coronavirus

Marco Bruschi

Younger adults are contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and a spike in confirmed cases statewide has led California's governor to reinstate shut-down orders for all bars, pubs and brewpubs. And while not ordered to do so, San Luis Obispo city officials announced Wednesday that the city's bars must too close as of July 2. 

As the effects of COVID-19 are felt around the world, the real estate and development industry are being impacted in different ways. Interest rates are at a historic low, yet fewer homes are on the market

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with experts from the Central Coast housing and real estate industry—Chris Richardson, president of Richardson Properties; Mary Trudeau, SLO division manager at the Mortgage House; and Lindy Hatcher, executive director of the Home Builders Association on the Central Coast—as they discuss how the global pandemic could reshape the U.S. real estate industry.

When everything hits at once it can feel like you are drowning—the weight of the world bears down on your chest and even the simplest of daily tasks can began to feel like rolling a boulder up a hill. If that sounds familiar, you're not alone. Since March there has been a 30% increase in reported depressive episodes in people who have not struggled with mental health before. With limited services available, where can people get help? Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about coping with stress overload, recognizing deep melancholy and building resilience while trying to care for children, family, friends and hoping to heal the world.

Courtesy of the SB Zoo

Zoos in California are welcoming the public back after being closed since mid-March. The gates of Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero reopened Wednesday, and director Alan Baker said it’s great seeing visitors again, since it was a bit eerie being at the zoo without visitors for so long.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Coast businesses has been immense. Results from a survey issued to local business owners by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce suggest severe impacts on the business community due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Jim Dantona, president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Jocelyn Brennan, president and CEO of the South County Chambers of Commerce, about the business and economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the Central Coast. They will discuss their efforts to assist businesses and organizations weather the closure, navigating confusing HR issues, and help businesses prepare for a safe, successful, and sustainable reopening of the economy.

What will student learning look like when the new school year starts? The San Luis Coastal Unified School District this week laid out different pandemic-prompted scenarios for how the district’s 7,500 students will attend classes in the fall.

Courtesy Ryan Joiner

California is giving the green light for movie theaters and gyms to reopen as of June 12, but not all businesses will be ready. KCBX News spoke to local gym and movie theater owners to find out what the hold up is and what it’ll be like for customers once doors reopen.

The use of face coverings or masks has become one of the biggest debates nationwide during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Santa Barbara and Monterey counties have adopted a mandatory mask ordinance. But in San Luis Obispo County, it’s up to individual towns to decide.

Tom Hilton/Flickr

The owners of San Luis Obispo County nail salons and tattoo parlors should start getting ready to reopen on or after June 19. That's the latest message from county health officials about the personal services sector.

E Walden Bohnet

High school graduation ceremonies continue around the Central Coast this week, although in a very different manner than in years past. 

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, emergency relief for undocumented immigrants recently became available in California, but demand outweighs the supply of cash. We’ll learn how the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB is repurposing 3D printers to make face shields for healthcare workers. And hear about the challenges facing small farmers in California due to COVID-19. We get an update on First 5 SLO County from director Wendy Wendt; the independent public agency, created by California’s Proposition 10, uses a tax on tobacco products to fund programs for children through age five and their families. The city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, talks about having to discourage vacationers due to the pandemic. And finally, we’ll learn about an award-winning book by UCSB professor emeritus Tonia Shimin featuring the art of her late father, Symeon Shimin.

COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations, including the LGBTQ+ community. According to research, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans are more likely to become unemployed as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests Michelle Call and David Weisman of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance (GALA), and Jamie Woolf, chair of Tranz Central Coast, as they discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the LGBTQ+ community of the Central Coast, and how Pride is shifting it’s a celebration this year. 

Angel Russell/KCBX

Retail, hair salons and in-restaurant dining services are reopening in San Luis Obispo County after weeks of closure, but the pandemic has changed the landscape of business as usual.

Child care is essential to the economic vitality of any city. Unfortunately, like many businesses and organizations, child care providers are suffering greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Join Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with several guests—Shana Paulson, children services manager with CAPSLO Child Care Resource Connection; Raechelle Bowlay, CAPSLO'S quality early learning manager and Child Care Planning Council coordinator; Monica Grant, CEO of the San Luis Obispo County YMCA; Kim Love, director of Bright Life Playschool in San Luis Obispo; and Jamie Sanbonmatsu, director of Valley View Children’s Center in Arroyo Grande and member of the We Are the Care Initiative—about the continuing need for child care in the community and the challenges providers face in re-opening amid the pandemic:

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, we hear from a SLO County infectious disease physician who is a key player in paving the way out of the pandemic shutdown; and from SLO supervisor Lynn Compton, who gives an update on the current status of the county's reopening plan. A founder of Lighthouse Atascadero talks about how the nonprofit has helped young people fight addiction since 1994, and how its programs have grown over the years. We’ll follow Father Ian as he hunts for local wild yeast in “Playing With Food,” capturing some yeast near a patch of poison oak and baking with it. And finally, we learn more about a fatal shark attack earlier in the month in waters off a state beach near Watsonville.

Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Heidi McPherson, CEO with the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County, Garret Olson, COVID-19 emergency operations manager with the SLO Food Bank, Lisa Fraser, executive director with the LINK Family Resource Center and the Center for Family Strengthening, and Janna Nichols, executive director with the Five Cities Homeless Coalition. They will be talking about the struggle of nonprofits to help meet the basic needs of the community as well as what a global depression could mean for their organizations and the local populations they help.

Greta Mart/KCBX

The news many have been looking forward to finally came Monday: California’s governor announced it is now up to individual counties to proceed on reopening after the two-month pandemic shutdown. San Luis Obispo County officials say the county is ready to go.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer talks with the city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, about the local government's response to the pandemic shutdown. As a popular seaside travel destination in recent decades, the economic health of Morro Bay has been dependent on tax revenue generated by hotel occupancy, retail sales, and rental income from waterfront business leases—all of which have plummeted due to COVID-19. For the first time in modern history, Morro Bay has instituted reverse tourism promotions to discourage visitors and vacationers.

Doug McKnight/KAZU

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Over the next three months, tens of thousands of migrant farmworkers will converge on the Central Coast to do something deemed essential in the time of COVID-19, harvest our food. The speciality crops farmed locally, like strawberries and leafy greens, require a lot of hand labor. But the dramatic increase in population could trigger a surge in COVID-19 cases.

In contrast to decades of positioning itself as a travel destination, this week San Luis Obispo County started airing online ads aimed at discouraging tourism from the Central Valley and elsewhere. On Friday, county officials went a step further.

 

Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 cases now total 1,376, including 895 cases from the  correctional complex in Lompoc, a federal prison. The northern part of the county continues to be the hardest hit by the virus, with 190 cases in the city of Santa Maria, compared to just 69 case within the city of Santa Barbara. As we have also seen nationally, the virus has had a disproportionate impact on the county’s racial and ethnic minorities. According to a recent presentation by the Santa Barbara Public Health Department, Hispanics make up less than half of the county’s population, but account for over 60% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases. What is the county doing to control the spread of the virus? Are their efforts to flatten the curve working? What is being done to assist the Latino community to prevent virus spread, access health care and care for basic needs?

CSU officials say virtual learning to continue into fall terms

May 12, 2020
Andrew Epperson

Cal Poly students may not be heading back to the San Luis Obispo campus in the fall, as there will be no in-person classes at California State University’s 23 schools next semester, according to the system's chancellor.

Nursing homes have been ravaged by coronavirus throughout the nation. Data shows that people who reside or work in long-term care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and a new report shows that as of April 23, 2020 there have been over 10,000 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (including residents and staff), in the 23 states that publicly report death data, representing 27% of deaths due to COVID-19 in those states.  So how is the Central Coast responding to the threat of COVID-19 in local long-term care facilities? What is being done to protect both residents and employees? And what is the future of nursing homes?

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

With the national shutdown, many aspects of our lives have been drastically disrupted.  But for those  looking forward to a special event like a wedding, graduation or new job, the loss of the celebration associated with this life event can be devastating.  Tune into this conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about dealing with—and helping others to navigate—the disappointment and even grief associated with not being able to experience and mark these major milestones. 

San Luis Obispo County officials have released a framework for reopening the county—called the START guide—emphasizing that it's a draft outline. At times contradictory, nevertheless the guide is designed to “give our business partners, our organizations, places of worship the best ideas about how they can begin planning in the days and weeks to come,” said the county’s health officer.

Courtesy Laura Foxx/Kevin Harris

The Central Coast is known for its many gifted artists—across the spectrum of mediums and disciplines—who choose to live and create here. Via Zoom, we checked in with two local performance artists to learn how they are adapting during the pandemic shutdown, and the shuttering of their livelihoods.

UNESCO recently reported 192 countries had closed schools and colleges around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting more than 90% of the world’s learners; around 1.6 billion children and young people.

SLO County

On Wednesday, the name of San Luis Obispo County’s reopening plan was revealed—the START guide, or ‘Steps To Adapt and Reopen Together.’ Expected to be released Friday, county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it’s not going to be a set-in-stone plan.

Courtesy army.mil

It’s been seven weeks since Central Coast schools closed in-person classrooms and began teaching students virtually. The change was radical and abrupt.

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