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May 21, 2020
It’s a good thing we all have some time on our hands as we shelter-in-place, because the phased reopening ordinances do not make for light reading. We hope this letter will help clarify the changes and offer some additional resources.
Belvedere is following the state order in effect through May 31, as modified by the Marin County Health Department directive which went into effect May 18. You can read the state order here and the Marin County mandate here. In general, the stay-at-home order remains in force to further our success at limiting spread of the virus. Commercial activity will reopen gradually. The main changes for Belvedere involve gardeners, construction and parks.
Gardeners may work if masked, following strict distancing rules, and no gas leaf blowers. Fire season is fast approaching, and rainfall was a mere 60% of normal this winter. We encourage you to clear vegetation and take advantage of Belvedere’s curbside pickup program and Chipper Days sponsored by the Tiburon Fire Protection District.
Construction may start up again only if the contractor designates a COVID-19 site supervisor, who must enforce strict mask/distancing guidelines and post a notice which you can find here. Parking limitations will be enforced for community safety. Report violations to (415) 435-3266.
Parks and open spaces are reopening only as posted at each site. High-contact areas such as the playground remain closed for now. Large gatherings are primary sources of virus spread, so, sadly, events must be postponed. This notice arrived from the concerts committee: Belvedere Concerts-in-the-Park is sorry to announce that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the June, July and August concerts this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are still holding out hope that we will be able to join together in the park for our September 6th concert. To keep up with Concert news, please sign up for our newsletter at www.BelvedereConcerts.org.
Meanwhile, it is great to see so many neighbors out walking. The streets of Belvedere and our lanes are actively in use by all of us who want to get exercise without getting in the car. Bill and Kathleen Brady report that they walked 12 sets of steps last week all in an hour! That is a real workout! It is pure joy to hike up Pagoda Steps or down Woodwardia, taking time to admire the exquisite signs hand painted by Roger Felton and our other amazing artists. Can you find Transpac Lane? What about Cedar? Lower Hawthorne and many others? Generations of teens have used these stairs for training over the decades; take up this challenge to stay in shape. To keep things safe in this time of 6’ distancing, please look ahead before you start a set of steps; and if others are on the lane, then let them finish the segment before you begin. In addition, the views from our shoreline at Beach Road and San Rafael Avenue have never been better and the air is clearer than ever before. Enjoy that while it lasts!
Behind the scenes, our Block Captain program remains robust. They will be hosting a Zoom Webinar Training on May 26th from 5:00-6:00 pm. All Captains and community members are welcome to attend. They will focus on Fire Safety and Preparedness, with time at the end for a Q&A. To join the Zoom Meeting, click here and use the password if prompted.
Meeting ID: 885 6050 1357; Password: Captains
If you have not already done so, please remember to register your household here.
Economic recovery is a concern second only to health issues of life and death. But the statistics for California remain grim: more than 3,000 fatalities out of nearly 100,000 deaths nationwide. Thus, the state Office of Emergency Services is proceeding cautiously: We must get our economy roaring once again and put paychecks in people’s pockets. But the risk of COVID-19 infection is still real for all Californians and continues to be fatal, CAL OES says. You can read more about the phased reopening program here.
Mayor Nancy Kemnitzer and Vice Mayor James Campbell are our City Council representatives to Marin’s Economic Recovery task force. The county has set up an information clearinghouse at www.marinrecovers.com. City Manager Craig Middleton meets with other Marin city managers twice a week to coordinate support for residents and facilitate reopening throughout the county. If you have questions, feel free to email the undersigned at cityofbelvedere.org.
Getting back to any form of “normal” life – with retail activity, open schools, sports and social gatherings - requires two things: testing and contact tracing.
Testing: The state and Marin County have been scrambling to ramp up testing in order to identify and isolate outbreaks before they can spread. The county is at last making progress. Information on testing sites is here and here. The state reports that first responders (fire and police) and pharmacists will soon be trained to administer tests as well.
Contact tracing: Contact tracing requires hiring and training a cadre of new staff. This work is still under way. Meanwhile, we in Belvedere can easily do our own contact tracing, because during the last few weeks each of us has had contact with few people. Simply keep a daily log like this: May 18 hiked with Joe M., picked up vegetable box - 9:00/ May 19 shopped Costco 10:00/ etc. (The time reference later helps identify employees by shift.)
We are conditioned to look at disease as something that can be cured, or avoided with a vaccine. This time there is neither – not yet. Thus, the lock down is an imperfect effort to legislate common sense. We now know distance makes a difference, and therefore the basic stay-at-home order remains in place. Hold off on social gatherings for now. Walk, bike, hike, swim or run -- but don’t drive to get there. Wash hands, stay 6’ apart, wear a mask. Last but not least, be compassionate and kind to those who are alone, or grieving, or suffering, or ill.
We are incredibly lucky to have had state and county leaders who made tough decisions to keep us safe. Thanks to our compliance with the lock down, Belvedere is for now a bubble of well-being in an uncertain world. This is a time when we can appreciate the strength of our community, defined by our collective concern for each other, a trait even more valuable than the spectacular views. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay close to home.
Nancy Kemnitzer, Mayor
Craig Middleton, City Manager