[UPDATES] Safety changes at Lake Merritt, Free COVID-19 Testing, Emergency Paid Sick Leave & more

Like you, I’m grateful for the chance to enjoy the sun lately. I hope the weather has been helpful to your mental and physical health as we continue to stay at home. This update includes:


To Keep Us Safe at Lake Merritt

How can we best #LoveOurLake, parks and each other? With masks on and 6 feet apart, and 10 feet apart if you're exercising or running!

Last weekend, we saw overcrowding at Lake Merritt. Please #GiveTheLakeABreak. We must remain vigilant to save lives with the Shelter in Place order extended through May 31.

I share your health and safety concerns now and long-term. To support the City's work increasing education and compliance at crowded public spaces like Lake Merritt and to help keep us safe, I've requested additional efforts at our parks and Lake Merritt.

Starting this weekend, we should see these efforts at the Lake:

  • Ambassadors in bright-colored shirts Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5PM, educating the public about compliance with the health order and park/city rules. These ambassadors will supplement OPD community resource officers also conducting education with residents.
  • Two large illuminated signs along Lakeshore Ave. with messages reminding parks users about the health order and parks/city rules.
  • Additional signs in multiple languages about the health order and the closure of parks facilities.


Our District 2 team is also working with OakDOT to expand the #SlowStreets program for alternative outdoor spaces, and with community members to improve safety at San Antonio Park and other parks now and long-term.

Please continue following these requirements, and learn more with this County FAQ

  • Stay home unless conducting essential work or activities outside your home.
  • Masks are required when conducting essential activities outside your home.
  • Physical distancing of 6 feet apart is required when conducting essential activities outside your home, keep more distance if exercising.
  • Group gatherings, with people outside your household, are prohibited.


Thank you to City staff for their hard work to keep us safe. I urge your cooperation and welcome your feedback as we continue to work together to stop the spread!

Expanded Free Testing + New East Oakland Site

The City of Oakland is operating a COVID-19 test site at Henry J Kaiser Convention Center to offer free testing to anyone in Alameda County who has symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell.

Testing is also offered to those without symptoms if they are in the following high risk populations:

  • Older adults;
  • people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes;
  • individuals released from incarceration in the last month,
  • unhoused individuals,
  • healthcare and shelter workers or anyone exposed to the virus.


Call 311 or go to oaklandca.gov/testing to get tested. 

Additionally, with the support of the Governor’s Office, CORE, and Project Baseline by Verily, the City has partnered with Roots Community Clinic to open a new test site in East Oakland at Roots (9925 International Blvd), which will open to the public on Wednesday, May 6.

The test site will be one of the first walk-up only test centers in the Bay Area, and will have the capacity to test up to 250 per day.   

District 2 Community Forum Recap

Last Tuesday, I held my first-ever virtual community forum which has reached 1,000+ neighbors! Together with Trybe and Eastlake United for Justice, we gathered to hear:


Watch a recording of the forum here and see our COVID-19 resource hub for information on city services, small business, supporting unhoused and undocumented residents, volunteering, and more. Thank you to our co-hosts for supporting the immediate needs of our community with food, supplies and resources, and thank you to all D2 neighbors stepping up in these difficult times. 

Previewing Important Agenda Items

On Monday, May 4 at 2:30pm, we will have a special meeting of the Finance Committee to discuss Council principles and priorities for balancing the mid-cycle budget in the face of revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. 

On Tuesday, May 5 at 1:30pm, we will have a special meeting of the City Council. Our agenda includes: 

  • Emergency grants of up to $10,000 to eligible businesses along the BRT route to help address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, co-sponsored by myself and Councilmember Loren Taylor.
  • Several grant awards and contracts to provide services for homelessness, Head Start Programs, among other issues. 
  • Interim rules of procedure for the City Council.
  • Action to suspend requirements of our fiscal policy to address the projected revenue shortfall.
  • Action to advance a ballot measure amending the powers of the Police Commission. 


On Tuesday, May 5 at 5:30pm, we will have a regular meeting of the City Council. Our agenda includes: appointment of a new City Administrator, an update to close the flavored-tobacco loophole, and these worker rights protections:

1. Establishing the Department of Workplace and Employment Standards

I am supporting the establishment of the new Department of Workplace and Employment Standards, which was approved by 76% of voters with the passage of Measure Z in 2018. According to the measure, the department must be established by July 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the important role that frontline, essential service workers play in ensuring we can access the goods and services we need. These workers, which include delivery people, grocery clerks, restaurant & hospitality workers, ride-share drivers, janitors, warehouse workers, and security officers are the backbone of our economy and are on the front lines.

The City of Oakland must protect and support these workers in order to maintain ongoing services, stop the pandemic, and safeguard the health and well-being of everyone in our community. 

An effective Department of Workplace and Employment Standards will ensure the city is focused and engaged in supporting these workers and implementing existing labor protections.  

2. Emergency Paid Sick Leave

While the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was an important step in protecting workers, Oakland should expand its paid sick leave policy to ensure that no one has to choose between keeping their family safe and putting food on the table.

This emergency legislation, authored by Councilmember Sheng Thao and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Loren Taylor, will: 

  • require Oakland companies with greater than 50 employees to provide 10 days emergency paid sick leave; 
  • grant workers full compensation for using sick leave to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID19, to care for a loved one or child, or to protect themselves if they are at high risk of COVID19;  
  • allow workers to receive their accrued paid sick leave under Measure FF if they are laid-off; 
  • codify FFCRA into Oakland law, so the city’s new Department of Workplace and Employment Standards can play a larger role in implementing and enforcing the federal requirements; and 
  • not apply expansions to the FFCRA to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, to protect Oakland’s small businesses. 


Please share comments on these items via email to [email protected] or use the E-Comments function in the link to the meeting agenda above.


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