The COVID-19 pandemic left many feeling like the entire world was on hold. But the City of Sacramento is doing anything but sitting and waiting for things to reopen. Here are a few of the ways the City is lessening the burden on individuals and businesses during this historic time.
Sacramento Applies for Stage 2 Variance to Get Back to Business
Sacramento County was given the approval by California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move further into "Stage 2" of California's Roadmap to Modify the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order. The Variance Attestation approval for Sacramento County was officially posted on the CDPH website late on Wednesday, May 20.
Once Sacramento County business sectors approved for Stage 2 reopening have implemented the state’s reopening requirements, they will be allowed to resume modified operations with social distancing. Approved businesses include dine-in restaurants, shopping malls, micro-enterprise retail/storefronts, car washes, pet grooming, daycare, outdoor museums and open gallery spaces, and small offices when telework is not possible.
"Businesses are responsible for reviewing and understanding the guidance that’s been provided, and they are required to post readiness checklists certifying their ability and commitment to reopen safely. Working in partnership with our business community, we're ensuring compliance with the County's Health Order so that our residents continue to stay healthy as the local economy reactivates," said Board Chairman and District 1 Supervisor Phil Serna.
Learn more about reopening guidelines.
City Handing Out Free Masks to Help Businesses Open
Some local businesses, like retail and dine-in restaurants, have received the green light to reopen. To protect employers, workers, and customers, the City of Sacramento is distributing 800,000 masks provided by the California Department of Public Health to help provide a safe experience while adhering to public health recommendations.
"It's time to start reopening our economy so our small businesses and working people can get back to earning a living, supporting their families, and helping our city thrive," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
"At the same time, we need to make sure we reopen the right way so we don't have a surge of infections that would force us to retreat. Providing protective equipment to our small businesses and their employees will allow them to go back to work with greater peace of mind."
Find out how to get masks for your business.
WIFI Bus Brings High-Speed Internet to 'Digital Deserts'
As Sacramentans were sent home en masse for work and learning, Sacramento debuted a solution to ensure its residents had access to distance learning, working, and teledocs by deploying high-speed internet buses throughout the region.
RT buses equipped with Wifi have been stationed around Sacramento to provide high-speed internet access to the surrounding neighborhoods during the coronavirus pandemic. The buses are being launched by a partnership between the California State Transportation Agency, the City of Sacramento and Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT).
The first of three WiFi Buses went live Monday, May 4, with seven additional buses deployed to more "digital desert" communities across Sacramento beginning the week of Monday, May 11.
Approximately one in five students in California lack high-speed internet access and nearly half of all low-income households in the state do not have broadband service at home.
"We're excited to launch this innovative WiFi Bus project to help close the digital divide and provide vital high-speed internet services to our communities," said California State Transportation Agency Secretary David S. Kim. "Using transit buses to deliver broadband connectivity is creativity at its very best, and I want to thank Mayor Steinberg and the City of Sacramento, Henry Li and SacRT, the Sacramento Public Library, and our private sector partners for making this project a reality."
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the buses are an important innovation to enable more children to participate in distance learning while out of the classroom. "These mobile WiFi Bus hotspots will help remedy the lack of internet access that threatens to leave thousands of our students farther behind. I thank all of the partners who worked to make this happen, and I hope to see it replicated on a larger scale around California."
Find updated bus schedules at thewifibus.com.
City to Provide Free Internet for Low-Income Families
The Sacramento City Council is expected to vote on May 26 to use $550,000 in federal stimulus money to help close the digital divide in Sacramento. The City will partner with Comcast to provide free internet for the next six months to approximately 10,000 low-income households, along with 1,000 low-cost computers.
The program will serve low-income families, seniors, and individuals to help ensure that all schoolchildren in Sacramento can participate in distance learning and online enrichment.
The City will work with community-based organizations to connect individuals and households in immediate need of secure access to the internet, equipment, and necessary knowledge to participate digitally.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined Council colleagues and elected officials from local school boards to announce the program.
"This is one of the most crucial things we can do to rebuild our economy after Covid-19," said Mayor Darrel Steinberg. "Our residents need to be able to access learning and job training resources, and our most disadvantaged students can't be left behind as their peers continue learning online."
Follow the City Council decision at engagesac.org.