Jun 14

As California reopens, vaccinations remain key to ending the pandemic

Posted on June 14, 2021 at 5:51 pm by Clay Curtin

As California lifts most COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, June 15, the all eligible individuals are encouraged to take advantage of free vaccination clinics.

As of 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2021, California moves “Beyond the Blueprint,” which ends the color-coded reopening tier systems and lifts most restrictions on businesses. The County of San Mateo fully aligns with all state COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and has no plans to impose separate guidance. 

As of June 15, 2021, there are no longer capacity or distancing requirements for most businesses or public settings.

Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing face coverings outdoors and indoors – with the following exceptions:
  • On public transit (buses, ride-shares, taxis, airplanes, trains, ferries)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, child care and other youth settings
  • Health care settings and long-term care facilities
  • Correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, cooling centers
Businesses, public agencies and other organizations may still require face coverings, for both employees and members of the public. Most public agency employees are currently required to wear facial coverings in alignment with Cal-OSHA’s workplace safety requirements. Cal-OSHA is expected to provide an update to guidance later this week.

Vaccination availability
Anyone age 12 and older can be vaccinated free in San Mateo County. Vaccines are widely available at health care providers as well as certain pharmacies and other locations.

San Mateo County Health operates or supports numerous clinics with a focus on areas with low vaccination rates. To find a vaccine site near you, view the county’s vaccine clinic calendar

The county is also collaborating with local groups to bring targeted vaccine pop up events to groups of 25 or more. You can request an event at least two weeks in advance.
The state’s MyTurn website provides a list of vaccine clinics and appointments are now optional. Visit MyTurn.ca.gov for more information.  

COVID-19 testing
Testing remains an important strategy in continuing to reduce the spread of the disease and to protect individuals who have not been vaccinated. Testing is available for all ages, including young children and infants, and all testing sites now use more comfortable testing methods by swabbing the front part of the nose or mouth.

People who are vaccinated or unvaccinated should be tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Unvaccinated persons should be tested if they have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 or have concerns about being infected or exposed.

View the county’s testing website for more information about locations and schedules. In addition to these sites, testing is also available from health care providers and other community organizations.

May 31

State announces “Vax for the Win” lottery to promote vaccinations

Posted on May 31, 2021 at 5:17 pm by Clay Curtin

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new incentive program to reward Californians who get fully vaccinated. Vax for the Win will distribute prize monies in three ways – drawings for $15 million in prize money, $50,000 Fridays, and $50 gift cards.

Ten winners will be selected on June 15 to receive $1.5 million each. All Californians who have had at least one COVID-19 dose will automatically be entered.

Thirty people will win $50,000 each. On Friday, June 4, and again Friday, June 11, 15 people will be selected in the $50,000 drawing. Everyone with at least one COVID-19 dose in the state of California will be automatically entered to win.

In addition to the drawing for prize money, the first 2 million Californians who start and complete their COVID-19 vaccination process after May 27 will be eligible for a $50 incentive card. This portion of the program will run until 2 million incentive cards are distributed. Residents do not have to book through My Turn to qualify for this incentive. They must be vaccinated at a site in California that reports to the statewide vaccination registry (CAIR), including in-home vaccination services. Vaccine clinics will not take on any additional responsibilities for the $50 incentive card program. The state has posted a printable flyer (English | Spanish) and an FAQ with key information for clinics to share with residents.

View the State’s Vax for the Win website for more program details.

May 24

Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides internet discounts

Posted on May 24, 2021 at 8:36 pm by Clay Curtin

As part of the COVID-19 federal stimulus package, qualified residents can enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which offers discounts of $50-70 on broadband internet service. This new benefit will help connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms and so much more. 

Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Visit fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit to see if you qualify and for more information, including which providers are participating.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program
There are three ways for eligible households to apply:
  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:
    Emergency Broadband Support Center
    P.O. Box 7081
    London, KY 40742
After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan. Check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ for more information about the benefit. 

Various broadband providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit.