Each day, our community is getting news about the Coronavirus, its impact, and what might be in store for us. In our update today, we want to share a few ways the City is adjusting to this new normal, as well provide information about resources available to community members during this time.
How are we enforcing the Shelter in Place order?
The City has received a number of complaints from community members concerned about businesses that are not following social distancing protocols or should not be open because they are not essential. There’s also been concern expressed about people who are continuing to use our parks despite their closure (by County order) on Tuesday.
We continue to educate the public about what sheltering in place means and how to stay healthy. When we receive a complaint, our staff members reach out to the business in question to discuss options and provide a warning. Police officers are making more stops at parks and providing education and warnings there, too. If a business or individual continues to defy the order, we will take appropriate action, such as issuing citations.
Petaluma Transit Adjustments
Over the past week, we have made adjustments to Petaluma Transit. We are now asking passengers to board from the rear doorway, to limit exposure to our drivers. We are also wiping down surfaces and disinfecting the transit fleet on a more frequent basis. We continue to run on a regular schedule, which is so important for our riders.
Paratransit service continues to operate as normal so that customers can travel for essential needs as defined by the Public Health Order. We have asked riders to cancel any non-essential trips.
Paratransit services are offered based on a person’s ability to utilize the fixed route system some or all of the time due to a disability. In response to the difficulties many in our community are facing at this time, we have extended eligibility deadlines for those who already qualify for this service.
Learn more here.
Help for Seniors & the Immune-compromised
The community is really coming together to help those most vulnerable to the virus.
For example, the City’s Parks & Recreation team is calling each participant in our Active Adults program to make sure they are supported, both emotionally and in terms of their ability to access food and medical care. Clubs within the Active Adults program, such as our knitting club, are finding ways to connect online, and City staff are working to support those efforts.
Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC)–which manages Meals on Wheels, iRide, the Senior Cafe, and other programs for seniors–is leveraging the power of its volunteers to make sure its programs continue. PPSC has also added a new program, called You are Not Alone, that provides daily check-ins for seniors and immune-compromised community members. To sign up for these programs or learn more, go to petalumapeople.org or call 707-765-8488.
Help for Those Who Have Lost Wages
Many businesses have had to lay off or reduce the hours of their employees. Parts of the proposed Federal Coronavirus Stimulus bill are designed to provide relief by helping businesses re-hire those workers or, if that’s not possible, providing unemployment benefits.
The proposed bill also has ways to provide assistance to those who traditionally do not qualify for unemployment benefits, such as independent contractors and the self-employed.
Details of the bill are still being worked out. In the meantime, employees whose wages have been affected should consider applying for aid from the State Economic Development Department. Independent contractors and the self-employed should use this time to organize their financials so they can apply for federal aid as soon as the Federal bill is released.
Water and the Coronavirus
In this time when there are so many fears about how Coronavirus is transmitted, we want to reassure you that your tap remains a safe and reliable source of clean, good-tasting drinking water.
Water served by City of Petaluma to customers comes from the Sonoma County Water Agency and is purified using modern treatment techniques to remove pathogens, including bacteria and viruses. Water is continuously monitored to ensure that it surpasses all state and federal regulations for health and safety.
More information on water quality can be found here.