Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Contra Costa restaurants, gyms, theaters must require proof of vax or COVID test as of Sept. 22

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

“How is it our responsibility to be the vaccine police!!” – Contra Costa restaurant owner

“the peak of the surge seems to have passed” – CC Health Services

We can’t give you an exact percentage of cases that can be attributed to restaurants and the other high-risk venues covered in the order.” – CC Health Services spokesman

By Allen Payton

Source: The Rutherford Institute.

Shades of Nazi Brown Shirts will begin next week in Contra Costa County as patrons of restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues will hear something similar to the phrase used during World War II by the Hitler-led German regime, “Your Papers, Please!” That’s because as of Wednesday, Sept. 22, by order of the county’s unelected health officer, Dr. Chris Farnitano, those types of businesses in the county must require patrons show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to enter, even though “the peak of the surge seems to have passed” as mentioned in the press release from Contra Costa Health Services.

According to the press release, “The new order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily due to exercise.”

However, the announcement doesn’t provide what percentage of COVID cases in the county can be attributed to those types of businesses, supporting the need for the order. It also doesn’t allow for those who have proof of recovering from COVID in the past three months, as they have higher levels of anti-bodies than people who have been fully vaccinated, especially those who received their shot or shots five to eight months ago.

The order was issued Tuesday afternoon in the following press release:

COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination or Test Required for Some Contra Costa Businesses

Contra Costa County joined San Francisco, Berkeley and other communities across the U.S. today with a countywide health order that increases COVID-19 safety in restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses where there is elevated risk of the virus spreading.

The new order, effective September 22, requires patrons of these businesses to show proof they are fully vaccinated to enter indoor areas, or a negative COVID-19 test result from the past three days.

Contra Costa has endured a severe spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this summer due to the increasing prevalence of the highly infectious delta variant of the virus and unvaccinated residents.

While the peak of the surge seems to have passed, data show the county’s daily case rate remains as high as it was last February. There were 15 COVID-related deaths in Contra Costa from August 25 to 31, and 20 from September 1 to 7, the two highest seven-day totals since March. Unvaccinated residents account for 95.9% of the county’s deaths so far.

COVID-19 case rates are about five times higher in unvaccinated county residents compared to fully vaccinated residents, hospitalization rates are approximately 16 times higher, and death rates are approximately 22 times higher.

“This order is necessary now to save lives, protect our overburdened healthcare system, and slow the pandemic enough to keep our schools open,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer. “Reducing community transmission of the virus now is key to preventing future spikes in cases from overwhelming our county’s hospitals during the winter months.”

The new order applies to businesses where people remove face coverings to eat or drink indoors, such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and to gyms and other indoor fitness facilities, including yoga and dance studios, where patrons breathe more heavily due to exercise.

The order also includes a requirement for workers in indoor areas of these businesses to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 by November 1 or test weekly for COVID-19.

To show proof of vaccination, patrons must show photo ID and their vaccination record cards from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), or copies or pictures of their cards. Documentation from healthcare providers will also be accepted, as will digital COVID-19 vaccine records issued by the State of California.

Visit myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov for a link to your digital vaccination, which can be downloaded on to your smartphone.

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for more information about this health order, or to find a safe, fast and free COVID-19 vaccination in Contra Costa County.

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Restauranteurs Respond

Restaurant owners in the county responded to the news with frustration. “How is it our responsibility to be the vaccine police!!” shared one owner who chose to remain anonymous.

“Kiss the restaurants good-bye,” said another, also anonymously.

However, another restaurant owner said anonymously, “We need to contribute to the pandemic to get better.”

Questions For Health Services

In response, questions were sent to county health services staff asking, “what percentage of COVID cases in the county can be attributed to restaurants, indoor entertainment venues and gyms, please?”

In addition, they were asked, “why not include what other countries are requiring for those who want to travel there, which is proof of having COVID within the past three months, since those folks have higher levels of antibodies than those who have been vaccinated, especially those who have been five to eight months ago?”

9/16/21 UPDATE: No Percentages of Impact from Affected Businesses

Contra Costa Public Health Services spokesman Will Harper responded with the following: “We can’t give you an exact percentage of cases that can be attributed to restaurants and the other high-risk venues covered in the order. Due to the nature of these businesses, it is not always possible to identify all the patrons who were exposed and infected by a case at one of these sites.  What we can say is that indoor settings where people remove their masks, such as restaurants and bars, or where they breathe heavily, such as in a gym, increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. As the order states, outbreaks have been documented in bars, gyms, and restaurants in California this year.

Currently there is no scientific consensus on the strength or duration of natural immunity after a covid-19 infection, or how reliably to measure this. For now, we felt most confident in requiring proof of vaccination. Vaccination is still recommended for people who have had Covid-19 to boost their immunity and protect them from a repeat infection from Covid-19. We have clear data showing that vaccinated people are more protected the unvaccinated people, regardless or prior Covid-19 infection history.”

A follow up question was sent asking what factors Dr. Farnitano will use to determine when this latest order will end.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Ascend awards $4,000 in its first employee scholarships

Thursday, September 9th, 2021

Company’s fourth location is in Antioch

Union City, CA: Ascend Rehab Services, Inc. awarded its first ever Employee Scholarships on August 26, 2021. In total, the Scholarship Program awarded $4,000 this year to seven (7) employees to assist them in furthering their personal and professional growth. Through this Scholarship Program, Ascend is investing in the growth of its staff by empowering them to learn new skills, resources, therapy techniques, and technologies through various courses and training.

“As our company has grown, it is very important for us to give back and support our staff however we can,” said SwatiShah, Founder of Ascend. “We are driven by a culture of giving, and I am really happy that we are in a place where we can do more for our amazing team. If our staff has the latest training, they are better equipped to help the children we serve.”

The decision to create the Scholarships shows Ascend’s continued commitment to helping and supporting its employees as they pursue their education and career and at the same time providing the highest quality therapy services to the communities.

“I’m very grateful to be chosen for this opportunity by Ascend,” said one of the scholarship winners Moises Meneses, M.S., CCC-SLP. “It’s great to be supported in furthering one’s learning, which in turn, will improve the quality of services we provide to the families and children we serve.”

An independent panel selected the winners based on the value the scholarship request provides to the community and families that Ascend serves as well to the Ascend team members. “I have learned to accept recognition, appreciation, thank-you and praise for my contributions, and grown in pride for the way Ascend treats its clients and staff,” saidElena Bunnell, OTR/L, one of the Scholarship Selection Committee members. “This is the first year of offering staff members scholarship funds for continuing education. I am so pleased that I was asked to be on the selection committee and hold each recipient and future recipient in highest regard.”

Ascend will continue its Scholarship Program each year and support its employees in their growth.

About Ascend: Ascend Rehab Services, Inc. is a purpose-driven company that prides in providing exceptionalOccupational, Speech, Physical, and Infant Developmental therapy services to infants, children, and school-aged kids. Ascend serves over 6,000 children and families in the greater San Francisco Bay Area through providing services in its three clinics, various school districts, families’ homes, and in the two pre-inclusion, community-based pre-schools. Ascend recently opened its fourth location in Antioch, CA, as well as expanded its services toSouthern California.

Please contact socialmedia@ascendrehabinc.com or visit Ascend’s website at www.ascendrehabinc.com for more information on its services and programs.

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Annual Rivertown Peddler’s Faire Saturday, Sept. 11

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

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Antioch Chamber launches The Chamber Cares program in September

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

To help local businesses impacted by crime

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce held a fundraising golf tournament over the summer to raise money to give back to Antioch businesses in a new program entitled “The Chamber Cares”.

