COVID 2021

COVID PM: Back to the purple tier and what that means for us

Happy Monday night, folks: While we’ve got a concerning bit of weather on the way, we also received some very good news on the COVID front today.

Though it’s not looking like a very good week for outdoor dining, our struggling establishments have at least gotten the green light via a move out of stay-at-home order mode and back to the purple tier.

Along with that news, we’ve got a deeper dive into how this second round of PPP money is being viewed by local businesses, official word of the county’s latest (and potentially largest) vaccination outlet opening up and the continuation of a positive trend line with our county COVID data.

Be sure to tell those who should be in the know to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here. They can also just text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524. Now for today’s top headlines.

The return of outdoor dining, haircuts and more

A group of diners enjoy a toast on the newly reopened patio at Eastside Eatery with server and manager Tessa Schaller.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Staff)

Outdoor dining, hair and nail salons, barber shops, and gyms had been completely closed since the Bay Area stay-at-home order was imposed on Dec. 17. The purple tier means they can re-open under certain restrictions. Read Mallory Pickett’s story about a business that pivoted right away.

The next round of PPP support is here; who’s going for it and why?

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Hundreds of millions of dollars flowed to Santa Cruz County companies during the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program. With the pandemic still raging, many are heading back for another potential round of funding before a March 31 deadline. Lookout freelance contributor Paula Dobbyn takes a deep dive here.

COVID TODAY: Santa Cruz Health Officer Gail Newel warned last week that Santa Cruz remains in a serious situation, as the county’s 14-day average of confirmed cases is now close to 140, according to state data. But this figure has been declining since it reached a high of 203.6 around Jan. 13. Read more about local positivity rate and ICU capacity here.

VACCINE WATCH: A drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens for eligible people at the Watsonville Fairgrounds this week. Here’s what you need to know.

More from here & elsewhere

Bay Area hospital won’t receive COVID vaccine after teachers given doses before frontliners, elderly (SF GATE)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30, subsidize rent for low-income tenants under proposal (LA Times)
New coronavirus variants are an urgent threat. Here’s what you need to know (LA Times)
‘Too little, too late’: California small businesses chase COVID-19 relief (CalMatters)
Ideas to help people in nursing homes dealing with isolation on top of the pandemic (LA Times)
Mammoth and Tahoe ski resorts reopen lodgings after rollback of state’s COVID order (LA Times)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

This was a question submitted during our COVID 2021 event last week that County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel, an obstetrician-gynecologist, answered.

Q: There are rumors or ideas going around that the vaccines could cause infertility and also questions about whether people should get it if they’re pregnant.

A: “The American College of OBGYN strongly encourages pregnant women to get a vaccine. They do recommend speaking with their obstetrician or midwife, or whoever’s doing their prenatal care prior to that. But they do recommend that they get vaccinated. Breastfeeding, same, but if you’d like to talk with your pediatric provider that would be a good idea, as well. In terms of fertility, I’ve just started hearing these rumors. There is no medical reason why this vaccine would create infertility, or any other problems. It definitely doesn’t cause gender change. That’s another thing that’s going around. It doesn’t cause ... RNA mutations. And so there’s, there’s just no evidence that, just the way the vaccine works, that any of these things could even be possible. Not even conceivable.”

Have a question for us to try and get answered? Submit it here or just reply to this email.

See you all tomorrow.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor