San Francisco small business owners rally to reopen outdoor services

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Small business owners have until the end of this week to apply for grants through California’s COVID-19 relief program.

$500-million will be divided between all who qualify.

Those grants range from $5 to $25-thousand but some say it’s not enough.

A group gathered outside San Francisco City Hall Monday, to protest the continued shutdown of outdoor dining.

Protesters rallied this morning pleading with local government officials to let small businesses get back to work by allowing restaurants to offer outdoor dining and parklets to reopen.

Show me the money and show me the science!

Two demands from San Francisco’s small business owners who rallied outside City Hall on Monday morning.

They say they have not seen a direct link between outdoor services and spreading COVID-19.

Giovanni Cincotta is one of many who is struggling through pandemic-related restrictions.

He is afraid he will be evicted when a rent moratorium expires because he and in turn his landlord isn’t getting paid.

“This is not political. We have hungry children and we need to service our outdoor decks so we can make a few dollars and pay a few bills that’s all we want to do that’s it,” Giovanni Cincotta said. 

If the county wants to keep that option off the table, people like Johnny Metheny say they need way more funding to survive.

With three decades of experience in the industry says one of his four San Francisco restaurants was a casualty in the pandemic.

“It has been rough going this last year it has been just very, very difficult we have been closed we’ve had outdoor dining which was great indoor dining to 25% which was phenomenal and boom the last month has just been zero. We have been doing take-out delivery which is not going to pay the bills and most of all we have had to lay off or not schedule over a dozen people,” Johnny Metheny said. 

It’s that ripple effect has him worried and while there has been local, state, and federal financial help, he says it’s still not enough and the PPP loan from last March has long been used up.

“There’s a lot of relief coming down the line but we do need more because a lot of these merchants a lot of these restaurants are going to be evicted. If we don’t get very strong legislation because a lot of people haven’t been paying rent and what’s going to happen when they’ll have to pay rent all at once? So these are real issues that we need to highlight to City Hall so we can get proper relief,” Vas Kiniris, protester, said. 

He compared the current relief to kicking a can down the road saying merchants have taken out one too many loans and that is not sustainable.

In the meantime, if you do need help Friday is the last day to get applications in for the small business grants between $5 and $25-thousand that are being offered through the state.

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Man in critical condition after San Jose shooting

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – A man is in critical condition after being shot in San Jose Monday night, according to the San Jose Police Department.

Authorities responded to a report of a car accident in a parking garage at 60 East Rosemary.

Officers arrived to find a man had been shot.

The victim was taken to the hospital to be treated. At this time, the man is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

The victim’s identity has not been released.

There is no known suspect or motive at this time.

No other details have been released.

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Slow vaccine rollout could stretch pandemic longer

MARIN, Calif. (KRON) – Medical experts say the vaccine is here, but there just isn’t a system to get it out to everyone else.

Dr. Dean Winslow with Stanford Medical Center says “one of the concerns we all have, in our field, while we have vaccines rolled out, we don’t have the infrastructure in place in many places to promptly administer it. We are not doing as well as other countries are at this time.”

Winslow says the work done to manufacture the vaccine is admirable, and the rollout to frontline workers is commendable, but rolling it out further – deeply flawed.

“We have unfortunately had a lack of leadership and we are still paying the price.”

Dr. Winslow spent 35 years in the U.S military, and he says a strategic approach is key in managing this.

Currently he says the cost of a slow rollout just means that the pandemic can linger longer.

“More than 20 million doses are available, but we’ve only administered about 1.5% of our population have actually been immunized.”

“Most predictions that I’ve seen, if we stay on the current trajectory, it’s going to be late next year before 75- 80% of the population is immune.”

Dr. Winslow says he is always an optimist, but the reality is unless something really changes quickly, all of the lessons learned so far to prevent the spread of the virus still very much applies.

Wear masks always out in public, socially distance, and don’t gather in large groups.

