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March 27, 2020
We are grateful that all of Belvedere is taking the mandate to shelter in place seriously, to avoid rapid spread of COVID-19. While inconvenient for each of us, these measures have given our city, first responders and medical providers critical time to prepare. This letter is to give you some information about our efforts to support the well-being of our community during this difficult time.
Your city council, and city staff, along with Police Chief Jason Wu, are working daily to share information and address citizen concerns, as well issues regarding enforcement of the County and State sheltering orders. We receive daily briefings from the League of California Cities, which is a wealth of credible information, and continue to take part in conferences with our legislative leaders and agencies. While things seem quiet here in Belvedere, officials at the state and county level are working in overdrive, ramping up every aspect of our health care system to get ready for what experts are saying will be a surge of the virus in Marin in the next month or so. You can view the most recent county health department report to the Marin Board of Supervisors here.
One of the wonderful aspects of the Belvedere community is its generosity and volunteer spirit. It has been gratifying to see our cadre of block captains call their neighbors to ensure that they are safe and not isolated; to hear that people have volunteered to deliver groceries and medicine to the doorsteps of house-bound friends; to hear of people paying their gardeners and housekeepers not to come to work; and to learn of random acts of kindness. Speaking of donations, if you have N95 masks or other PPEs, consider donating them to our Police Department, which has a shortage of masks in particular. The Department will also take care of getting the gear to hospitals.
Mindful of the importance of getting exercise and fresh air, we have nevertheless had to err on the side of caution in enforcing the rules in the public parks and the playground. Because it is difficult and unnatural for children to practice social distancing, we temporarily closed the playground at Community Park and reluctantly removed the basketball hoops just for now. After thousands of visitors descended on West Marin last weekend, state and county parking lots and some venues are closed.
We will continue to update the city website, including the “Shelter in Place Survival Guide,” to confirm delivery capability and add more delivery services, including Whistlestop Meals. You can continue to support our local eateries at the Boardwalk, Main Street, and Cove Shopping Center by taking advantage of their take-out offerings. Thank you to our own local owners of World Wrapps, Laura and Matthew Blair, for donating food to first responders and health care providers. They and other restaurants offer take out for delivery through services on our resources list. If you know of others to add to our resources page, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
City Hall is operating on a reduced and rotating staff to avoid close contact and keep employees safe. Those at home are working remotely. But things have not come to a halt. We are using this time to get important work done, and are taking the long view into summer and beyond.
Under the emergency proclamation, staff has upgraded our technology to enable videoconferencing for public meetings beginning April 1. Some task force and advisory group work has been done over Zoom. While meetings of City committees and commissions were cancelled the last half of March, we anticipate a resumption of virtual meetings in April. Technology will enable us to conduct meetings and to hear public comment without having to be in the same room. We look forward to trying this for our April 13 City Council meeting. Check “Notices and Agendas” on this website for further instructions on how to attend.
Utility undergrounding is also moving forward; however, because residential connections require PG&E to turn off the power, we are delaying that piece of the work until normalcy resumes.
Perhaps most importantly, we continue to work with Tiburon Fire on fire protection. This includes an expanded vegetation removal program of Chipper Days once gardeners are invited back to help. Last year’s 3 Chipper Days were so successful that we will expand the program this year to 5 Chipper Days. Dates and details will come as we move closer to summertime.
Meanwhile, informal video conferencing like virtual cocktail hours, online school, and FaceTime storytime with grandchildren are other ways we are all keeping in touch without touching. Please continue to take precautions to keep yourselves and our community safe.
Nancy Kemnitzer, Mayor
Craig Middleton, City Manager