Facebook Journalism Project - COVID-19 Reporting

Facebook Journalism Project - COVID-19 Reporting

RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: On Friday, Sheldon's Station in La Mesa prepared for reopening with new socially distanced tables. The owner told ECM  that despite offering curbside pickup, he's lost approximately 60% of his business since the shutdown began in mid-March and has not received any federal aid, for which he applied.

May 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On social media, East County residents shared reactions to decisions by state and county officials allowing restaurants to reopen for dine-in service and retailers to allow customers inside stores after a two-month closure due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

While some voiced joy at savoring a meal out, other expressed trepidation.  Local healthcare officials, politicians and activists have also weighed in with their views on the easing up of restrictions.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

REV. SHANE PROTESTS CUTS TO LIBRARY FUNDING ON BIRTHDAY OF MALCOLM X

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Brian Goodin: Rev. Shane Harris, outside Malcolm X Library, speaks out to protect library funding

May 23, 2020 (San Diego) – Civil rights leader Rev. Shane Harris with the People’s Alliance for Justice held a press conference to protest library budget cuts at the Malcolm X Library in San Diego on May 20th, birthday of the slain human rights leader for whom the library is named.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

May 22, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council has approved allocating over $800,000 of its Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds for several COVID response programs.  These funds were granted to the City as part of the federal CARES Act.

Per City Council direction, a large portion of the funds will be used for rental and utility assistance to help those most vulnerable to loss of employment.

Due to limited funding, there is a limit to the first 150 eligible applicants. Online and over the phone applications will be accepted through the following service providers beginning Tuesday,May 26, 2020:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

CASINO PAUMA TO REMAIN TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR SAFETY OF ITS GUESTS, COMMUNITY AND EMPLOYEES

East County News Service

May 22, 2020 (Pauma Valley) – Bucking the trend of several local casinos that reopened this week or have announced upcoming reopening dates, Casino Pauma on Wednesday announced that it will remain closed indefinitely, choosing to following the advice of Governor Gavin Newsom and health officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

By Helen Horvath

Photo, left:  Worker sanitize chips, cards and table with UV lighting; screenshot from Viejas video

On May 18, 2020, the Viejas tribe took the bold leadership step of reopening Viejas Casino & Resort in collaboration with other tribal nations in San Diego in advance of the Stage 3 opening recommended by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom.

 ECM visited the casino on opening day, speaking with employees, guests and a union official about their experiences and the many changes in place due to COVID-19.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

Find farm-fresh meats, eggs, fruits and veggies, flowers, honey, nuts, soaps, wool and fiber goods, pumpkin patches,  nursery plants, trees, wineries and more
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Miriam Raftery and creative commons images via Bing
 
May 21, 2020 (San Diego) – East County Magazine has compiled our region’s most comprehensive guide to local farms, ranches, nurseries and wineries offering direct-to-consumer sales through farm visits, u-pick orchards, curbside pickup, deliveries to neighborhood pickup points through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, shipping directly to homes, sales at farm stands, or at farmer’s markets.  
 
San Diego County is home to more family farms (10 acres or less) than any other county in America—giving consumers here a delicious field of choices. Farm-fresh foods are nutritious and delicious. Many are organic. Plus you can avoid grocery store lines and get specialty items not available in stores. 
 
Our guide includes sources to buy these locally grown products:
 
  • Christmas trees
  • Ciders and apples
  • Eggs
  • Emu products
  • Farmer’s markets 
  • Fiber and wool products
  • Flowers, herbs and herbal products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Hemp
  • Honey
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Nuts
  • Plants and trees
  • Pumpkin patches
  • Seeds
  • Soaps
  • Wineries and vineyards

 

Scroll down to view our full directory for each of these local farm product categories.

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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

STATE APPROVES SAN DIEGO PLAN TO REOPEN DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND IN-STORE RETAIL SHOPPING

County still awaits word on proposed pilot program to accelerate some stage 3 openings including salons, gyms, pools, outdoor worship and youth sports practices

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

May 20, 2020 (San Diego) – “Great news for restaurants and retailers! The state just approved our plan to allow dine-in service and in-person retail sales,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob announced moments ago on Facebook. These businesses now need to complete and post a safe reopening plan to comply with social distancing and other requirements. View: Guidelines for restaurants; guidelines for retailers.