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Palo Alto firefighter hikes for suicide awareness

(KRON) – Local firefighters, first responders, veterans, and their families are opening up an important conversation about suicide awareness and mental health through hiking.

The 50K hiking event wrapped up Monday and was planned by a son, who lost his father to suicide one year ago today.

Photo: Alameda County Firefighters

Edward Smith III served as an Alameda firefighter for 30 years before he died by suicide.

Barney Smith, who is his son, planned this event in honor of his dad and all first responders and veterans that struggle with mental health.

“Dad was a big supporter of whatever I did,” said Barney Smith. “I love him and miss him daily. I am doing this for suicide awareness for people who think there is no help.”

Firefighters and first responders hiked for 24 hours starting in Livermore and ending in the city of Alameda.

The 24-hour period represents the shift of a firefighter.

Donavan Mikel, 11, is wearing his fathers helmet, sitting on his fathers engine that he lost to suicide in June 2019. Photo: Alameda County Firefighters

Palo Alto firefighter, Marine veteran and suicide advocate John Preston talked with us about the support that poured in from local firefighter departments during the hike.

“There is a special bond and connection between those who have faced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide,” said John Preston. “It is my privilege to help honor his father in this way.”

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100+ COVID-19 cases confirmed at Daly City nursing home

DALY CITY, Calif. (KRON) – Concerns are high about a possible COVID outbreak at the St. Francis Convalescent Pavilion, a skilled nursing facility in Daly City.

“We’re concerned the facility is not doing enough to protect its residents,” said a woman who prefers to remain anonymous.

She says her uncle is in the facility, and since Christmas, the number of COVID cases has jumped from 9 to more than 85.

“How does a facility allow the rate of infection to magnify so quickly in a small number of days. What is the facility doing to mitigate the spread in their facility?”

The state’s skilled nursing facility dashboard shows 88 residents at the facility currently have COVID-19 as well as 24 health care workers.

“We’re really concerned it will cause a lot of death in that facility, and we are growing immensely concerned about our uncle’s safety.

Officials with the facility would not confirm the numbers.

Statement from facility

Officials with the facility all confirm they are in communication with public health officials at the state level and the county of San Mateo but did not elaborate on what is exactly being done.

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Inflatable costume may be linked to San Jose hospital COVID outbreak that left 1 dead

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – A scary situation in the South Bay where one of at least 44 employees testing positive for COVID-19 has died after being exposed to the virus at Kaiser Permanente’s San Jose Medical Center.  

All of those impacted, including the person who died, is said to be staff members in the emergency room.

The investigation is on-going but it appears this was a well-intentioned effort to spread some holiday cheer that ended up spreading the infection instead. 

Kaiser Permanente officials have confirmed that an employee working in the emergency room on December 25th at San Jose Medical Center has passed away as a result of COVID-19 complications.  

The announcement comes after Kaiser said over the weekend that 44 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.  

All may have been exposed to the virus by another employee dressed in an air-powered holiday costume designed to spread holiday cheer.

A Kaiser officer confirmed that the staff member, who was not showing any symptoms of being infected with coronavirus, briefly appeared in the ER wearing what’s been reported as an inflatable Christmas tree costume.

At this point, it’s unknown if that moment of levity accidentally caused the outbreak.

In a statement, Kaiser said:

“A staff member did appear briefly in the emergency room on December 25th wearing an air-powered costume. Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent as the individual had no covid symptoms and only sought to lift spirits during what is a very stressful time.

Obviously, we will no longer allow air-powered costumes at our facilities.  At the same time, we are taking steps to reinforce precautions among staff, including physical distancing and no gathering in breakrooms, no sharing of food or beverage and masks at all times.”

Dr. John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert, says it’s speculative at this point but possible.

“Costume because to keep the costume blown up it had to have air pressure within it and it most certainly wasn’t perfectly sealed so there would be air leaking out of it of a variety of directions and it could’ve spread the virus into the air. The individual I understand is without symptoms so he still could’ve spread the virus that way we do know that people with symptoms and just be cool for they become symptomatic are shutting the most viral particles,” Dr. Swartzberg said. 

