April 4, 2020

I apologize for the multiple emails but I want to make sure you are getting the most current guidance from the City of Berkeley. 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. 

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



  • Important public health guidance
  • Ways to get/give Help
  • Prepare for COVID-19
  • More COVID-19 information
  • Public school information
  • Bay Area Book Festival April 5th at 3pm in support of the Berkeley Relief Fund


You should be aware of the following:

  1. We are now advising individuals to cover their noses and mouths with cloth when leaving home for 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 of COVID-19. This direction is in addition to distancing.
  2. Please stop socially-distancing block parties, dance parties and cocktail parties. Now is not the time to socialize in person, even at a distance. This is a public health pandemic. Of course, we encourage you to call or email your neighbors, friends, and loved ones for wellness checks, particularly if they are elderly or have a pre-existing condition but I want to be clear that you must stay at home as much as possible. It is also a punishable misdemeanor. 
  3. Stay at home as much as possible. You should only leave your home to get groceries, go to the doctor, provide essential work, travel for essential business/care, and/or get essential exercise (only with your household). That is it.
  4. There are new restrictions on construction. If you have questions or concerns about an active construction project, please email [email protected] or call 510-981-7410. We’ll need a) the project’s address and b) a short description of the activity you are concerned with.


Although modeling potential COVID-19 patients is challenging, California is expected to reach its pandemic peak in about three weeks. Exposure is happening now. Take this seriously so we don’t threaten the health and lives of our community. 




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


Donate or Volunteer at Food Bank

Berkeley Food Network


Alameda County Community Food Bank



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


Support Nonprofits and Berkeley Businesses and Arts Organizations

Donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund. To apply for small business grants click here. To apply for arts organization grants, click here. To apply for housing retention grants, click here. The first round of deadlines is on Monday, April 6.


Support your local favorite business or arts organizations by donating or purchasing a gift certificate. 


Our local news organization, Berkeleyside, also has launched a platform for local businesses to share fundraisers. To learn more visit 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. 


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.


Take The Census 

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


Deliver Meals 




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



I commend the school board, principals, teachers, staff and the district for providing distance learning. Governor Newsom has indicated that parents should be prepared for schools to be closed the entire year. To learn about chrome book distribution and free or reduced Internet connections for students, please click here. To learn about meal distribution for students, click here. To see the Distance Learning Plan, click here.


The Bay Area Book Festival presents "Literary Berkeley" in support of the Berkeley Relief Fund at 3pm on April 5th. Visit the Berkeley Relief Fund for more information and check out the YouTube channel as well.


Lori Droste

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8