As a Chamber that supports the community, we created a fund to help businesses during the most unfortunate and demoralizing times. Many of our small business owners work long hours and are worried how they can increase revenue to make payroll. Imagine at this point getting hit by criminal behavior that breaks the front window, steals vital tools, or causes unforeseen mayhem that pushes their entrepreneurial dreams to the edge of closing. The police get called but due to changes in state law property crimes are a low priority item and it seems that no one cares. The Antioch Chamber of Commerce and local Antioch businesses have pitched in to help and let you know that we care. We will show up with a check to help offset the cost of the deductible for all small businesses in Antioch- not just Chamber members.

Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and former Mayor of the City of Antioch, explained, “I was tired of showing up to places of business after a crime with sorry as my only offering. I wanted to do something more and so I asked the business community to donate. We were able to raise $15,000 and will be able to help 30 small businesses this year with checks of $500.”

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our lives, our families, our communities, and our businesses. We performed a survey this year of our business members to find out how they are doing and what we can do to help. We found out that 75% of our small businesses are drastically down in revenue with 20% likely to never reopen. Is it a surprise that their biggest need is financial help?

About the Chamber

Since 1938, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce has been providing services to local businesses to help them -and our city – succeed. The mission of the Chamber is to promote the Antioch Community, to represent and advocate for businesses with government, to help businesses to grow and to thrive through networking and educational opportunities, and to help create economic growth and jobs for our region.

For more information about the Chamber, its members and its services, visit www.antiochchamber.com

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Annual Rivertown Hot August Cruise Night Saturday, Aug. 28

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

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Thorpe blames Sycamore shopping center business, property owners for crime problems

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

Photos of Sycamore Square sign and shopping center taken and posted by Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe on his official Facebook page on Saturday, July 24, 2021.

Ignores councilwoman’s request for more officers; offers police overtime, youth jobs program instead; will hold another press conference Monday

“I’m prepared to declare this site a public nuisance and require owners to take the necessary steps to mitigate issues that make it easy for criminal activity to occur on private property.” – Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe

“How can they pass the blame to us? How can we take the law into our own hands?” – Quik Stop owner.

By Allen Payton

In response to District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker’s request for the city to hire four more police officers and focus them on the Sycamore corridor, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said he met with residents, business and property owners in that neighborhood. In response, he blames the property owner of and business owners in the Sycamore Square shopping center at the corner of Sycamore Drive and L Street and is expecting them to take action to reduce crime. In a post on his official Facebook page on Saturday, Thorpe wrote that he’s “prepared to declare this site a public nuisance and require owners to take the necessary steps to mitigate the issues that make it easy for criminal activity to occur on the private property.”

His complete post reads:

“Sycamore Square… ripe for opportunity but for over 3 decades has been riddled with drug activity that spirals into violence. I spent this week visiting with the property owner, store front owners, residents, and yes the people involved in illicit activities about the challenges surrounding this little strip mall.

On Monday at 11 am (in the parking lot), I’ll be holding a press conference unveiling a crime prevention package focused on taking youth off Antioch’s streets by providing them with employment.

I’ll also be putting the property and store front owners on notice, I’m prepared to declare this site a public nuisance and require owners to take the necessary steps to mitigate issues that make it easy for criminal activity to occur on private property.

Additionally, I’ll discuss additional police overtime for proactive enforcement, a partnership with Contra Costa County Probation Department and more.”

Thorpe is ignoring Torres-Walker’s request of hiring the additional officers and have them focus on the Sycamore corridor with a community, proactive policing effort. (See related article)

There is nothing on next Tuesday’s council meeting agenda about her request nor District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica’s request to increase the number of sworn police officers on the force by 2.5% per year until the state staffing average of 1.48 officers per 1,000 population is reached. (See related article)

There are now three council members who support hiring at least an additional three to four officers, this year, although the council on a 4-1 vote, last month, approved a two-year budget for the city without including any more sworn officers. Only District 3 Councilmember Lori Ogorchock voted against the budget. She supports including funding for more officers in the budget, as well. (See related article)

Barbanica Responds

From efforts to reach council members for their comment on the mayor’s proposal, only Barbanica responded before publication time.

“I’m in that neighborhood on a weekly basis dealing with property owners and a lot of them feel like they don’t know what to do,” he stated. “You have people taking advantage of the system. You have people moving out of the neighborhood.”