Citing privacy, Kaiser did not release further details about the person who died other than to confirm the person was a hospital employee.  

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No patients are said to be involved this far and all those who tested positive have been sent home. 

Kaiser said staff who received a first dose of vaccine less than 10 days ago would not be expected to have reached immunity when the exposure occurred.  

Dr. Swartzberg says it’s a reminder as vaccines are rolling out across the country that people still need to be cautious because there’s still a lot we don’t know.

“People have to realize that the vaccine does work it does protect you from getting infected what we don’t know is it going to still protect you from still being a carrier of the virus and being able to spread it to other people. And we don’t know yet how well it’s gonna protect you and for how long. The message today if you get vaccinated you need to conduct yourself in terms of protecting yourself and protecting others you have to conduct yourself in the same way as if you hadn’t been vaccinated,” Dr. Swartzberg said. 

Contact tracing is underway and others who may have been exposed are being tested.  

The emergency room area is also undergoing a deep cleaning. 

Kaiser says air-powered costumes are now banned at their facilities and that this incident is a very real reminder that the virus is widespread and is often spread by those without symptoms, so we must all continue to be vigilant.

There are currently more than 2 million coronavirus cases in California. Over 26,000 people in the state have died of the virus.

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How San Jose restaurants are joining forces to stay afloat, all while serving the community

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A new initiative in San Jose aims to help those less fortunate in the community as struggling local restaurants find innovative ways to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Initially when we stopped like when the pandemic started … our restaurant was closed for two and a half months, we were in the SAP Center and that shut down completely, so you’re thinking ‘well what can I do?,’” said Rodney Baca, co-owner of The Shop by Chef Baca. 

“And throughout the time there are so many people losing their jobs, in my industry there’s so many people who are getting their hours cut or claiming bankruptcy, that it’s like we got to do something.”

In the midst of struggling businesses hanging on by a thread as a second stay-at-home order was issued last month, five downtown San Jose restaurants have come together to create the Chef’s Market. 

The Chef’s Market was created by Baca as a way for struggling local restaurants to continue to stay open by selling prepared takeout meals… but with a catch. 

“We got together with four other restaurants and I started a nonprofit, the nonprofit takes care of them, they get to come in and make a little paycheck and deliver their food to people,” said Baca.  

“The biggest thing is that they deliver it to Hunger at Home and San Jose SHIP Kits for the donation part of it.”

Through the Baca Systems nonprofit — with every meal purchased from one of the five restaurants, the Chef’s Market will donate a second meal to feed another family in need. 

San Jose Downtown Association’s new community engagement director and co-founder of San Jose Ship Eric Glader tells KRON4 News the benefits from the initiative goes beyond serving good food. 

“I personally see The Chef’s Market as a win-win-win-win, the chef’s are getting hours, the restaurants getting business, you get community getting life, and you get the organizations getting food that is sorely needed,” he said.

“As we take this model and look at the world of what’s going on with small businesses perhaps this is a way that we move forward with other initiatives as well,” Glader added. 

“Maybe there’s collaborative thinking that we can do to take advantage of the vacant space that is downtown and fill it with life and fill it with opportunity.”

The mobile pop-up will be stationed at the public parking lot in San Carlos Street in downtown San Jose located 300 S. Second St. for socially distanced curbside pickup from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

The initiative will be piloted and taking orders through Jan. 12. 

To place an order go to the Chef’s Market website — where you will have the option to purchase a $25 single meal or a family meal for $100 from Loteria Taco Bar, Robee’s Falafel or Chef Baca. 

Baca said he hopes the new initiative will inspire and motivate others to find ways to help local businesses remain open as there could be a possibility of more restaurants joining in the future if enough support is generated during the next week and a half. 

“We just started this, but what’s next? How can we help next? Where can we go next? What can we do?,” said Baca.  

