A view of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin County at sunset.

SF Rent-Aid Shortfalls Would Imperil Eviction Protections

Thousands of San Franciscans could face eviction this fall in the likely event that government rental assistance programs run out of money. Tenants who have applied for help with rent debt are entitled to eviction protections through the end of March 2022 while they wait for an answer from authorities. But if the money runs out before they get help, then they could face eviction as early as October.

An Alcatraz employee is seated on a ferry to the island with a sign instructing COVID-19 protocol in the foreground.

UPDATED: How SF Is Handling Masking as Delta Variant Circulates

The highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has arrived in the Bay Area. Case numbers are surging in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, and, while San Francisco’s case numbers are slightly on the rise, most residents are vaccinated. Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco’s Health Officer, talked with “Civic” about the details of the current mask rules, the delta variant and the importance of vaccines.

Coronavirus testing in the Mission District on April 27, 2020. Barbara Ries / UCSF

Patient, Doctor Describe Living With ‘Long COVID’

Bruce Wheeler was diagnosed with COVID-19 last spring, but has never fully recovered, suffering a variety of symptoms of what has become known as “long COVID.” He’s not alone — according to a UC Davis overview of a handful of recent studies, more than one in four COVID-19 patients develop symptoms lasting for months, even if they had mild cases. About 100 potential symptoms have been identified. Wheeler and Dr. Brian Block, who has helped treat him and who is one of the founding clinicians at UCSF’s COVID recovery clinic, talked with “Civic” about the condition and how much is still unclear about its treatment. “I think we cannot overlook the effect of long-haul COVID on those who are trying to work and raise a family.

Ora Prochovnick, director of litigation and policy at the Eviction Defense Collaborative.

Extended State Eviction Moratorium Preempts Local Laws, Moves Eviction Cliff to Oct. 1

California’s eviction moratorium protecting tenants affected by the coronavirus pandemic was set to expire June 30. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation extending it, but the state law supersedes local pandemic eviction protections and prevents city legislators from adding new ones through March of next year. Ora Prochovnick, director of litigation and policy at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income tenants respond to eviction lawsuits, explained the details on “Civic.”

Ventilation Won’t Make Offices as Safe as Pre-Pandemic, Expert Says

Engineers are fielding questions about whether upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will make their buildings as safe as they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Taylor told “Civic” that’s not possible, but if workers wear masks, existing systems that meet ventilation standards we already have should be enough to bring the risk of infection to acceptable levels.

View of Alcatraz, approaching by ferry

Return to Alcatraz: 50 Years After Native American Occupation, National Park Service Considers Permanent Cultural Center

As California reopens to tourism, Alcatraz is once again drawing visitors from around the world and featuring an exhibit celebrating the 19-month-long Native American occupation of the island 50 years ago. And in a dramatic, if delayed, response to the occupation, the National Park Service is contemplating the installation of a permanent Native American cultural center on Alcatraz in collaboration with a group that formed with that as one of its key objectives more than 50 years ago.

A view of San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood, set against a yellow sunset.

SF Has Not Made a Single Payment From Federal Rent-Relief Program as Eviction Moratorium Poised to End

With time running out, not a single San Francisco resident has received a check from the city’s federally funded rent-relief program. Barely a week remains before landlords can resume evictions for unpaid rents due during the pandemic.

“I have never been evicted or homeless,” said Buddy Bates, a renter in Parkmerced and father of two. “I live in that fear constantly now.”

Markings on a store floor indicate where customers should stand to maintain social distance.

With California Reopened, Should We Keep Social Distancing?

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatrics – infectious diseases and of health research and policy at Stanford University, and Dr. Lee Riley, professor of infectious diseases at the School of Public Health in the division of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley talked with “Civic” about the relative benefit of social distancing in concert with other prevention measures and under what circumstances distancing still makes sense.

Two toilets sit on a movable trailer on a street in San FRancisco's Mission District.

City’s Popular Portable Toilets Frequently Moved or Closed

While the number of 24-hour Pit Stop public bathrooms increased 16-fold at the beginning of the pandemic, keeping them in place has proven to be a challenge. Many high-traffic Pit Stops — some used more than 1,000 times per month — are being relocated, and Supervisor Mat Haney wants to know why.