COVID-19

Angel Russell

San Luis Obispo County’s Pismo Preserve drew record crowds over Thanksgiving, leading to concerns that some hikers were not following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced most of the state will come under a stricter set of limitations as intensive care units reach near-capacity levels with the latest surge in coronavirus cases.

Regional stay-at-home orders will likely go into effect "in the next day or two" in places with less than 15% ICU availability, Newsom explained in a daily briefing with reporters.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to widespread economic impacts. Rising unemployment has left a record number of individuals in possible housing insecurity due to loss of income as a result of shelter-at-home orders, quarantines, illness, school closures, and other COVID-related factors. In August, nine prominent institutes and organizations released new research that concluded that 30-40 million people in America are at risk of losing their homes by the end of 2020. What type of housing assistance is available during these difficult times? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Central Coast legal experts—Kate Lee, attorney with Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, and Sadie Weller, attorney with San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation—as they discuss avenues available for rent and mortgage relief as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

On this week's edition of Issues & Ideas: Since the beginning of the pandemic, facilities that care for the elderly have been hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. A new report says nationwide new cases in nursing homes have reached record numbers in November. You’ll hear from Michael Latner of Cal Poly, discussing partisanship, polls and what could change going forward in our country's elections. And we’ll learn about the nonprofit BraveMove.org from its founder and executive director Paul Monroe. He speaks about his experiences which led him to teaching and the work he does to help others succeed. And finally, many on the Central Coast book airline tickets through hubs like Los Angeles or San Francisco. But how safe are those larger airports? Doug Yakel with the San Francisco International Airport talks about COVID-19 holiday travel precautions at the airport.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from San Francisco International Airport, where he visits with public information officer Doug Yakel to learn about the facility’s COVID-Safe initiatives.

Angel Russell

Locally-based stores and companies are hoping for big crowds this weekend on Small Business Saturday, with many of them looking to recoup for losses due to the pandemic.

Joe Johnston/San Luis Obispo Tribune

Enjoying nature while preserving it is an age-old conflict in California, but nowhere is it more fraught than at Oceano Dunes. Can off-roading and endangered species coexist?

Angel Russell

With California's purple tier COVID-19 restrictions, gyms can only be open for outdoor workouts. But a coalition of more than 25 fitness centers throughout San Luis Obispo County are vowing to keep their indoor operations going, despite any fines that may come their way.

Data shows that immigrants are among those hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19. In California, undocumented immigrants represent 10% of the workforce, and paid approximately $2.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2019. Immigrants do the essential work that sustains us all, yet they have been excluded from many of the federal COVID-19 relief assistance programs. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with guests working as part of the collaborative effort with SLO County UndocuSupport and 805 Undocufund—Joel Diringer, San Luis Obispo County community health advocate; Genevieve Flores-Haro, associate director of the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project; Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, program director for the Center for Family Strengthening and Promotores Collaborative of SLO County; and Mariana Gutierrez, Family Resource Center program supervisor with Community Action Partnership of SLO County (CAPSLO)—as they discuss how to to provide financial relief to meet the basic and emergency needs of immigrants.

SLO County Office of Education

With San Luis Obispo County moving into California's most restrictive COVID-19 tier, the SLO County Office of Education hosted a “returning to school safely” webinar to explain to parents what that now means for them.

Businesses across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are being asked to close once again after California’s governor "pulled the emergency brake" on COVID-19 reopening plans.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in SLO County, the city of San Luis Obispo says it’ll be stepping up enforcement to ensure people are complying with public health bans on gatherings and other pandemic-related restrictions.

Angel Russell/KCBX

The outlook for San Luis Obispo County in terms of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a turn for the worse. SLO County is currently in the red tier, but health officials warn the current case count indicates a purple tier is looming. 

MARELBU/wikimedia commons

With tens of thousands of people living on the streets of California, the homelessness crisis is not slowing down, but a San Luis Obispo city grant aims to help alleviate the problem in the downtown area.

DOD

As coronavirus cases continue to rise across the U.S. and the Central Coast, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base say it will be one of the first places to receive a new COVID-19 vaccine in the next few weeks.

Charles Bell

In honor of Veterans Day, correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. Garrison Commander Charles Bell and Garrison HHC 1SG Clinton Unger share their passions and insights for the United States Army Reserve’s active duty soldiers, spouses and veterans. Colonel Bell also explains the status of COVID-19 preventative measures at Hunter Liggett.