“We’ll take a step back, we’ll reflect, we’ll talk with the city, we’ll talk with the county, we’ll talk with the players here at Westbank and Urban Communities who donated this parking lot,” Baca added. 

“We’ll all get together and talk and figure out what we can do and how we can make this bigger, better, and more efficient.” 

On the menu: 

Hyland House of Sushi 
  • Poke Bowl- Tuna, spicy Crab with Highlands Miso Soup and Castella Cake or;
  • Bento Box- Teriyaki Glazed Chicken on bed of white Calrose Rice, 4 Piece California Roll, Shrimp Tempura, Seaweed Edamame Salad and Castella Cake.
Jora Peruvian
  • Sauteed Beef Tenderloin (Loma Saltado)
  • Peruvian Chicken fried Rice (Chaufa de Pollo)
Loteria Taco Bar 
  • Chicken or Cheese Enchiladas or;
  • California Burrito or;
  • Queso Birria Tacos or; 
  • Family meal for four. 
Robee’s Falafel
  • Vegetarian falafel or; 
  • Lamb and Beef Gyro or; 
  • Family meal for four. 
The Shop by Chef Baca 
  • The Shop Pastrami sandwich 
  • East Side Burger 
  • Coffee Rubbed Smoked Brisket plate 
  • Family meal for four.

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2 rare tornadoes reported in Tehama County

TEHAMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – The National Weather Service confirmed two tornados touched down in Tehama County Monday afternoon.

The first tornado was reported around 1:34 p.m. in west Corning. This caused damage to a barn, tree, and power line.

Another was reported around 2:40 p.m. near Vina but didn’t cause any damage.

39 tornadoes were reported from 2010-2020, which means there are about 4 tornadoes a year, according to NWS.

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You may get the COVID vaccine from a dentist in California

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Department of Consumer Affairs on Monday approved a public health emergency waiver allowing dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the California Dental Association, this would most likely happen at hospital settings, clinics and vaccination sites that are expected to be set up to meet the demand for the vaccine, rather than dental offices.

“Dentists are ready, willing and able to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations to the public,” CDA President Judee Tippett-Whyte, DDS, said in the statement. “We can help with surge capacity at clinics and vaccinations sites – wherever we’re needed to quickly administer vaccinations and save lives.”

Through the emergency waiver, dentists will receive additional training necessary through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is targeted to vaccine administration and adverse reactions.

Officials with the CDA noted that dentists already have the ability to practice outside of their traditional scope of practice during declared states of emergency, under the implied or express direction of government entities.

As of Monday, only about 1% of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Newsom said the pace is “not good enough” as the virus continues to ravage the state.

As of Monday, only about 1% of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Newsom said the pace is “not good enough” as the virus continues to ravage the state.

The state’s death toll Monday topped 26,500 and confirmed cases neared 2.4 million since the pandemic began.

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Southwest launches $29 flights sale

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – After facing a year of low travel demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest Airlines is working to get travelers’ attention heading into the new year.

On Monday, Southwest launched a Low Fare sale with tickets for one-way travel starting at $29. The sale goes on for four days through Thursday, Jan. 7.

The low ticket prices are available for short flights between cities like San Francisco to Los Angeles, but if you’re flying to the East Coast from San Francisco, you won’t find prices that low.

The lowest priced flights are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

If you decide to cancel your flight, you will not get the money back but a credit. Here is their policy:

“Fares are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines®, as long as reservations are canceled at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure. Failure to cancel prior to departure will result in forfeiture of remaining funds on the reservation.”

A travel advisory was issued in December across the Bay Area and California to urge residents against non-essential travel to prevent spreading the virus.

The advisory, ‘instructs persons arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning to California residents, to practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrive.

This is Southwest’s Promise to help make passengers feel safe on their flights amid the pandemic:

  • Electrostatic disinfectant spray
  • HEPA air filter
  • Physical-distancing measures
  • Hand sanitizer available at the airport
  • Face coverings required

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