Oakland, CA

New masking mandates imposed in Bay Area, program launched to help feed unhoused residents and more

Refugio Garcia

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New mask guidance for East Bay counties

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The California Department of Health imposed a new masking mandate Wednesday in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 after cases spiked by 47% percent in the state since Thanksgiving, ABC reports.

Health officials also cited a 14% increase in hospitalizations over the same span of time. The new mandate applies to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, and will be in place until January 15, 2022. Health officials said Monday that additional recommendations are in response to the pandemic.

Here's what to expect:

Alameda County lifted the masking exemption for fully vaccinated individuals on Dec. 8, so area residents won’t see any change. However, the City of Berkeley is the exception in the county and will allow fully vaccinated people to be maskless in certain settings such as gyms and offices.

Contra Costa County will allow area residents to go maskless in certain indoor settings like gyms and offices.

Solano County didn’t have a mask mandate in place previously but will now impose an indoor mask mandate with no exceptions.

These Oakland restaurants are adding a surcharge to help feed unhoused residents

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Diners enjoying a meal at some Oakland restaurants may see a 1% surcharge added to their bill – money that will go towards feeding unhoused residents in the area, KTVU reports.

The money will be used to fund a program called Dining for Justice through the Oakland non-profit Community Kitchens. The owners of Luka's Taproom and Lounge, Rick Mitchell and his wife Maria Alderete, are currently working to get the program off the ground.

Participating restaurants hope to raise $2-$3 million annually through the surcharge to provide meals to homeless residents.

So far, 20 restaurants have signed up to participate in the program with a goal of at least 200. The program and surcharge is slated to begin jan. 10.

"We were hoping to launch this during a robust recovery. But that's on the restaurant end. On the need end, the need is greater than ever," Mitchell said.

Oakland’s Chop Bar and Calavera will have the surcharge but will make it optional for diners, according to restaurant owner, Chris Pastena.

"Without funding, none of this works right. We are not able to feed people that are underserved in our community. So we do need the funding. And this is the way to get the funding," said Pastena.

The funds will also be used to help keep restaurant staff employed amid the financial strain many establishments have endured throughout the pandemic.

Man with airsoft gun shot by San Pablo police

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Officers were dispatched to a grocery store located at Rumrill Blvd. and Market Ave. in north Richmond Wednesday after receiving reports that a man in the parking lot was holding a gun, KRON4 reports.

The man drove away from the scene as officers approached but was pulled over on Market Avenue at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Officers witnessed the man holding what they later learned was an airsoft gun. As officers approached, the man refused to comply with the officer’s commands and instead held the gun to his chest and mimicked sliding and reloading it.

San Pablo police say the man then turned towards the approaching officers and that’s when four of them opened fire, striking him several times.

The man received medical treatment for his wounds but died while being taken to the hospital.

Authorities have not released the man’s identity but the grocery store employee who made the initial call described him as white man in his 40s. It was later discovered that he was Hispanic.

An investigation into the shooting has been launched by the Department of Justice, Contra Costa County District Attorney, and San Pablo police.

The four officers who opened fire Wednesday have been placed on administrative leave.

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