This is the thirty-fifth COVID-19 update from San Jose Downtown Association, dating back to March 12. They are sent on Thursdays.
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Dear Members and Downtown Stakeholders:

Welcome back San Jose Museum of Art, Original Gravity, Miniboss, Paper Plane, Super Kitchen and el cafecito.

The election grabbed most of the headlines this past week, and Covid coverage was sparse – probably the least amount of media coverage and change in protocol since March.

That said, our collective foray into the Orange Tier has resulted in some local changes, explained below.

It doesn’t mean that Covid is going away.  We experienced our first patients to have the regular flu and Covid at the same time.  In some places, the gatherings caused by the election and a fall surge has resulted in record levels of new cases.

The Santa Clara County Health Department reports:  “Early indications suggest our numbers have started, albeit slowly, to trend in the wrong direction.  Our 7 day average of new cases in Santa Clara County has climbed back up to 125 now, up from 95 average daily cases in late September.  Statewide case counts have also been on the rise in the past couple of weeks.

“The time for careful behavior is still now.  We remain vulnerable to this virus.  But, fortunately, we know what it takes to reduce transmission. The principles remain the same (wear face coverings, social distance, minimize your contacts, ensure good ventilation, practice excellent hygiene, etc.).  As colder weather approaches and as cases surge around us, adherence to these principles will only become more important.”

So, let’s remain vigilant and take advantage of this great weather while we still have it. 

In this email: 
Save the Date – Dec. 11, 8:15 a.m.
SJDA Year-in-Review Meeting
SJDA’s annual year-in-review presentation will be presented virtually this year on Dec. 11, starting at 8:15 a.m.  The December SJDA meeting will also include the Golden Nail presentation and a farewell to SJDA and PBID Board of Directors members reaching the end of their terms.  Registration will be required.  The meeting will be held on Zoom.  A meeting link will be provided in upcoming weeks.
COVID Updates
City Council updates and extends Al Fresco program
On Tuesday and to support small businesses, the City Council amended the original Al Fresco emergency order of June 4:
Nathan Ulsh, SJDA’s Director of Policy and Operations, represented downtown businesses in advocating for the recommendations passed per the staff memo:
  • requiring safety barriers for outdoor operations on private property, 
  • extending permissible outdoor business hours for private property and sidewalk operations in the Downtown Core until midnight, 
  • allowing for additional equipment to be utilized for cold weather operations; and 
  • allowing businesses to apply for permits to erect tents or canopies larger than those allowed under the current regulations and/or to apply for permits to erect structures.
  • extending the order for Al Fresco activities on private property, sidewalks, street business areas, parklets and public parking until June 30, 2021,
  • extending Al Fresco activities on parks and plazas until March 31.
The newly passed winterization regulations allow heaters to be placed on sidewalks for outdoor retail.  Heaters were already allowed on private property, street areas and parklets.

Also to keep businesses afloat during colder weather:
  • Tents over 400 square feet and canopies over 700 square feet will be allowed on private property and public sidewalks with a separate permit from the City of San Jose;
  • Tents over 400 square feet and canopies over 700 square feet will be allowed on parklets and street business areas with a separate permit from the Fire Department. For structures, these businesses must obtain a permit from The Public Works Department.
The city will cover costs of inspection at least through early December.

To keep up with Al Fresco order, go here.
Avoid coronavirus scams
The Federal Trade Commission has advice for consumers and businesses to avoid scammers:
  • Learn how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Legitimate tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information.
  • Don’t respond to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government. Here’s what you need to know.
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.
  • Be wary of ads for test kits. Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate.
  • Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like and to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
Two excellent reports from the NY Times this past week
FIRST: The Times posted a highly informational interactive animation of how masks work and are an essential part of your defense from obtaining viruses. 
Spoiler alert -- key takeaways are:
  • The best bet to capture your outgoing particles and the particles coming at you is the N-95. 
  • The looser fitting the mask, the more particles can go out and come in.
  • Facial hair causes more particles to escape and penetrate your defense system.
  • The cloth mask is better than nothing.
SECOND:  The Times reported that more and more frequently, people testing positive can’t figure out how they caught Covid. 

According to the report:  “‘It’s just kind of everywhere,’ said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who estimated that tracing coronavirus cases becomes difficult once the virus spreads to more than 10 cases per 100,000 people a day.

