April 10, 2020

Moving forward, I’m going to try to include the most pertinent information in the subject line just in case you are overwhelmed by all of these emails. 

Over the past month, I have seen the true character of so many Berkeley residents. Whether it’s by small acts of kindness, helping out at food banks, contributing to the Berkeley Relief Fund, donating your N95 masks to the City, or simply remaining home, I continue to be proud of our residents. Let’s keep it up!

For some of you, I can hear you are struggling. It is undoubtedly a stressful time. Please make sure to be gentle with yourself, reach out if you need help, and assume the goodwill of others. See below for community and state resources that may help you.

Please remember that the City of Berkeley COVID-19 website and the State of California’s Department of Public Health are great sources of information. The State of California also provides a great deal of information here.

I want to thank all of our first responders, essential workers and City staff for working tirelessly to prepare and keep our community safe. 

Although modeling potential COVID-19 surges is challenging, exposure is happening now. Take this seriously so we don’t threaten the health of our community. Sadly, a Berkeley resident in their 40s lost their life this week. According to our public health officer, our curve is not flat yet but we have seen some successes with slowing of the cases. It is not over so please continue sheltering in place.

COVID-19 Topics in this Newsletter

  1. New—wear mask outside doing everything
  2. No gatherings of any type, even holidays or socially-distant activities
  3. New–Extra Precautions and Local Resources to Help Keep Seniors Safe
  4. New-Support Information
  5. Ways to Get/Give Help—New Info: Double Helping Hands, Berkeley Food Pantry, etc.
  6. New–Bus lines out of service
  7. Prepare for COVID-19
  8. More COVID-19 information
  9. Updated Construction Guidance



This may not seem like a lot but this can really help our city. The national emergency we now see with COVID-19 is an example of why this document is so important. You can respond entirely while sheltering-in-place at home:

Online at my2020census.gov

Phone: 844-330-2020

By mail, using the form sent to your home

For more information, click here



1. MORE MASK GUIDANCE We are now advising individuals to cover their noses and mouths with cloth when leaving home for everything, not just essential visits to supermarkets, pharmacies, or doctor’s offices. Bandanas, scarves, and cloths are recommended. Please leave N-95 masks for health care workers and first responders if you haven’t already used it. This is to prevent the spread. This direction is in addition to social distancing.

2. NO GATHERINGS. Now is not the time to socialize in groups, even at a distance. This is going to be particularly challenging with the holidays but please refrain from having any gatherings with people outside your household. Also, please do not schedule holiday dinners, neighborhood egg hunts or anything of that nature. 

3. PRECAUTIONS FOR SENIORS OVER 60 and those with underlying health conditions. Berkeley Aging Services urges all seniors to take extra steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 as people over 60 years old are at increased risk of severe illness from the disease.We encourage you to call or email your neighbors for wellness checks, particularly if they are elderly or have a pre-existing condition. 

  • Have a plan if you get sick. Know how to stay in touch with friends, family, neighbors and community health workers by phone or email so that you can reach out should you become sick. Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
  • Obtain extra medication. Avoid unnecessary trips to the pharmacy. Consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Stock up on supplies that will help you stay at home. If eligible, consider shopping during specially designated hours for those that are high risk. 

Andronico’s: 7-9am Tuesdays and Thursdays

Berkeley Bowl: 8-10am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Piedmont Grocery: 9-10am every day for those 65 or older

Safeway: 7-9am Tuesdays and Thursdays

Target: 8-9am Wednesdays for older adults or those with underlying health conditions

Trader Joe’s: 8-9am every day

Whole Foods: 8-9am every day for those 60 or older

  • Access resources to help keep you at home
    Consider ways to have food and other supplies brought to your home. Here are some resources: Meals on Wheels 
  • Regularly checking in with family, friends and neighbors can help. The Crisis Support Services of Alameda County is also providing daily phone calls for homebound seniors during the COVID-19 Crisis. For more information or sign up, call 510-282-9089 or email Andrea Henderson at [email protected]

For more information on senior help, click here.