Templeton Recreation department

Youth sports competitions are still prohibited in California due to COVID-19 restrictions. But recreation departments throughout SLO County say they have been getting creative in finding ways for children to get athletic.

The coronavirus crisis has made both businesses and individuals rethink the way they do things, and also what they do. While many businesses and employees are struggling to survive COVID-19 and may just be looking to adapt, for others the crisis is an opportunity to reinvent themselves. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Central Coast organizations that are working to meet these needs. In our first half-hour, Fred speaks with mentors from SCORE of San Luis Obispo—Horace Morana and Carol Kerwin. SCORE of San Luis Obispo has been helping small businesses start and grow for over 30 years and are working to address concerns during this difficult time. In the second half -hour, Fred speaks with SLO Partners' Paula Mathias-Fryer and Luke Wallace. SLO Partners is taking the lead in creating upskilling opportunities for our local workforce by supporting those looking for new career opportunities by training them with skills in demand by local businesses. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

As many schools throughout the state remain shuttered due to COVID-19, San Luis Obispo County public schools are allowing more students for in-person instruction this week. 

Ralphs Pharmacy

Pharmacies at a few local grocery stores are now offering antibody testing, but the efficacy of the tests is still in question. 

Courtesy of the candidates

As of Sunday night, 63 percent of SLO County voters have already cast their votes in the current election. 

But of those still filling out their ballot—or planning to head to the polls Tuesday—some will be weighing in on who will fill two open seats on the San Luis Obispo city council. Just under 31,000 people in San Luis Obispo are voting on that race. 

Courtesy of the Waage/Shadwell campaigns

Like in several Central Coast cities this election, Pismo Beach residents are deciding on the next mayor, two or more city council seats and a tax measure.

Courtesy of Dan Wells

A new study released by UC Davis says 110,000 Californians purchased a firearm due to the pandemic, and about 43% of those purchases were made by first-time gun owners. 

While we know that COVID-19 and school closures have been a hardship for parents and children, what has been the impact on teachers? After quickly pivoting to distance learning this spring and fall, local teachers face continued Covid-19 fears as school districts decide whether to reopen in person in coming weeks and months, while many juggle their own family’s well-being. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with the president of the Atascadero District Teachers Association and full time Atascadero High School teacher at Christine Williams and Emily Cappellano, president of the San Luis Coastal Teachers Association and a 3rd grade teacher, as they discuss how classroom educators are coping during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their thoughts on upcoming plans to return to the classroom. 

Angel Russell

Local restaurant owners have been under pressure since the start of the coronavirus pandemic; now the colder temperatures and rain will bring new challenges as outdoor dining continues.

Courtesy of the SLO Symphony

The performing arts industry is taking a huge hit during the COVID-19 crisis, without much direction for an eventual reopening.

For many businesses right now, the income is dried up, employees are taking pay cuts and the future remains uncertain as doors stay shut.

In an attempt to light the way for the industry, local arts administrators are taking action. The Central Coast Coalition of Arts Leaders (CCCOAL) recently reached out to the state and San Luis Obispo County health departments with the goal of prioritizing the industry’s reopening.

Courtesy of motel6.com

A Motel 6 in Paso Robles will be converted to provide over a hundred rooms for emergency and permanent housing for homeless individuals,  a project expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all families, but for families caring for children with disabilities, it can be especially challenging. According to the last US Census Report, one in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability. How are they coping? What resources are there for them in the community? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Kaycie Roberts, executive director with the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center, member of the San Luis Obispo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committee and parent of a child with autism; April Lewallen, board chair of the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center and V.P. with PathPoint' and Rebekah Koznek, parent and chair of the Community Advisory Committee (C.A.C.) with SELPA, as they discuss how they are coping during the pandemic.

Angel Russell

The state off-roading park at Oceano Dunes in San Luis Obispo County will partially reopen next week as part of a three-phase plan. The dunes have been closed to vehicles and camping access since mid-March.

Urban Institute, "Housing and Land-Use Implications of Split-Roll Property Tax Reform in California," October 2020

When Californians approved Proposition 13 in 1978, critics of the landmark ballot measure say voters did not foresee many of the unintended consequences of capping property taxes on both residential and commercial land: lower school funding, cash-strapped cities, major corporate tax benefits.

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