Supervisor Simitian urges communitywide distribution of at-home COVID-19 tests
In light of the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian urged County staff to take immediate steps to significantly scale-up the distribution of at-home COVID-19 tests and develop a formal and robust plan. At-home antigen tests became available through a variety of channels, including County testing sites, community pop-up events, libraries and more.
Long COVID special Health and Hospital Committee hearing convened
In October 2021, a special Health and Hospital Committee hearing was convened by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who serves as Committee Chair. Now over two years into the pandemic, individuals who had COVID-19 are experiencing lingering effects of the illness, turning an emergent public health issue into an ongoing one. In calling for a special hearing, Simitian said, “Our County needs to be well positioned to address the long-term health needs of our community, and residents need to know what our County is doing to address the need and just what services are available to them.”
Early on and at every opportunity, Supervisor Simitian pushed for planning with anticipation and a sense of urgency
Early on in the pandemic, Supervisor Simitian strongly advocated for a comprehensive testing plan including a robust public outreach component and following the FDA emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines, he pushed for a plan to reach residents where and when convenient to receive a vaccine. A series of community webinars with city leaders and healthcare providers were held to help community members understand their options and ask questions.
“Seniors shouldn't be turned away” from meals during COVID-19 pandemic
In October 2020, Supervisor Simitian pressed County staff to assure continued funding for senior nutrition sites which had seen increased demand for meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some sites had been directed to scale back their services, turning away seniors who attempted to secure food.
Eviction moratorium keeps families in their homes; protects small businesses
In March 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved a sweeping eviction moratorium aimed at protecting tenants and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The urgency ordinance applied countywide (including all fifteen incorporated cities and towns), except in the event that a city has passed a measure/provision that is more stringent than the one approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Expanding safe parking
Expanding upon pre-pandemic safe parking efforts, Supervisor Simitian urged cities within his district to think creatively about underutilized parking lots that could provide safe parking for individuals living in their vehicles. He continues to advocate for safe parking location for residents who are living in their vehicles, supporting program funding and expansion.
Fees waived at County of Santa Clara parks during COVID-19 crisis
Acknowledging that small things can help during trying times, Supervisor Simitian, joined by Supervisor Mike Wasserman, suggested that the Santa Clara County Park Department waive entrance fees to County Parks for the duration of the COVID-19 shelter-at-home order.
Bringing COVID-19 information to residents where they are
Ensuring his constituents had access to up to date, accurate information throughout the pandemic was a priority for Supervisor Simitian. Telephone town halls are one of the many ways he engages with residents in his district, and they proved to be a good solution at a time when in-person meetings were not an option. The telephone town halls allow community members to hear directly from Supervisor Simitian and subject matter experts, and more importantly ask questions and get answers in real time. From April to December 2020, Supervisor Simitian held a monthly telephone town hall about the COVID-19 pandemic, and he continued to hold regular telephone town halls in 2021 and 2022.
Fee cap to protect restaurants and consumers
During a critical time in the pandemic when restaurants were struggling to find ways to continue to stay open and pay staff and residents were looking for ways to access already cooked food, the Board of Supervisors adopted a proposal by Supervisor Simitian and his colleague to place a temporary cap on commissions and fees third-party food delivery services charged local restaurants. The Urgency Ordinance applied throughout Santa Clara County, including all 15 incorporated cities and the unincorporated County, except in cities with a more restrictive cap on order and delivery fees (the more restrictive provision/ordinance applies).
Supporting small businesses during the pandemic
In December 2020, Supervisors Simitian and Ellenberg proposed a $100 million-dollar small business loan program. Small businesses across the County were facing the prospect of continued losses, layoffs, and bankruptcy, while they remained closed or in reduced operations due to the pandemic.