“It’s a situation where business owners are scared and reaching out for help,” Barbanica continued. “I think we need to be partnering with the business and property owners.”

“I know the homeowners in that area voted in the past couple of years to have a homeowners’ association special assessment to have gates and fencing installed,” he explained. “That was paid for by the homeowners.”

“Unless the mayor has information that I don’t, I know those business owners have been victimized as much as the homeowners and residents in that neighborhood,” Barbanica stated. “But if we can put more patrols in that area, anything we can do to add more patrols and more police officers in our community, I’m always in support of hiring more police officers. However, I want to hear the specific plan for that area.”

An effort to reach one of the merchants in the shopping center was also unsuccessful before publication time.

7-25-21 UPDATE: Quik Stop Owner Responds

The owner of Quik Stop, who chose to remain anonymous, reached out to the Herald and shared his thoughts and concerns about Thorpe’s proposal.

“He’s been out here at the property, the shopping center for the entire week,” the store owner said. “He came by with Councilwoman Torres-Walker, in the same car, which was kind of odd. She’s been out with him a couple times this past week.”

Asked what he thought of the mayor’s comments, the Quik Stop owner said, “that kind of caught everybody on the property off guard. How can they pass the blame to us? How can we take the law into our own hands?”

“Most of the people causing the problems don’t live in the neighborhood,” he stated. “But unfortunately everyone, here is affected by it.”

“We’ve owned that store since 1992. Actually, my father owned it back then. So, we’ve seen the changes,” he shared. “Back in the late 90’s the neighborhood was decent. It’s not as bad as it is, now.”

“If they declare it a public nuisance that’s going to cause more problems,” he continued. “The last thing you want to do is bring more negativity.”

“What he (Thorpe) told me, is if people who are out here causing the problems want a job, they’re to come see us and we’ll give them jobs,” he said.

Asked if he and the other business owners had agreed to that, he responded, “we never agreed to anything. This was early on in the week before he made his statement on Saturday.”

Asked if the business owners have an association or have worked together to address the problems they face, he responded, “we’ve tried in the past. But not everyone agrees. We signed up for the city’s Business Watch. We’ve been very cooperative with the police, any time they need help or information. Any kind of (security camera) footage they need.”

“We even have vendors that are very hesitant to even deliver to our businesses,” he explained. “That Sycamore Drive is famous for the wrong reasons.”

“They need to focus on hiring more police if they want it moving in the right direction,” he continued. “They just want to pass the blame onto others, the business owners, which is ridiculous. Our businesses suffer when the problems occur.”

“We’re constantly calling dispatch letting them know we have 30 people out here, shooting dice, etc,” said the convenient store owner. “Sometimes, depending on how busy they are, we have to call several times, and they say they’ll send an officer. But when they roll up the people out here, scatter.”

“The police officers get frustrated with the DA not prosecuting. I’ve come across great officers. But their hands are tied,” he stated. “The DA doesn’t want to do anything. They book them then an hour later they’re right back outside, again. We’ve seen this.”

“I just want to find out what the mayor’s plan is. It was unfair that he wants to pass on the blame to the business owners. It’s not the right thing to do,” he reiterated. “What are we supposed to do?”

Please check back later for any additional updates to this report.

 

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TreVista Antioch Senior Living to hold Open House July 22

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

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Business networking event in Antioch Saturday evening July 10th

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

M.I.S.C. Enterprises LLC was founded in 2020 by Amanda Doss, Eva P. Dangerfield and Michelle Mayers in the East Contra Costa County (Bay Area, California.)

M.I.S.C.’s mission is to motivate, inspire and service communities by providing event spaces to support community networking and recreational activities as well as by collaborating with various professionals to provide educational workshops to youth and adults.

M.I.S.C.’s is a 100% women-run and black & brown owned business in which it’s founders are three creative and professional women whom collectively have extensive experience in finance, behavioral health, education, and community service.

For more information visit www.miscenterprisesllc.com.

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