May 1, 2020

Greetings Friends -- 

Today's newsletter contains important information about: 

  • Shelter-in-Place changes starting Monday, 5/4 

  • Downtown Square & Former Post Office, Saturday 5/2

  • "Safe Streets" proposal during Shelter-in-Place, Monday 5/4

  • Q&A with Mayor Beach, Tuesdays @ 5PM via Zoom or telephone 

  • Seniors who need help 

  • How YOU can help!

  • Trusted primary resources for COVID-19 information

  • Emily's Take on "The The Big Picture"  (please read this far!) or instead, click here to watch the YouTube video in English or Spanish.  

Upcoming Date Highlights:

• Saturday, 5/2/20, Joint Planning Commission and City Council Annual Meeting, from 9 a.m.-12 noon.   Zoom meeting info published here.  

• Monday, 5/4/20: Burlingame City Council Meeting. Agenda posted here.

• Every Tuesday during Shelter-in-Place, 5-6 PM: Virtual Q&A with Emily via Zoom or Phone 

• Wednesday, 5/13/20, 6:30 PM: Burlingame City Council Annual Budget Session. Learn about COVID-19's impact on our City finances. Agenda will be posted here.

Coming this spring to City Council, dates TBA:  Lyon Hoag final traffic study report, Minimum Wage Ordinance, Short-Term Rentals, New Development Reach Codes.  

View our City Council meeting video recordings and review our agendas here to confirm the location, date, time, and detailed meeting content. 

1) Heath Officer's Shelter in Place Revised Order: changes start this Monday, 5/4 through 5/31:

Here is a helpful, digestible press release worth reading, plus a link to the new Order. Most notably, the following businesses may resume starting on Monday, 5/4, but not beforehand:
  • construction projects, as long as the project complies with safety protocols 
  • real estate transactions, but with continued restrictions on open houses and limitations on in-person viewings
  • nurseries, landscapers, gardeners
  • outdoor recreation has expanded to "within 10 miles of a person’s residence." It was formerly 5 miles.
  • some San Mateo County Parks

2) Downtown Square/Community Open Space Proposal and Former Post Office Development, Saturday 5/2, 9 AM

Please join our City Council and Planning Commission at our Joint Annual Meeting via Zoom or phone, click here for agenda and meeting information.  We'll discuss conceptual designs for Burlingame's future Town Square / Community Open Space Proposal on Parking Lot E, adjacent to the former Post Office. Representatives from the Urban Field Studio team (commissioned by our City Council in January) will provide an overview of the initiative, suggest open space concepts to consider, and offer examples of town squares and community open spaces in other places for inspiration. Sares Regis will also update the community on their development proposal for the former Post Office site.  

We will also discuss whether Planning Commission should receive staff recommendations on applications that come before the Planning Commission.  Read more on our meeting agenda.  

3) "Safe Streets" Proposal during COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place, Monday 5/4

City Council will consider implementing a "Safe Streets" pilot program to support safe pedestrian, cycling, scootering (and other non-vehicular activity) for residents by creating additional space for social distancing on select City streets. San Mateo, Redwood City, Foster City, Boston, Oakland, and Minneapolis have implemented similar programs. Read more under agenda item 10b. 

4) Virtual Q&A with Emily, every Tuesday @ 5PM during Shelter-in-Place via Zoom or phone: 

Hosted three so far, so please join me for #4! Weekly virtual Q&A with Emily on Tuesdays from 5:00-6:00 p.m. via telephone or video conference -- whichever you prefer. I want to be as accessible as possible to you throughout the County's Shelter-In-Place order. Each week you can visit my website's events page for instructions about how to dial-in by phone or join via Zoom video conference.  Bring your questions or comments about any City matter on your mind -- or feel free to just listen in.  You are also welcome to email me your questions or comments in advance and I will address them.  Help me get the word out by sharing this invitation to others who may not receive my newsletter.  

5) For Seniors Who Need Help

Call the County Office of Aging and Adult Services Hotline at 1-800-675-8437 for home meal delivery or other needs!  So far, they've delivered nearly 7,000 meals per week during COVID-19, with grab-and-go options available.  A new federal program coming soon will offer restaurant meals delivered for qualifying seniors who don't have local support from family or friends, and earn under $74,000 annually.  Call the hotline or 211 for more information.  Also, don't hesitate to contact Burlingame Neighborhood Network Volunteers by emailing [email protected] or leave a message on our City's (non-emergency) Community Assistance Line at 650-558-7204.

