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A note from Martin Bernal
May 17, 2020

Dear Community:

Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly update on how the City is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep you, our community and our employees safe and healthy. I also want to take this time to thank our employees who have been providing essential services to our entire City throughout this pandemic - they have been vital to our City's efforts to prevent the further spread of this virus.

Adapting to a New Normal

Starting Monday, May 18, the City will begin re-opening many of our public counters. We all have a role to play to protect the health and safety of our employees and the community during this process. The City has installed transparent dividers (sneeze guards) to help protect you and our employees, social distancing in our facilities will be required, and the use of face coverings is mandatory.  I am asking our visitors to please remember to: 
  • Check the City’s website first (many services are available online - 
  • Wear a face covering, they are now mandatory in all City facilities
  • Follow social distancing protocols 
  • And please stay at home if you are sick.


Connecting with the County and Community 

On Friday, May 15, Mayor Cummings hosted a virtual community meeting with County Public Health Officer, Dr. Gail Newel. Joined by County staff members Erik Riera, Emily Hung, and Leslie Goodfriend, they provided an update on the County's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answered several questions from the community. Thank you Dr. Newel and County staff for taking the time to discuss this item with the Santa Cruz community. Here is a recording of the meeting in case you missed it:

(Click on the image above or visit:

Parks and Rec Summer Programs Update

Our popular summer camps are back at Harvey West Park. Camps are approved to operate under the Public Health Order to provide child care for working families. Following the model established by the County Health Officer, camps are limited to twelve participants with assigned leaders dedicated to each group. Camps will still provide all the fun, arts and crafts, games, activities, outdoor and growth experiences Parks and Recreation is known for while emphasizing and maintaining safety for all.

Registration for both summer camps and classes begins Wednesday May 20th, 9:00 am for City Residents, 11:00 am for Non-Residents. To register online or to create a Parks and Recreation account, visit Parks and Recreation administration staff are available by phone Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at (831) 420-5270. Phone in registration will open Thursday, May 21st. (Full press release). 

Enjoy Library Services from Home

Among many other services, SCPL is currently offering several story times for you to enjoy with your family. You can also download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies and music using your library card - for FREE. SCPL staff is available every day from 10am - 5pm to assist you with accessing these services by calling  (831) 427.7713, or you can also visit their website:

Support for Local Organizations

At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council approved the allocation of $282,000 of CDBG Coronavirus related funding - funding we received as a part of the CARES Act. This funding was available for activities related to the preparation, prevention and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations that received funding included: The Santa Cruz Farmers Market, Santa Cruz Community Health Centers, Dientes Community Dental Care, Community Bridges, Hope services, and Community Action Board (CAB). Further details can be found here: (Item 16).

National Public Works Week (May 17-23)

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, the Council declared the week of May 17-23 as National Public Works Week in honor of the professionals who work to maintain and improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz and keep essential services running year-round—especially through the challenges of the current pandemic. Please take a moment to watch the following video from Vice Mayor Donna Meyers inviting you to join the City in celebrating our essential workers, especially those who work in public works:

(Click on image above or visit:


Update on the County/City Response to Homelessness

Third Local Hotel Shelter Opens – This week a 55-room hotel in Santa Cruz opens to serve those experiencing homelessness who are 65 and older or are medically vulnerable. Food and health assessments will be provided as needed. This new facility joins two other hotels now open as part of the Shelter & Care Task Force’s Isolation/Quarantine Shelters program, bringing to 117 the total number of rooms that are operational. Currently, there are no confirmed local cases COVID-19 within the population of those experiencing homelessness.
Informed Decisions – Shelter & Care Task Force members have developed a new data collection tool specifically designed to increase understanding of COVID-19 impacts on the homeless community. Staff is collecting critical information from all shelter residents and entering the data into the Homeless Management Information System that is utilized by the Homeless Action Partnership throughout Santa Cruz County. In addition to helping inform policy and operation decisions, the data also helps ensure accurate budgeting and supports future efforts to secure reimbursement funding from state and federal agencies.

National Police Week (May 10- May 16)

City flags were flown at half-staff on Friday, May 15, 2020, in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day. In recognition of National Police Week, SCPD has put together the following video which honors all the officers we have lost and extends our deepest condolences to their loved ones. Always in our hearts are Sergeant Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler, SCPD officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

(Click on image above or visit:


Stay Informed

The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please visit the City’s website at  In addition, to help assist the community in answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak, the County of Santa Cruz has established a call center to help direct questions to the proper channels. If you have questions, please call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m.6 p.m., Monday-Friday.


- Martin Bernal


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