District 5 Updates – Important COVID-19 Information
Important COVID-19 Information: Please Read
This is a lengthy update, however the information below is very important. Please take a few minutes to review the information and as always, contact me if you need further assistance.
2021 is shaping up to be an exceptional year. At our first Board of Supervisors meeting, we welcomed Josh Pedroza, representing District 2. Supervisor Pedroza filled the seat formally held by Lee Lor. I am looking forward to working with Josh and tackling the challenges Merced County and the westside are facing.
As COVID-19 rages through Merced County and our hospitals and health care facilities are beyond maximum capacity, we have finally received our initial vaccine doses and have begun implementing our distribution plan. Please see below for detailed information and the new website.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Merced County launched a new website regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. The vaccination website, www.vaccinatemercedcounty.com, includes a “Vaccine Interest Survey” where users can answer a few short questions, determine their vaccination category (see image) and sign up to be notified when they are eligible to be vaccinated.
Those currently eligible for the vaccine may be notified directly through their employers or care providers; however, eligibility will soon expand to include additional groups within our community. This tool will serve as a way for the County to communicate with, and inform members of the public when they become eligible in future phases of the vaccine distribution plan.
In accordance with updated State guidelines, Merced County is currently in Phase 1A of its distribution plan, and seniors 65+ will begin to receive vaccinations this week. Those in the Phase 1A category and seniors 65 years and older can use the www.vaccinatemercedcounty.com vaccination website to register for further instructions and priority vaccination information. Those who are eligible to be vaccinated at an upcoming clinic while supply is available will receive a link to a State of California registration site.
Due to a limited vaccine supply, and to efficiently administer available doses, eligible individuals will be vaccinated by appointment. Register at www.vaccinatemercedcounty.com. Additional vaccination sites and options are planned and will be activated as the vaccine becomes more widely available.
Due to the State’s vaccine distribution formula, Merced County has received fewer vaccine doses than neighboring counties. We are strongly advocating for larger quantities and have been successful in those efforts to secure additional vaccine doses. A total of 975 doses are available to be administered this week through the Public Health vaccination clinics.
The “Vaccinate Merced County” website will be periodically updated as new information becomes available or as the State changes vaccination eligibility criteria. Individuals using the website to receive a vaccination are required to attest that they are submitting correct information, which will then be validated through documentation at the vaccination site. Additional details will be available on the website.
In addition to vaccinations, the website will also include a feature where community volunteers can sign up to assist with the vaccination efforts in a capacity that fits their abilities and schedules.
Dos Palos O’Banion Park Community Workshop
Merced County is applying for a State grant to improve O’Banion Park in Dos Palos. A workshop will be held at the park on Saturday, January 30 at 10 a.m. to ask for residents’ input on the type of safety and beautification features that would be best for the park.
The grant can provide as much as $8.5 million for park renovations.
This is the last in a series of eight public meetings we have held about this grant for O’Banion Park, and it is very important that we have community participation. The community is strongly encouraged to provide input on potential park upgrades. The level of community participation plays a key role on how our application is graded, and ultimately if we are awarded the funds. The January 30 workshop will be held outside, in front of Del Hale Hall. Attendees are asked to wear a mask and social distancing measures will be in place.
If grant funds are awarded for O’Banion Park, priorities include new picnic shelters and tables, upgrades for the soccer fields and baseball fields, and building a new outdoor stage and a new splash pad. There is also potential to renovate Del Hale Hall with an addition for the Dos Palos Library.
The grant can also pay for art or landscaping in the park, such as a tile mural or an expanded rose garden; also for safety items such as additional lighting and security cameras.
The grant is due in March, and award announcements are expected by September 2021. For more information, call Merced County Grant Writer Patti Dossetti at (209) 385-7637 ext. 4467.
Reduced Business Fees
Due to the strain of COVID-19 on local businesses in Merced County, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to waive or reduce various fees this year in an effort to assist struggling business owners.
Fees were either eliminated or reduced (some still have a State apportionment) for qualifying Business Licenses and Occupancy Operation Permits in unincorporated areas as well as Health Permits countywide. These fees will resume at their approved rates in 2022.
As you know, the State began temporarily shutting down businesses deemed non-essential in March and put significant restrictions on businesses allowed to remain open. These actions resulted in major revenue losses, layoffs, and threat of insolvency.
Multiple business grants, such as the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Merced County’s Ready2Open Small Business Assistance Program, were made available, but in many cases haven’t covered overall revenue losses.
Qualifying businesses will see an automatic adjustment on 2021 invoices and will not need to submit any additional documentation to receive the reduction and/or waivers.
For more information regarding 2021 fee reductions and waivers for qualified businesses, please contact:
- Community and Economic Development Department (County Business Licenses)
- Kristin McHaney 209-385-7654 x 4411 or Ana Muniz-Laguna (209)-385-7654 x 4539
- County Fire Department (Occupancy Operation Permits)
- Cpt. Chris Bernard, Fire Prevention, (209) 385-7347
- Merced County Department of Public Health (Health Permits)
- Environmental Health, (209)-381-1100
For specific information related to COVID-19 closures, restrictions, employer resources as well as testing sites and vaccine locations visit www.countyofmerced.com/3350/Coronavirus-Disease-2019
If I can be of service, or you need assistance, please call me at (209) 385-7366, or send me an email at Scott.Silveira@CountyofMerced.com.