5) How YOU can help, and how you can get help: 

If you need help, here are a few non-profit organizations that are doing particularly amazing work during COVID-19. 

If you have extra time or financial means, please consider volunteering with a County non-profit agency, or donating money to help them.  Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19, however, unprecedented numbers of neighbors are experiencing extreme financial hardship.  These non-profit charitable 501(c)3 tax-deductible organizations need and deserve our support:

6) Trusted Primary Sources of COVID-19 Information 

7) Emily's Take On "The Big Picture" 

Thanks for doing your best to follow County Health Officer's Shelter in Place orders. After 50 days, I know we're all tired. And with the announcement this week about the shelter order extending through the end of May, many are feeling frustrated that the goal-posts keep moving. Understandable.  This is new territory for everyone, including our health officials who are working day and night to study this elusive virus.  

But we're on the right track!  While disruptive, inconvenient, and a hardship for so many, together our sheltering actions have flattened the curve, saved lives, and conserved precious hospital resources.  County leaders are optimistic that more sectors of our economy will re-open in May, in a phased, measured way that balances public health and the need to resume some degree of normalcy.  That said, we should expect social distancing, face coverings, and prohibitions of large group gatherings will be a part of life during the foreseeable future.  We'll continue to need patience and flexibility on the long journey ahead.  

As of May 1st, there are 1,233 confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County, and 51 confirmed deaths.  But these numbers don't tell the whole picture.  Until we have widespread community testing, we can't really know how many people are (or have been) infected -- so it's very difficult for Health Officers to make fully informed decisions.  Once our County receives these highly anticipated test kits from the State and Federal Government, our County is ready and has the capacity to test tens of thousands of residents as soon as possible.   

I am so impressed with the level of coordination and communication at all levels of our regional government.  City Councilmembers, City Managers, City Attorneys, School Officials, and our counterparts at the County, State, and Federal Level receive joint briefings and collaborate during standing meetings 3x weekly.  I hope you've seen the fruits of this teamwork in our communications via the City's e-News, website, social media -- and when you reach out to us personally via phone or email with questions and concerns. I also want you to know that our County is studying best practices around the world to make sure we learn from others' experiences, both good and bad, as we re-open our economy. 

Recently, our City Council allocated $1 million in COVID-19 aid ($500k for Burlingame small businesses grants, and $500k to help Burlingame's most vulnerable residents.) Our staff has cross-trained and re-directed resources to respond to the pandemic, like monitoring safety and social distancing in our parks, or helping local businesses.  For example, one staff team outreached to 340 Burlingame businesses to inform them about local small business COVID-19 grants available from San Mateo County Strong Fund, Burlingame Back in Business Program, FacebookSalesforce, and the Federal government.  In addition to keeping essential City services going, we are working hard to support our community in new, creative ways. Our professional City staff is doing a tremendous job and they deserve our appreciation. 

Stay healthy and please stay home whenever possible. Although County Health Officials have eased some restrictions, that doesn't mean life is back to normal. We also must comply with State guidelines, which can sometimes be more restrictive.  And the Shelter-in-Place rules apply to everyone -- short term pain, for long-term gain. That said, I have personally asked the County to update their Shelter-In-Place FAQ to include "reasons why" behind some of the more controversial restrictions, which I hope will help keep everyone rowing in the same direction. 

We will get through this!  Let’s continue to be kind, express gratitude, check-in on vulnerable neighbors, exercise, and practice self-care. Let's also remember to thank "essential workers" in our neighborhood who continue to serve us on the front lines, often at great personal risk. We salute and appreciate you.

Hang in there, Burlingame. We're headed in the right direction and we are are all in this together!

Warmest regards always,

Emily Beach 
Mayor, City of Burlingame 

P.S.  If you seek more frequent updates, keep in touch with me via my weekly Q&A's via phone and ZoomFacebook, Twitter, and my website.  If you send me an email message, I appreciate your patience with my reply during these busy times.  

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