact tracers have identified only a very small number of people who attended any sort of large gathers. Small being low single digits. We are seeing it spread throughout the community so pointing to one group or activity gives others a false sense of security. We all have a part to play in stopping this trend.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Catalytic converter thieves hitting Antioch, region hard, local muffler shop offers solution

Friday, June 26th, 2020

APD photos of catalytic converter theft on June 11, 2020 in Antioch. Inset of installed catalytic converter cover available from Blue Chip Muffler in Antioch.

By Antioch Police Department & Allen Payton

Our city and the entire region are still getting hit pretty hard with catalytic converter thefts. These incidents usually during the night, but we had this one on June 11, 2020 at around 8:45 am on L Street near West 6th Street. Thieves seem to prefer hybrid vehicles (especially the Toyota Prius), but also target fleet and higher-profile cars/trucks (for ease of access).

Thieves want the converters due to the high levels of precious metals – platinum, palladium and rhodium – contained in them. When scrapped that can give the thief $375 to $850 or more per converter. The metals can also be made into jewelry and be used for protective coatings.

The unit on a Prius can cost $1,500 to $2,500 to replace depending on where you live. In California, due to California Air Resources Board regulations, you have one option only, the dealer. However, one option is to install a cover over the catalytic converter. Blue Chip Muffler in Antioch offers that solution and according to owner, Donnie Amerson, they just installed covers on two Toyota Prius’, today. They’re located a 802 W 10th Street. Call (925) 754-3636 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Visit their website at http://blue-chipmuffler.com.

If you spot any suspicious characters casing vehicles in your neighborhood (especially if they have tools and a hydraulic jack), please call Antioch Police dispatch at (925) 778-2441. If you have any information on this specific case, send them a direct message and they will forward to the investigator. Thanks for keeping a look out for your neighbors!

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Get your car serviced or repaired at a discount by Antioch’s top voted Auto Diagnostic & Repair

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

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Rivertown Veterans Thrift Store is open again in Antioch’s historic downtown

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

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Great deals at New To You Vets Resale Store Going Out of Business Sale

Friday, June 19th, 2020

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