“In some of the hardest-hit spots in the United States, the virus is spreading at 10 to 20 times that rate, and even health officials have all but given up trying to figure out who is giving the virus to whom.”
This is the condition health officials were trying to avoid. Another reason to wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and keep six feet apart from everyone except your close family group. Read more.
Free PPE Available for San Jose Non-profits: San Jose-based nonprofit organizations or nonprofits that serve San José residents can now request free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) directly from the Valley Medical Center Foundation through a partnership with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits and the City of San Jose. To request PPE, organizations must complete this survey. The survey can also be found through the VMC Foundation’s COVID-19 page.
Fresh and healthful foods available through relief program
Off the Grid has partnered with the City of San Jose to launch San Jose COVID Food Relief Program. This is a temporary food program that delivers groceries once per week that includes fresh produce, whole grains, and nutritious sources of protein or meals to high-risk individuals for COVID-19, or those who have faced economic hardships due to COVID-19. The program is free and available for qualified participants until Dec. 30. Click here for more info or check Instagram.
Dine Downtown 2.020
Two weeks of Dine Downtown – add your restaurant to the participant list
Two weeks remain of Dine Downtown, and there’s no better time to sign up with a chef’s special, prix fixe menu or food and drink pairing.

SJDA plans one more PR push this week, so we’ll send your name to the local press for possible inclusion in their Dine Downtown coverage. Everyone needs a little extra publicity, right?
Our social media message to customers:  “Bold pairings require bold decisions from Dine Downtowners.  Go not once, but three or four times to Dine Downtown San Jose.
If your dining establishment, café or coffee shop  wants to get in on the action, contact SJDA Marketing Director Julie Carlson (
Plaza de Cesar Chavez survey
As we struggle through the pandemic, we’re also preparing for the new normal after a vaccine has been identified and administered through our population.

Public agencies want to amass as much intel as they can – ergo, we’re seeing an increases in surveys. 
Please do what you can to answer as many of these as possible.  The people taking the surveys especially value the opinions of the small business owners in our community. 

The latest is a request from City of San Jose parks department about how Plaza de Cesar Chavez is used during events and not during events.
Questions include:
  1. How often do you visit Cesar Chavez Park?
  2. Why do you visit?
  3. Do you attend many events? 
  4. Please rate the condition of the park.
  5. What are your concerns about the park?
  6. Do you like the current layout of the park?
  7. What would be your top three priorities of the park?
  8. What is your opinion of the area of turf that was removed in the past year and a half? 
The survey is here.

Vote for District 3 projects
From D3 Councilmember Raul Peralez:  D3Decides is back for one final round. This year’s participatory budgeting program has $400,000 in funding. Choose up to FIVE projects to be funded by the City of San Jose. Projects with the most votes will be funded.
All D3 residents over the age of 15 that live, work, go to school, or worship in District 3 are eligible to vote. Information must be filled out in full to have ballot be counted.
Voting ends Dec. 5. 2020 Review the choices and submit your ballot here.

BART Phase II alignment survey (by Nov. 10)
VTA seeks feedback and information from small businesses to help prepare for construction of the future BART Phase II alignment through downtown San Jose. While construction will not start until 2022, work is under way to plan for construction outreach, communications, access and to understand business needs.  Feedback from small businesses along the alignment is critical for VTA to best understand community needs and be a good neighbor during construction.
The survey is available in six languages here and will accept responses through  Tuesday. 
VTA has created a map that shows the small businesses they would like to hear from. 
COVID-19 Links
Orange Tier Guidance
Santa Clara County entered the Orange Tier of the State’s COVID-19 framework on Oct. 14.  In this fourth week of Orange, we seem to be holding the status quo:  Revised Risk Reduction Order; Summary of what the changes mean in San José ; Order itself; Executive Summary.
Wildfire and Air Quality Resources
Wildfire Resources:
Air Quality Resources: Register for the Santa Clara County Emergency Alert System here
Heat and Power Outage Resources
Public Health Extreme Heat Resources: Fact Sheets from the CDC on those especially vulnerable to heat exhaustion and stroke.
More Local Resources for Businesses
If you are a business or property owner reaching out about vandalism, theft or property damage, you can submit an online police report here.

To report graffiti and things that need to be cleaned within the district, use the Groundwerx Everywhere app for iPhones or Android.
To report damage, graffiti or things that need to be cleaned in city parks/property or outside the district, use the San Jose 311 app for iPhone, visit or call 311.

Businesses who would like a free graffiti removal tool kit can send an email to with their contact information and an address. A kit will be delivered to your place of business. 

SJDA staff can help.  Our list of staff and emails are here.
Let us know how else we can help by replying to this email. We’ll have another message next Thursday. We're in this together.
Copyright © 2020 San Jose Downtown Association, All rights reserved.

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