On Tuesday, Supervisors approved two measures to accelerate reopening of the economy countywide. The first sent recommendations to the state to reopen our county’s restaurants and retailers within days. The Governor and California’s Dept. of Public Health approved those recommendations today. The measure does not include bars, breweries, distilleries or wineries.

The second measure passed by supervisors is still awaiting a decision by state officials. That measure calls for a pilot program that if approved, would allow San Diego County to move partially into stage 3 by reopening hair and nail salons, gym and fitness facilities, pools at apartment complexes, outdoor religious services, and research labs. In addition, youth sports could start up for practices only, no games, in groups of 12 or less. Therapeutic and peer support groups could also resume meeting in groups of up to 12 people.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

SANTEE COUNCIL RESPONDS TO RACIST MASK INCIDENTS, SIGNALS CHALLENGE TO TERM LIMIT MEASURE

 

By Mike Allen

Video by Ana Nita: discussion on racial incidents

May 16, 2020 (Santee) -- In the wake of two nationally-publicized racial incidents inside local grocery stores earlier this month, the Santee City Council voted on May 13 to confront the issue by expanding a community police board that will develop strategies for addressing intolerance. The incidents involved shoppers who wore masks with hate symbols during a county health order mandating masks in stores to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Mayor John Minto, who publicly denounced the incidents soon after they occurred, said he spent many hours talking with residents about what happened, and is convinced the city cannot ignore or simply shrug it off.

“We have to understand why and where it’s happening,” Minto said. “We’re going to triage it, find out where most of the worst symptoms are, and bring people together.”


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

SUPERVISORS TO VOTE ON ACCELERATED REOPENING PLAN AFTER GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors will vote on a plan to allow reopening of the local economy at an accelerated pace in conformance with new state rules, the county has announced. The action follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement yesterday of new state guidelines that will allow the vast majority of California counties to move quickly through phase two.

You can watch the meeting online or join via phone to view the discussion on reopening, which is item 5 on the agenda.

If the state approves San Diego’s plans, among the first businesses to benefit could be retailers allowed to have customers inside stores. Dining in at restaurants could also resume in the near future. Both would require social distancing, masks, health and sanitation plans submitted by each business. In addition, Governor Newsom has indicated that hair salons, church gatherings and professional sports without spectators could start up again as early as June.

The Governor estimates that 53 of 58 counties could meet the new criteria, aimed at allowing those areas with lower levels of COVID-19 and that meet certain requirements to reopen sooner than those with high levels.  Requirements include:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

LOCAL COVID-19 RESOURCES CENTER

LOCAL COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTER

East County Magazine's Local COVID-19 Resource Center is your comprehensive guide to official health information on the coronavirus and local healthcare services.

Check back often! We are updating our local COVID-19 Resource Center regularly. If you have a suggested resource to add, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

Our special section also has information on local businesses, restaurants and farms open or operating online. You can also learn where to get help for individuals, families, workers, immigrants,  businesses and organizations. Our guide lists help and resources through local cities, San Diego County, California tate and federal sources as well as private and philanthropic organizations.

Help includes grants, loans, stimulus funds,  emergency food distributions, rides, seminars for business owners, education resources, activities to do at home, working from home tips, financial relief for renters and homeowners, relief from utility and insurance bills, resources for crime victims, mental health, abuse and addiction services including virtual meetings, how to file for unemployment and other aid, scams to avoid, volunteer opporutnities, emergency alert services, and more.

We thank Grossmont Healthcare District for generously underwriting the creation of our Local Covid-19 Resource Center and the Facebook Journalism Project for funding expansion and updating of these vital resources.

