Some positive news is surfacing about the Covid-19 Pandemic. According to the following data resource, California will see its peak in hospital resource needs on April 14, 2020. The link is accessed here, you may need to copy and paste to get to the link. http://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/california\
The other bit of good news is that it appears that the need for hospital beds, ventilators, and staff will not overwhelm us here in California. In other words, the needs can be met.
I was able to participate in a telephone conference call with Sonoma County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins on Monday. In Sonoma County, the shelter in place and social distancing seems to be working very well and Sonoma County is well below the originally projected number of cases and number of deaths that were being forecast. The Supervisors explained that what is good in flattening the curve, is not as good in economic recovery. As we spread out the pandemic over a longer period of time, we gain positives from not overwhelming our health care system, but negatives in that the virus will be with us longer. I think that is a tradeoff most of us would gladly accept. The Supervisors explained their data shows Sonoma County “peaking” in early to mid-June. The Supervisors believe the “shutdown” in Sonoma County will last through June. There are discussions taking place right now as to how to reopen for business once the virus has hit its apex and is gone. The idea is to reopen “non-to low risk” businesses and events first, with the riskier opened after an additional period of time. So that means our Father’s Day Car Show is in danger of having to be postponed or cancelled. Our Exec Committee will be deciding whether to cancel or postpone the Father’s Day Car Show this Friday.
The other information that has become abundantly clear, is the people making the decisions as to what constitutes an essential service and what does not, are very powerful people these days. For the most part, the decisions that define essential jobs is being determined by public health officials with some assistance from county counsel. We have been very fortunate in that most of our construction projects are considered essential, and unless the municipality itself has shut down (City of Santa Rosa for instance), work continues. This fact can change. Please remind yourselves and your crews when they are working out in the public arena, there are others that see them that may have had to shut down their businesses. We do not want people to give our industry “pushback” about working, so we need to be very good and very visible practitioners of social distancing, wearing masks, and being careful to wipe down surfaces and wash our hands more often than before. To that end, the ECA has collaborated with George Petersen Insurance Agency and Jim Persons to host a free Safety Tip Webinar Wednesday at 10 am (flyer is attached here). We have invited the North Coast Builders Exchange to participate as well, and the safety tips are for both housing construction and general engineering construction workers. I forwarded the news about the Webinar to the five Sonoma County Supervisors and to the heads of PRMD and Transportation and Public Works in Sonoma County. It does not hurt to point out to those in influential positions that ECA members are being very safe and should be allowed to keep working!
I have gotten a question about what expenses an employer needs to reimburse those workers who are working from home. Some good guidance can be seen about that by clicking on this link—
While this shutdown is in place, there has also been lots of “back and forth” on the Measure M sales tax extension that many of us depend on for a large portion of our workload. As the Federal Govt talks about yet another stimulus package that would consists of, or include, an infrastructure rebuild infusion of capital, we have to be mindful that our little area will not get those “big bucks” if we are not a “self-help” area that pays for some of our infrastructure work via self-imposed sales taxes. That is what we do, and it entities us to receive lots of matching funds that otherwise would go elsewhere. We would still have to pay for those Federal funds, we just would not get them if we did not have some sort of Measure M in place. That is why, despite the proposed split of sales taxes not being exactly what we want to see, we (the ECA) need to be willing to accept and support am imperfect tax measure. You can look at the proposed “Go Sonoma Act” that is being considered and voted on Monday, April 13, 2020 by the SCTA Board. The ECA will submit a “position” letter this Friday to the SCTA Chairwoman Susan Gorin. I have already drafted what I will advise our Exec Council to say, but this Friday the Exec Committee will vote on the final version to go out to Chair Susan Gorin by Friday night at 5 pm. One of the main things we will be recommending (if the Exec agrees with me), is to strongly recommend to Ms. Gorin that they not put this sales tax measure on the ballot in November. People have been too damaged economically and it would seem to be a total “disconnect” that would not be favorable to passing the measure. You can review the 30 pages of the Go Sonoma Act and what it was based upon by clicking on the link here—
So, we recognize that we are all in tough times while we battle this virus. But keep your hopes up, the end is almost within sight and the shelter at home is working very well.
Stay safe people and we hope you join us tomorrow for our webinar.
That’s All Folks!