24-hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1-800-273-8255 or text 838255

24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-7233 or click Chat Now

Call 911 if you or the person you are helping is in immediate danger.

If you struggle with substance abuse, check out some resources here.


Donate or Volunteer at Food Bank

Berkeley Food Network

Alameda County Community Food Bank


Berkeley Food Pantry

For more information about food access, please visit cafoodbanks.org

Support Nonprofits and Berkeley Businesses and Arts Organizations

Donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund. We will be doing another round of funding applications. Stay tuned!

Support your local favorite business or arts organizations by donating or purchasing a gift certificate. Berkeleyside has launched a platform for local businesses to share fundraisers. To learn more visit here.

Donate to Double Helping Hands to help both small businesses and our homeless population. Learn more here.

Support Healthcare Workers

Our neighbor Ayelet Waldman set up East Bay FeedER to help feed individuals working in hospitals. Please support! Ayelet also asks me to let you know to please work through them and don’t show up at the hospital with food.

Donate Masks, Gloves, Hygiene Supplies, Goggles, New Thermometers, etc.

If you have personal protective equipment to donate to our firefighters, nurses, police, and others on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, please fill out this form. For more information, click here.

Donate Blood

You can donate blood at 6230 Claremont Ave. In Oakland. Please check with the Red Cross website to see if appointments are available before visiting. 

Help Vulnerable Members of Our Community

A few neighborhood groups have created websites to help high risk neighbors in need by pairing them with lower-risk individuals (please keep in mind that everyone is at risk). Please visit berkeleymutualaid.org if you would like to volunteer or need help. Another nonprofit aimed towards helping vulnerable people is Helping Hands


AC Transit will not be able to operate some scheduled service due to conditions created by COVID 19. Currently, lines 7, 29, 36, 52, 65, 67, 79, 80, and 96 are not in service.

Please follow them on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed about current service.


As COVID-19 spreads, learn how to take care of someone who is ill. You or other people may get mild symptoms. We need those people to stay home entirely. This will slow the spread. If you are sick, call your doctor. For more guidance on what to do if you are sick or if someone else is sick, please click here.


Please SIGN UP for City of Berkeley emails here and visit the City’s COVID-19 website here. Recommendations may change rapidly. Please remember to get public health information from official public health channels (City of Berkeley’s Public Health Department, County of Alameda Public HealthCDCWHO, etc.), and not social media posts. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, 

  • call your doctor
  • Stay at home except to seek medical care
  • Stay away from others at home 
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If someone in your home is sick,

  • Watch for worsening symptoms
  • Clean high touch surfaces daily
  • Practice healthy behaviors

Get more information about all of this here

CDC has a factsheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with 


Click here for general resources on COVID

9. Updated Construction Guidelines and Reporting Process

Construction continues to be a big source of confusion.  The guidelines outlining construction projects has been updated by the City of Berkeley.  Workers on the few allowed construction sites must keep at least six feet distance from one another at all times except when closer contact is immediately necessary to complete specific tasks. 

Construction is only allowed for:

  • healthcare facilities directly related to COVID-19 response shelters and temporary housing
  • shelters and temporary housing
  • affordable housing (projects must include at least 10% affordable units onsite)
  • projects that provide critical services to vulnerable individuals
  • public works projects deemed essential by the City
  • limited essential residential or business repairs, when the work is immediately necessary to ensure safety and habitability


If you have questions or concerns about an active construction project, email [email protected] or call us at (510) 981-7410. We’ll need:

  • the project’s address
  • a short description of the activity you’re concerned about

You can find more detailed information on the City of Berkeley Main News Page here.


Lori Droste

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8


Want to request a City service? 

Use Berkeley's online 311 form (either through the General Request form or a specific topic) or call 311 from a landline, or 510-981-2489.  Please note that my office routes all the service requests we receive through this customer service center, so your request will be handled most efficiently by directly contacting 311.