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Mayor’s update: Stay calm, stay in control, stay strong Paso Robles 

steve martin paso robles

Mayor Steve Martin in firefighting gear.

Column by Steven W. Martin, Mayor of Paso Robles

March 14, 2020 

–As promised, I am increasing the frequency of this Mayor’s Blog to bring you the latest information about issues associated with the nation-wide effort to blunt the spread of COVID-19 (Coronoavirus).

In compliance with Governor Newsom’s recent executive order, many organizations are canceling or delaying gatherings and events. The City of Paso Robles has also taken action. You can track the impacts on city activities on the city’s website. Other organizations are posting information on their websites. This Tuesday, March 17, our Emergency Services Department will present an update on the city’s preparedness during our regular City Council meeting (6:30 p.m., Community Room, 1000 Spring Street.) The meeting will be streamed over the Internet so citizens can listen at home or on their smartphones.

The Governor has also directed that all Californians over the age of 65 self-isolate to reduce the transmission of the virus. Non-essential city personnel will be affected as will the Mayor and City Council members. I have notified City staff that I will comply to the extent it does not interfere with my responsibility to inform and protect the public. The Paso Robles Police Department will respond to non-emergency calls by telephone, or residents can file online police reports at Measures are being taken to insure that public safety personnel levels are maintained. All Paso Robles residents are requested to support this measure until this crisis is past.

The Governor has also directed that “deep social distancing” be initiated. He has asked for closure of bars, wineries, night clubs, and brewpubs, and called for restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half.

We have been informed that the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in our county; one in the North County and one in the South County. Undoubtedly more will emerge, making it all the more necessary for all of us to do what we can to protect ourselves and slow the spread of the virus.

The theme I hear repeatedly from the public regarding COVID-19 is one of confusion. Consistent, reliable information is the best offense against this confusion and, by extension, against the disease itself. So, let’s get informed.

As I said in my last blog, your most reliable source of information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When in doubt, compare anything you may have heard “on the street” to the information at For information about local efforts, visit the SLO County Public Health information page. There’s a lot of good information there, but if we don’t use it, it doesn’t do us any good. I’ve boiled down everything I’ve read into a three-point personal action plan.


It’s difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a constant six-foot separation from those around us. I am resolving, however, to be mindful of how close I am to others and maintain greater separation than I have in the past. A lot of us are chuckling about elbow-touching and fist-banging instead of automatically shaking hands. I usually shake a lot of hands. I will be chuckling and elbow-touching and fist-banging. Let’s enjoy the humor and maintain personal distance.


Again, we laugh about constantly washing our hands and singing “Happy Birthday” twice as we do it. I will be laughing and singing a lot when it comes to handwashing. And face-touching? Just thinking about not being able to do it makes my face itch. I put it out of my mind and focus on something else. The urge goes away. I’ll be wiping hard surfaces (counters, computers, phones, etc.) with disinfectant wipes or other germ-killers. How long does COVID-19 live on hard surfaces? Who cares? Get rid of it. That’s what I’m going to do.


Know when you’re sick. When I get a high temperature and feel achy, I know. And I stay home. When I’m sick, nobody wants what I have. I stay hydrated. I take ibuprofen. If I have a temperature over 103-degrees or trouble breathing, I call my doctor. I don’t rush to the emergency room. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. (By the way, if you can’t reach your doctor or you don’t have one, contact one of the County’s Public Health Clinics.)

Again, for more detailed information please consult the information at For local information about efforts to combat COVID-19 visit SLO County Public Health’s information page. For emergency preparedness information visit

Over the last week I have spoken with local health professionals and the other Mayors of our County. Emergency plans are being implemented appropriately and resources are being mobilized to accommodate whatever develops. We all agree that everyone needs to follow their own version of my 3Ds and follow CDC guidellines to ensure that any COVID-19 outbreak is minimal and that healthcare resources are available for those most seriously affected.

Distance, Disinfect, Diagnose. That’s my plan. You can use it or make your own. If you find my plan in any way contradicts CDC guidelines, follow the CDC guidelines. The important thing is that we stay calm, stay in control of our personal health and make sure services are available to those who may be more severely affected by COVID-19. Most of us won’t be.

Stay calm, stay in control, stay strong Paso Robles.

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