A Special Message from the Mayor regarding the Coronavirus

A Special Message from the Mayor regarding the Coronavirus

The Palo Alto community is understandably concerned about the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, and as Mayor, I want to share the actions that the City of Palo Alto is currently taking, or could take if circumstances change. This is a frightening, first-of-its-kind situation for our community, but we must keep calm and take reasonable, disciplined steps to protect the public health.

I need to emphasize that this is a public health crisis, and the lead agency for our area is the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. They are our authoritative source for information, advisories, facilities, equipment, personnel, and funding. That said, the City has been collaborating with a range of partners including, but not limited to: PAUSD, Stanford Hospital, Stanford University, neighboring cities, local businesses, and non-profits.

The City has already taken steps to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus by cancelling numerous community events. In that spirit, I discourage people from attending public meetings, so for example please email your comments to the City Council rather than showing up in person. City facilities are being cleaned more often, and hand sanitizer and educational posters have been posted across town.

Today, the City proclaimed a state of local emergency, which provides more flexibility in how we can respond to this changing crisis. This proclamation helps our Emergency Services personnel secure vital supplies, funding, and assistance. The City is also modifying some services to reduce in-person interactions. We do not take these actions lightly, and they must be weighed against the threat of this virus, along with economic and daily-life impacts.

Our goal is to reduce social interactions and the opportunity for community transmission of the virus (ie, flatten the curve). Moving forward, the City may take steps to close public facilities, to modify additional services (for example, filing a police report on the phone rather than in person), and if necessary, could implement restrictions and other regulations to reduce community transmission. The City is also taking steps to prevent transmission among our 1,000+ city workforce.

Your personal actions and behaviors matter. Please follow county, state, and federal advice about increased personal hygiene, reducing in-person contact, and limiting non-essential travel. If you host or are a member of a social gathering, please consider delaying or cancelling events. Work from home if you are able. These changes will have economic, civic, and social impacts, which the City will need to evaluate and remedy in good time. It’s important that we identify ways to support our community, schools, and businesses given these rapidly changing circumstances. I welcome your ideas.

Finally, let’s all remain calm and composed and let the professionals do their jobs. Support your neighbors where appropriate and safe, share information, and encourage best practices. This is certainly a challenging situation, and an abundance of caution is warranted.

You can find the latest information about the Coronavirus at:

Thank you for reading. Please share this email with your friends and family to help them stay safe and healthy.

Adrian Fine
Palo Alto Mayor

Last Updated: March 12, 2020