March 21, 2020

BERKELEY RELIEF FUND #berkeleyrelieffund

Last week City Council unanimously adopted legislation to create an emergency relief fund for arts nonprofits, small businesses, and residential tenants hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have dedicated up to $3 million dollars to this endeavor. The official launch is Sunday, March 22 at 3pm-4pm but we are taking donations in advance. Please consider donating to support our beloved local community. Author Michael Lewis, along with Mayor Jesse Arreguín, will host the event for what will be an hour of interviews, impact videos, and entertainment, all from our sheltering community. You can visit the online launch at and Berkeleyside will be streaming the event as well. All donations are tax-deductible. Funds will be used only for emergency grants. Applicants will be able to apply soon. 


A number of businesses in Elmwood are still offering service through pickup and delivery.  We are working with merchants on an inclusive list of all businesses in our neighborhood that are still offering service.  Below are a few of the businesses that we have confirmed are still operational. Also, please reach out to your favorite store via email or calling to see if you can purchase gift certificates. If you would like us to add your business to the list please email my legislative assistant at [email protected] We are updating the list continuously and will follow up on ways to help.

Baker and Commons

Boichik Bagels 

Donato & Co. 

House of Curries 

Humphry Slocombe 

In the Wood Gastropub 

La Mediterranee 

Manpuku Japanese 

Nabolom Pizzeria and Bakery 

Roma Coffee

Shen Hua 

Summer Kitchen 

Timeless Coffee     

Elmwood Stationers 

Palm + Perkins 

Mrs. Dalloway's 

Your Basic Bird 

Rue Atelier 

Vintage Wine Shop


Coming up in future newsletters we will be discussing some clarity around some of the guidance in the shelter in place order specifically around construction.  If there are areas of clarification or topics you would like us to address please email Bre Slimick at [email protected]


Some of you have contacted me about my guidance on hiking and exercising with friends while maintaining social distance of six feet. While I understand the need to socialize is important to mental health, I am explicitly recommending more caution with regard to the order. Many of us can still socialize with friends via telephone or online applications (Zoom, FaceTime). I understand that this is a more explicit risk-averse direction of the order but I would rather err on the side of caution. As a result, I’m recommending a lower-risk approach–that you exercise outside only with members of your household. My approach is to recommend behaviors that will aggressively flatten the curve.


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 ahead before visiting a medical facility so they can prepare. Do not go to an emergency room with mild symptoms.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

CDC has a factsheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.


Click here for general resources on COVID



Lori Droste

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8