To view our local COVID-19 resource center, click here or scroll down.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

LA MESA APPROVES REOPENING SOME PARKS, WAIVING BUSINESS LICENSE FEES, AND RELIEF WITH CARES ACT FUNDS

By Jake Zawlacki

May 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On May 12th, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved three considerations brought to the Council to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19, reopen some parks, and allocate federal CARES Act funds to help the homeless and others.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

JAMUL CASINO TO BEGIN PHASED RE-OPENING ON MAY 18, 2020

Opening with enhanced cleaning protocols and technology after COVID-19 closure, casino also offers take-out dinners with phase-in of restaurants planned

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 15, 2020 (Jamul) -- After a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamul Casino today announced a phased-in reopening.  On May 18, a soft reopening at 10 a.m. is planned for its Sweetwater Rewards Club VIP guests (amber level and above), followed by a public reopening on May 20. Hours will be limited from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. until May 21, when 24-hour gaming operations are slated to resume.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

LOCAL RANCHERS AND FARMERS GROW NEW BUSINESS MODELS DURING PANDEMIC

By Miriam Raftery

Updated May 14, 2020

April 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Zoom our Zoo is an online, real-time animal show tailored for your audience,” a message at the Oasis Camel Dairy website reads. 

Owners of the Ramona-based family business face high costs to feed and care for their camels, exotic performing birds, racing turkeys and other animals without public events during the COVID-19 pandemic. So now they are offering interactive programs online to liven up corporate events or entertain kids with virtual birthday parties featuring “camel capers and parrot pranks” through Zoom – for a fee.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

TWO MORE LOCAL CASINOS ANNOUNCE REOPENING PLANS, BUT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER OPPOSES ACTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo: Sycuan Casino

Updated May 14 with additional information from County Public Health Officer Wilima Wooten

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Following Viejas’ announced plans to reopen its casino on May 18, Sycuan and Valley View casinos have unveiled plans to reopen on May 19 and 21. All are on Native American reservations, and each has detailed plans for modifications aimed at protecting safety of the public and guests including face masks, sanitation procedures and social distancing.

However in a press conference today,  San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten voiced concerns and indicated that the county does not agree with the casinos’ reopening plans.  “If. they do open and ignore our request not to open, then we would definitely have to ensure that they put stringent practices in place to help protect the public health. But opening up casinos will cause a risk to our public health. That is very clear; it creates gatherings of individuals,” she stated.

Later she indicated the county has reached out to the federal government to potentially block the casinos from reopening, NPR reports. 

Tribal reservations are considered sovereign nations that make their own laws, however state and federal officials do have some powers to intervene if public health is at risk. It remains to be seen whether authorities will allow the casino openings to proceed, or take steps to require modifications or prevent openings.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

COVID-19 DISRUPTS REGULAR HEALTHCARE, BUT ELECTIVE SURGERIES CAN RESUME

By Kendra Sitton

Photo:  Telehealth is increasingly being used to provide patients access to physicians (CC by NC-ND)

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Governor Gavin Newsom is lifting some hospital restrictions on elective surgeries, bringing parts of the healthcare system back online. COVID-19 has yet to overwhelm hospitals locally, but in preparation, only essential surgeries were conducted for the past two months. Other medical offices switched to telehealth options or shut down completely. For some patients, particularly in East County, health care has gotten harder to access.

In a survey of 1200 cancer patients and survivors, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) found half of them had care that was impacted by the virus. A quarter of those who were impacted had treatment that was delayed and 13% do not know when their care will be rescheduled.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

IN TOWNHALL, LOCAL LEADERS ANSWER QUESTIONS OVER COVID-19 AND REOPENING LOCAL VENUES

By Miriam Raftery

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob hosted a virtual town hall last Thursday along with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. They provided updates on the COVID-19 pandemic locally, addressed ideas for  more businesses, churches and other paces to reopen, and fielded questions submitted by constituents.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

EAST COUNTY RALLIES TO HELP THE NEEDY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Emmet Pierce

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- While East County residents anxiously wait out the COVID-19 pandemic, community groups and concerned citizens are rallying to help those in need.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

A WINNING BET? VIEJAS CASINO PREPARES TO REOPEN WITH CHANGES TO PROTECT GUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

May 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With casinos, hotels and other tribal enterprises shut down since March due to COVID-19 as stay-home orders remain in effect statweide, San Diego’s Native American tribes have been hard-hit economically. In addition to losing gaming revenues, many tribal members also lost their jobs. For non-gaming tribes that depend largely on shared revenues from tribes with casinos, some tribal members still live below the poverty level, so the consequences of the shut-down have been severe.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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