The city of Sacramento is taking new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including closing City Council meetings to the public, canceling large events of more than 250 people and prohibiting evictions for economically affected renters.
“If that helps save lives, if that helps reduce the numbers of people that are infected, then it is worth certainly stopping business as usual,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg at a press conference Thursday. The Sacramento City Council will vote on the measures Friday March 13 at 1 p.m.
The plans come a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that large gatherings of more than 250 people should be postponed or canceled until the end of March. Gatherings of fewer than 250 people will be permitted if organizers ensure that attendees will be at least six-feet apart from each other. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
But places like Los Angeles are calling for events of 50 people or more to be canceled or postponed.
“Nobody is trying to put on a false cheery face about an unprecedented circumstance because the public health issues are very, very real,” Steinberg said. “If we stick together, if we stay calm, if we do the right thing, and we support each other, we will get through this with a minimal amount of disruption and hopefully a minimal amount of serious illness and or death.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart disease, or lung diseases, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems, are at the highest risk for complications from COVID-19.
The plan would also create an emergency declaration to help businesses and residents handle insurance claims and would create a $1 million economic relief package for local businesses such as restaurants, stores and day cares. Steinberg says it will provide zero-interest loans of up to $25,000.
The city is also considering free parking at meters after 4:30 p.m. for 30 days, assistance for families of students that need food if schools close, help for unemployed workers and $250,000 for emergency sanitation and cleaning supplies for homeless people.
“We also need to be extra concerned about our homeless population and certainly our drive is to get people indoors,” said Steinberg. “We're moving as fast as we can, including having the tiny home village in North Sacramento up, I hope, within a couple of weeks.”
The mayor reiterated that it’s important for people experiencing sickness to stay home and it’s vital that everyone follows the clear health guidelines of washing hands.
“I want to say to the people of Sacramento, this is a difficult and a stressful time and I think we should all acknowledge that. But we must remain calm and not panic,” said Steinberg. “We are a resilient city and we will get through this together."
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