March 26 2021

Vaccine Appointments Opening Up: 65+, Public Transit Workers, Janitors, People with Underlying Health Conditions, etc.

Appointments available March 30-April 3

Sign up quickly for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment March 30 - April 3 if you are a Berkeley or Alameda County resident who is at least 65 years old, has a state-defined underlying health condition, or lives or works in Alameda County and are at increased risk of exposure in one of the following sectors:

  • public transit workers, including airport and commercial airlines
  • janitors, in any industry
  • emergency services
  • food and agriculture, including restaurants, grocery, convenience stores

Those who fit into one of these groups can now register for an appointment at Berkeley Public Health’s mass vaccination site at 1 Buchanan Street:

After scheduling, you will receive a confirmation email with the date and time of your appointment. We will verify appointments with identification at the site. You will not be asked about immigration status. Curative staff will assist you with scheduling your second dose appointment after you receive your shot, while you are waiting in the post-vaccination holding area. For technical support or assistance scheduling your appointment, call Curative, Inc. at 888-702-9042. COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone. You do not need insurance to get a vaccine. However, those who have medical insurance will need to provide their insurance information. Vaccinations are only for those with appointments. 

Learn how to upload your medical ID, how to verify your employment, and learn about transportation assistance for seniors here

History Made with Zoning Reform

Once again, Berkeley made history on Thursday night by voting unanimously to move forward with comprehensive equitable zoning reform. If you have questions about what was passed, please click on this link. I’m proud to have helped bring attention to inequities in our zoning code and am excited we are launching the community process outlined in our proposal. I want to highlight a terrific article published about my mentor and local Berkeley resident, Dorothy Walker. It’s a fascinating article about her attempts over the years to desegregate schools and pursue equity and justice in our community. It’s definitely worth a read. 

Back to School Traffic Safety

Berkeley Schools are beginning to return to in person instruction.  The Berkeley Police Department wants to draw attention to this unusually timed back-to-school, especially regarding traffic and pedestrian safety. 

Elementary schools are set to have groups of students return to campus on Monday March 29th, and again on Monday April 12th.  Middle school students will begin returning Monday April 12th.

As students return to school, and to their school commutes, we urge all Berkeleyans to be extra careful and aware of traffic safety issues.  Members of our community commute by diverse methods, including by car, bus, bicycle, and on foot!  We ask all the members of our community to read this information from the State Office of Traffic Safety, and be extra cautious as our smaller community members resume their school commutes.

Rental Relief

Low-income tenants or small landlords in Berkeley struggling to pay rent or utilities because of the pandemic can apply online for assistance to cover both past and future costs.

Tenants who can apply are those who make less than 80 percent of the area median income. Grants will be first given to those tenants who:

  • live in subsidized affordable housing units OR
  • make less than 30 percent of the area median income

Qualifying landlords in this phase are those who have 5 units or less. See Alameda County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program website and apply online for Tenant Assistance or Landlord Assistance. Low income tenants in Berkeley needing more information or assistance with the online application can call the Eviction Defense Center at 510-452-4541. También se puede leer sobre la Programa de Asistencia de Alquiler de Emergencia en Español. Si Usted es un inquilino de bajos ingresos en la Ciudad de Berkeley y necesita ayuda con llenar la aplicación, llame al Eviction Defense Center. 510-452-4541.

The City also provides financial assistance for those facing eviction for certain non-pandemic reasons, including domestic violence and unexpected medical or disability expenses. See our Housing Retention Program page for details.

Read more here.

Stand with AAPI communities

Berkeley has served as a national north star on issues of racial and social justice.  Today, we are called upon to stand up for our Asian American constituents.  Asian Americans represent 20% of our city population, 29% of the UC Berkeley student population, and many of our local businesses.  The Asian American community locally and nationally are under increasing attack.  While overall hate crimes declined in 2020, reported hate crimes against Asian Americans increased by 150%. Asian American elderly, females, and frontline service workers, including in Berkeley, are the most vulnerable to attacks.

Unfortunately Berkeley is not immune from national trends of racism and racial exclusion.  Nor is it immune from participating in a history of racism against Asian Americans including racial housing covenants targeted against Asian Americans and complicity with Japanese American internment.

Just Cities/Dellum Institute for Social Justice is gathering critical information about anti-Asian American hate in Berkeley to help organize follow up actions. Please complete their survey here:

Even With Vaccine, Please Take Precautions 

Though more and more members of our community are getting vaccinated, please remember that everyone still needs to take precautions, even those who have been vaccinated. Please find the Centers for Disease Control guidance for people who have had their vaccinations here: 

The COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

What’s Changed

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
  • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What Hasn’t Changed

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings. 
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. 
  • If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. 
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.

Lori Droste
Berkeley Vice Mayor

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. 

Sign up for emergency notifications on AC Alert  and crime prevention/updates on Nixle.  

Quirky Berkeley Trails - Submissions by May 1st

Several of us are working on producing walking or bicycle tours of our fair city -- Quirky Berkeley Art Trails. This project will be housed online on the website as well as have some printed materials available with the hope that locals and visitors will enjoy the amazing art and wonders in our city. 

We would like to invite you to submit sites in your neighborhood that you feel would be worthy of addition to this project.  We can’t find them all by ourselves!  We have already listed Civic Arts Projects, WPA Projects, and art galleries.  We will link to the Berkeley Path Wanderers, Berkeley Historical Society, UC Berkeley Visitor Center, and Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn. sites which have wonderful lists of their own.  

All sites should be viewable from the street or sidewalk and not be indoors or in private backyards.  We are trying to keep people outdoors, whenever possible due to COVID.  We are especially having difficulty finding addresses for murals so any help there would be wonderful.  Quirky gardens, strange architecture, yarn bombings, and tiny things you might miss if you pass by too quickly, are what will make this so fun.

We would like to receive your responses by May 1 so that we can get this up and running for the summer months.  We all need to be outside and are eager for some delight. Please email [email protected] with your sites with the following info: 

  • What it is
  • Where it is (need an address, even if it is nearby, for Google locator)
  • 10 or so word description

Still making hoopla in Berkeley after all these years!

Lisa Bullwinkel, Hoopla CEO

[email protected]