Update: Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin – Mar. 21
Update from Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, March 21, 2020:
–We’re still here and we’re still moving forward. There is no one among us not affected by the growing challenge of COVID-19, but we are meeting that challenge. That is not to say there are not tough times ahead. Our resiliency and resolve will surely be tested even further and I am confident that we will pass that test.
I keep saying to stay healthy we need to stay informed, stay involved and stay strong. Let’s start with the information part of that equation. Here is the latest information I have received.
First, the disease: As of March 21, 2020, the SLO County Public Health Department reports 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in our county. The majority are between the ages of 18 and 64. The remainder are 65 or older. The County and local hospitals are working to increase our coronavirus testing capacity and the inventory of respirators. Gonna say it again: wash your hands, keep your distance, call your doctor if you have a fever or difficulty breathing.
Next, the community: Needless to say, the shelter-at-home order is still in effect. This doesn’t mean you are a prisoner. Everyone is ordered to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction Essential services will remain open such as gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, laundromats/laundry services Lodging properties have also been identified as “critical infrastructure” and are allowed to continue operating. (For a full list of exemptions, visit readyslo.org.) Use common sense. Act as if you have the virus and avoid contact with others.
Many organizations, public and private, are stepping up to help. Here are a few examples:
Flamson Middle School, Georgia Brown Elementary, Winifred Pifer Elementary and Paso Robles High School are providing free breakfast and lunch for qualifying students. From 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. daily all children 18 and under will be able to go to one of the four pick-up locations. Contact the School District for school district qualifications guidelines.
The California Public Utilities Commission has ordered energy, water, sewer, and communications companies under its jurisdiction to halt customer disconnections due to non-payment. This action is to protect people from being shut off from non-payment because they are unable to report to work due to illness, quarantine, or social distancing and applies retroactively to March 4, 2020 when Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency.
PG&E has formally activated its Emergency Operations Center. All of PG&E’s customer service centers where customers can normally pay their bills are closed. Customers who typically pay their bills at one of these centers can call 1-877-704-8470 or go to go to pge.com to learn how to pay online or to find nearby Neighborhood Payment Centers.
Broadband for students: Households without Charter can get free wifi access for 60 days. Charter will not terminate residential or small business service facing financial difficulty due to the coronavirus. They will also not charge late fees. Charter will open wifi hotspots for public use. For a map of hotspots visit spectrum.com. Spectrum news has opened websites to ensure people have access to news and information.
Paso Robles Chamber
The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to providing resources and information to ensure the economic health of our small businesses. Primarily, they encourage all businesses to follow County Public Health Department’s COVID-19-related guidance to the public.
Economic Vitality Corporation of SLO County
The EVC is collaborating with their economic development partners and local agencies across the county to align communication and share the best resources. More information: EVC website www.sloevc.org.
Paso Robles city offices
Paso Robles City Offices are closed to the public. In an effort to protect the health of the community and continue to provide services to the public, the City will continue to provide services via phone, email, and internet. Consult www.prcity.com for the latest information.
Moving on to involvement. If you are working in essential services, thank you! You are doing your work in very trying circumstances and we appreciate the additional stress this puts on you and your families. Please know we are there to support you when we can. In the meantime, we’re staying out of your way so you can get the job done.
If you are working from home, thank you! Not everyone has a job that lends itself to telecommuting. If yours does, take advantage of the telephone and the Internet to keep the economy moving forward. If there’s a silver lining here it is this: we will be forced to use unfamiliar technology to perform familiar tasks. When we emerge on the other side of this crisis we will be smarter, stronger and more resilient.
If you are donating time and treasure, thank you! Our health and service organizations more than ever before. Schools, medical facilities, social services… all need our support. Here’s one example: Community Health Center of the Central California Coast is in great need of cash donations to help cover increased operating costs and necessary equipment for protecting healthcare workers and patients. Specifically, CHC needs Cash Donations, N-95 respirator masks, Disinfectant wipes and solutions. All cash or value-of-supply donations are tax deductible. Contact: Linda Costa, (805) 346-3912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are active on social media, thank you for getting timely and accurate information out to the people in your circles. Thank you for not seeding insecurity and panic by repeating unsubstantiated claims and distributing harsh memes. If ever there was a test of whether or not technology will strengthen or weaken us, this is it. We have great power to promote the truth and shape the conversation. Let’s rise to the responsibility of using that power wisely.
Finally, and most importantly, stay strong. Don’t let the necessary changes in our lives defeat you. Make the most of your time apart to reflect on what binds us together, because being bound together in common cause is what makes us stronger; as individuals, as a city, as a state and as a nation.
This, too, shall pass and we will soon reap the benefits of our solidarity. We will meet again in person, smile and laugh and shake hands.
Stay informed. Stay involved. Stay strong, Paso Robles.
- Follow all local COVID-19 coronavirus news updates
- List of businesses that are allowed to stay open under county COVID-19 order
- North County restaurants, wineries, and services are open for business and ready to serve
- New York Times US map and statistics of COVID-19 cases
- San Luis Obispo County COVID-19 website – readyslo.org.