COVID-19

Mayors from three Tri-Valley cities are asking the Alameda County Department of Health to relax restrictions in their communities.

In a letter dated June 5, Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Livermore Mayor John Marchand and Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne urged county health officials to adopt a subregional approach and ease current shelter-in-place (SIP) orders.

Citing a low COVID-19-positive test rate of less than 1.5% and continued success in flattening the curve, the mayors believe their regions should see the same lifting of restrictions as their Contra Costa neighbors and Tri-Valley counterparts in Danville and San Ramon.

"Let us prove to you that we can navigate COVID-19 safely, that it is just as safe to shop at a local music store and gift shop as it is to shop at Walmart and Home Depot,” they wrote. “Let us be your pilot area.”

Social-media watchers weighed in on the proposal, with many in support of the Tri-Valley’s move toward lessening SIP restrictions.

“Thank you for this proposal,” wrote one Pleasanton resident. “Our cities need to move forward based upon this scientific data. Hopefully, the interim public health officer agrees.”

As of Monday June 8, Alameda County Health officials had updated the SIP to allow small gatherings under certain restrictions; the reopening of child care facilities to include all children not just those of essential workers; some outdoor dining; curbside retail pickup; and conditions for the restarting of extracurricular activities.

But Contra Costa County has moved more quickly, with the health department giving the green light to allow in-store shopping and business offices and pools to reopen – with plans for hair salons and barbershops to open on June 17, followed by indoor dining, bars and gyms on July 1.

Livermore Mayor John Marchand believes the Tri-Valley cities could do the same.

“This would be an ideal opportunity to pilot some reopening strategies to show that the Tri-Valley can open and reopen safely,” Marchand said.

Dublin Mayor David Haubert added that the community’s well-being is his top priority, but believes extended reopening can occur if done properly.

“Public safety is always my No. 1 concern, and I know that is also the concern of the health officials, and with that being said, I also feel that it should be pointed out to them (public health department) that we can remain safe,” said Haubert. “What I would like to see is a swift immediate action … it just makes sense. Half of the Tri-Valley is Danville and San Ramon.”

Dr. Erica Pan, Alameda County Public Health’s interim health officer responded to the mayors’ letter Tuesday, June 9.

“I am emailing to acknowledge receipt of your letter and to thank you for your support to date.” wrote Pan. “I know this has been a challenging time for all of us, and I appreciate your thoughtful request. We are reviewing and considering the request and will respond soon. We absolutely agree this is an unprecedented time for all of us and again appreciate your partnership and patience to date.”

The Tri-Valley leaders saw Pan’s response as a good one, but remained cautiously optimistic real change would come.

“I think it’s a positive step in the right direction, but not fast enough,” said Haubert. “I don’t believe they (County Health Department) have any sense of urgency.”

As of press time Alameda County reported 29 COVID-19 cases in Dublin, 57 cases in Livermore, 64 cases in Pleasanton and 55 cases at the Santa Rita Jail.

Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne did not return calls for comment.