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May 2020

Apart Together

Caring for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our Community

Photo courtesy of Tom Hail, Watsonville Emergency Airlift Command Team (WEACT)


As we ease into changes to our Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order in Santa Cruz County, let’s continue to seek ways to support our physical, emotional, and mental health.


The new Shelter-In-Place Order, which went into effect as of May 1, 2020, and was amended on May 8, 2020, permits a number of businesses and activities to resume. While beaches are currently closed from 11 am – 5 pm, they will be open outside of those hours for walking, running, cycling, and water sports. During the restricted hours the beaches may be traversed for water sports. Read Section 3 of the Order for full details.


Have fun, keep fit, learn, and explore!

Here are a few suggestions to spark your creativity, get moving, help you relax, or find entertainment while still maintaining physical distancing and face covering.

  • Walk!
    Around your neighborhood, at local parks, and on the beach (after 5 pm and before 11 am)
  • Keep moving with the American Heart Association’s free Move More Together program! Check out the schedule for live virtual workouts like Dance Party, Yoga, and Total Body Workouts, or get going any time with one of their recorded workouts.
  • Remember the Library!
    Branches are closed, but you can access (for free!) a wide world of books (ebooks and audio), movies, music, magazines, and newspapers on your computer, smart phone, or tablet using your library card. Click here to learn more and choose from a variety of apps to download and stream thousands of books, movies, and more. And check out activities and classes such as Virtual Book Clubs, Virtual Storytime, Creative Flow Crafting, Virtual Parenting Workshops, and Virtual Science Sunday. If you need assistance library staff is available every day from 10 am – 5 pm by email, chat, phone: 831.427.7713, or text 831.264.0647.
  • Send a Letter or Postcard
    When was the last time you received a piece of personal “real” mail? Maybe a holiday card, or a postcard from someone sharing their travels with you. It’s a great feeling, and a fun way to connect with friends and family. Kids especially love to get their own mail addressed just to them!



  • Virtually Explore National Parks

    View scenery and wildlife on webcams, browse the Multimedia Gallery collection of photos, videos, and audio programs, and enjoy the NPGallery, showcasing photos from parks and programs
  • Virtually Visit with Family and Friends
    Many online resources to meet, collaborate, and visit with friends and family are available, and many are free to use on a variety of devices. These include Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and FaceTime (for Apple folks). Netflix Party enables you to host a movie night across the miles, and Houseparty is like a virtual living room where people can chat and play games together.
    (Note: These apps are included as possible ideas and resources, not recommendations or endorsements. Please research to find safe applications that you may like, and verify the usefulness, appropriateness, and security of any application for yourself.)

Local Heroes


A Stitch in Time…

Helen Klee and Lori Camner of the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association delivering gowns to Patrick Lenz, Santa Cruz County Disaster Service Worker, for distribution.

Photo Courtesy of David Harnish, PPE Donation Coordinator, County of Santa Cruz Emergency Operations Center


Big thanks to the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association volunteers, local heroes led by Helen Klee and Lori Camner, who produced 150 washable and reusable isolation gowns. These gowns score high marks for beauty and comfort, and are being distributed to rehabilitation, senior care, and other facilities in need of protective measures. And a big thank you to Ross Newport of Community Printers, who adapted their sign-making equipment and donated his expertise and services to pre-cut the fabric pieces. The association plans to continue this effort. If you would like to support future gown-making, contact Helen Klee.


Share the Good!

Know a local hero? Write to us if you are involved in a community activity you would like to highlight, and if you want to help us recognize people, businesses, and organizations that are helping others.


Cover the County

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Personal Protective Measures (PPM), which include masks, face covers, and gowns, are essential for the safety of first responders, care providers, patients, and residents in a variety of settings. These items are still hard to come by due to shortages and delays in production and transportation. The gown-making heroes spotlighted above are part of the new Cover the County initiative to support our goal of reducing the spread of COVID-19 by creating needed cloth face covers and gowns. With over one hundred volunteers signed up to Cover the County, more than 3,000 cloth face covers have already been distributed to staff and clients at homeless service centers, youth and teen centers, and senior rehabilitation centers.


Want to volunteer or make a donation? Click here to help Cover the County! 


It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint!

Although sometimes it feels more like a roller-coaster. In any case, COVID-19 is not going away soon. This means we must continue to take responsibility at all levels—individual, business, and government. The next weeks and months are bound to bring changes to conditions in Santa Cruz, as well as California, the United States, and the world. Let’s all do our best to keep ourselves and others safe and sane as we continue to adjust.


Stay tuned to local news and visit the County Health Services Agency COVID-19 Information & Updates website, where you will find extensive information, news, and resources.


If you need non-emergency assistance or support visit 211 Santa Cruz County, call 211, or text “COVID19” to 211-211.



And remember: Be Prepared, Not Scared

Disasters don’t plan ahead, as we have learned during this unprecedented pandemic, but you can! Take steps now to prepare for emergencies, especially as we approach fire season.



How Will You Get Emergency Alerts and Warnings?


CodeRed: SCR 9-1-1 encourages all of Santa Cruz and San Benito county residents to register their cell phones and VOIP phones with CodeRED. CodeRED is the alerting system used for public safety events in both counties. If you need to be told to evacuate, shelter in place, or prepare for an event, CodeRED is how the message is delivered.


Step 1: Go to to register. Once completed add 866-419-5000 to your contacts so you know when SCR9-1-1 is calling you.


Step 2: Download the CodeRED app to your smart phone. If an event occurs in proximity to your smart phone, you will be notified through the app. Be sure to "always allow" your location to be known for this app.

And now available as an app for your phone!
The CodeRED Mobile Alert app provides advanced, real-time, location-specific alerts to keep residents and visitors informed and safe as they travel across the United States and Canada. Messages can include text and audio and feature a map with the location of the warning area.

Click here to download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app for either iOS or Android.

Nixle is a free notification service that keeps you up-to-date about emergency weather events, road closings, public safety advisories, disasters, and other relevant information from public safety departments and schools. Click here to sign up for alerts from local agencies.                                                                  If you live or work in different counties, or if you have relatives or friends in other areas from which you want to receive information, you can sign up for alerts in other areas.


READY, SET, GO Campaign

CAL FIRE has developed a communications program called “Ready, Set, Go!” that breaks down the actions needed to be ready for wildfire or any emergency.


Download the app and you can create a plan right from your phone or computer

Click the images below for resources and information.

Resources in other languages

Click Here to Access the Feature of the Month Archive