City of Oakland Maintains Essential Government Functions in Response to Alameda County Shelter in Place Order

Public safety and other essential functions will not be interrupted.

image of novel coronavirus and CDC logo

Oakland, CA — Interim City Administrator Steven Falk today announced temporary changes to City government functions, effective today, in accordance with the Alameda County Health Officer’s order for all Alameda County residents to shelter in place to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preserve critical health care capacity across the region.

Alameda County is one of six counties in the region to adopt a legal order directing their respective residents to shelter at home for three weeks and to limit activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. The guidance comes after substantial input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and best practices from other health officials around the world. Read the full order:

In accordance with the County’s order, and with the health and well-being of Oakland residents and City employees in mind, it is the City’s intent to continue to provide critical services to our residents while allowing people to remain sheltered in place at home and maintaining social distancing.

Oakland Police and Fire first responders and other essential government functions will continue pursuant to the order. Other key impacts:

  • Civic Center buildings (City Hall, 150 and 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza) are accessible to the public only by special appointment or for public meetings, but will otherwise be closed to the public.
  • Most public service counters at the Civic Center are switching to online/phone/appointment access only.
  • Parking meters, residential permit parking, time-limited parking and street sweeping parking regulations will not be enforced.
  • As a matter of public sanitation, the City will continue street sweeping efforts, as they represent the single most efficient way to keep streets clean. The City asks for the community’s voluntary assistance to move their cars so that street sweeping equipment can get to the litter and other refuse that needs to be cleaned off Oakland streets.
  • The City will continue to enforce all other parking regulations in service of public safety and public health, including red curbs and fire hydrants, sidewalk and crosswalk blocking, double-parking and bike lane violations, wheelchair ramp obstruction, and unauthorized use of disabled person parking placards.
  • Towing will be suspended unless vehicles are blocking access, causing and immediate hazard, or are deemed a public safety concern.
  • Please note also that the City’s paving and other essential infrastructure construction projects are still ongoing. Clear curbs are necessary for infrastructure work, so we ask that residents keep an eye out for 72-hour no-parking signs related to construction. If curbs are not clear where construction has been noticed, enforcement and vehicle towing could be necessary.

A list of City service impacts, including facility closures, service suspensions, and alternative service points (online, telephone, or by appointment) is included here: Over the coming days and weeks, this list will be modified; check back for updates.

“We recognize these closures and service modifications have direct impacts on our employees and the community we serve,” said Interim City Administrator Falk. “It is our goal to keep employees working – remotely where possible – to the greatest extent possible and consistent with public health guidance, and to ensure that first responders have the resources and support they need so they can continue to best serve the residents of Oakland. As we make decisions over the next days and weeks, we will choose options that maximize employee and public safety and save lives.”

“This limited shelter-in-place order is something that we must all take seriously, but we should not panic,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Essential workers are still going to be coming to work to do their jobs. And we as residents, while we must practice social distancing, can go about our essential tasks during the day. Essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open during this three-week shelter in place. We encourage you to go outdoors and enjoy our parks, keeping a healthy distance from other people so that we help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take this opportunity to reach out to your neighbors and friends who may need care. This is a rapidly evolving situation. Our public employees at the City of Oakland are working around the clock to ensure that this health crisis is the least disruptive it can be and that our Oakland community stays healthy and resilient.”

The City Administration is currently working with each Department to define and identify essential functions that relate directly to the ongoing continuity of key City services. The order places the determination of essential functions to each city, and Oakland is seeking to minimize the disruption to City services while ensuring the health and safety of our employees and the people we serve. The City will continue to review and refine its list of functions in the next few days as well as implement a telecommuting strategy that follows public health directives and guidance for social distancing.

As stated in the Health Officer’s order, “The intent of this Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. When people need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should always reasonably possible comply with Social Distancing Requirements.”

The order defines essential activities as necessary for the health and safety for individuals and their families. Essential Oakland businesses allowed to operate during the recommended action include health care operations; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores); pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence. In addition, health care, law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action. For the full list, please see section 10 of the Order.

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Posted: March 17th, 2020 4:35 PM

Last Updated: March 25th, 2020 3:15 PM

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