Quick Take:

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Happy weekend time, everyone — here’s what was happening on the COVID/vaccine/recovery front on the final Friday of April:

HOMELESS FUNDING: County officials are hoping a surge of federal funding will alleviate concerns about emergency homeless programs being left in the lurch.
DOWNTOWN REBOOT: With more empty storefronts on Pacific Avenue than anyone can remember, the city of Santa Cruz has gotten creative with an incentive-laden plan for entrepreneurs centered around pop-up businesses.

Those headlines …

Emergency sheltering for homeless could get a boost

Homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park
Homeless encampment at San Lorenzo Park Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

RECOVERY: To date, Santa Cruz County has pandemic-related funding secured through September for a 275-unit emergency shelter program that reserves hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness. Additional federal funding that could soon come the county’s way should help officials keep about 100 units operational for another three months. More from Patrick Riley on this here.

Putting some pop back into downtown

The vacant storefronts of downtown Santa Cruz.
The vacant storefronts of downtown Santa Cruz. Credit: Via City of Santa Cruz

COVID ECONOMY: The “Downtown Pops!” plan spearheaded by the city’s economic development department has been in the works for several months as part of a larger effort to revitalize the local economy after a year that devastated not only lives, but Santa Cruz’s bottom line. More on that here from Isabella Cueto.

More from our content partners

People walk along the Venice Beach boardwalk on Monday. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

PANDEMIC LIFE: Mental health services wane as insurers appear to skirt parity rules during pandemic (Kaiser Health News)

VACCINE WATCH: California has given 30 million COVID-19 vaccinations, but demand may be dropping (LA Times)

COVID TODAY: COVID-19 surges in Oregon, sickening younger adults and forcing a return to restrictions (LA Times)

VACCINE WATCH: Vaccine companies and the U.S. government snubbed WHO initiative to scale up global manufacturing (LA Times)

More from here & elsewhere

U.S. to restrict travel from India over COVID starting Tuesday (LA Times)
Mumbai closes COVID vaccine centers as India’s health services buckle (NBC News)
How India’s crisis is inflaming global vaccine inequality (NBC News)
Coronavirus deaths are down in the US, and vaccines may be partly responsible (CNN)
India Is Counting Thousands of Daily COVID Deaths. How Many Is It Missing? (NPR)
Emergent’s spotty track record: What years of inspection reports show about firm tasked with helping make vaccine (ABC News)
CDC finds some COVID-19 vaccine reactions actually due to anxiety (ABC News)
So you missed your 2nd COVID shot. Now what? (ABC News)
Two California men arrested at airport in Hawaii for COVID-19 violations, police say (SF Gate)

Talking food on Tuesday

SC Eats

Santa Cruz Eats!” is part of Lookout’s COVID 2021 series, a special initiative to do deep reporting and community engagement on the pandemic — and economic recovery.

Damani Thomas, owner and chef at Oswald; Brad Briske, co-owner and chef of HOME in Soquel; and Gema Cruz, chef at Gabriella Cafe, will join Lookout for a virtual conversation at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, hosted by Lookout food contributor Amber Turpin and me.

Click here to register for this awesome, FREE event.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you Monday.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

Follow Mark Conley on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Mark joins Lookout after 14 years at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, where he served as Deputy Sports Editor on a staff that covered three...