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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/29/20, PM



CA Officials Hope To Fill Unemployment Comp Gap / Orange County Education Officials Sue State / Remote Modoc County Gets First COVID-19 Cases / Bay Area Counties Will Fine Health Order Violators

CA Officials Hope To Fill Unemployment Comp Gap

The $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, is set to expire this week. California legislators are trying to figure out how to fill in the gap.

Congress is currently locked in a stalemate on the decision to extend the $600 many Americans are receiving from the federal government through the CARES act. On Tuesday, California Democrats in the House and Senate floated a plan to supplement the weekly benefit if congress doesn't act. Currently, the maximum State Unemployment benefit is $450. But some Californians earn as little as $40 per week without the federal aid. 

The proposed $1 billion plan would also include undocumented workers, who are not currently eligible for unemployment insurance — except for some DACA recipients. 

It’s still unclear how California will pay for it. The legislators have given themselves until the end of August to complete a deal with Governor Gavin Newsom. In the meantime, weekly payouts will almost certainly decrease for most unemployed Californians.

Orange County Education Officials Sue State

Education officials down in Orange County are planning to sue the governor and state health officials over rules barring most schools from reopening classrooms when the academic year starts due to the coronavirus. The Orange County Register reports the county’s Board of Education voted 4-0, yesterday, to file the lawsuit. The board majority says the state hasn’t addressed how high-risk students will navigate distance learning. The board approves the budget for the county’s education department but doesn’t make decisions for local school districts. Newsom has said public and private schools in counties on a state monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections can’t hold in-person classes.

Remote Modoc County Gets First COVID-19 Cases

A remote California county bordering Oregon and Nevada that was the first to defy state shutdown orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has recorded its first COVID-19 cases. Sparsely populated Modoc County in northeastern California has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the same household. The county's Public Health Department said, yesterday, it’s identifying people who may have had close contact with the people. The department has also asked anyone who patronized a local bar to call officials. On May 1, the county of about 9,000 residents defied Governor Newsom’s shutdown orders by reopening nonessential businesses and restaurants for dine-in service.

Bay Area Counties Will Fine Health Order Violators

Contra Costa is joining Alameda, Marin, and Napa counties in using fines to enforce its COVID-related health orders. Contra Costa residents could be fined $100 if they don’t follow the county’s rules around masks and social distancing — and that’s just for the first violation. The county will also issue a $250 first-time fine against businesses for violations. 

Like all Californians, people in Contra Costa are required to wear masks. The county’s order, which was enacted on Tuesday, specifies that you must wear a mask when inside a business, or when waiting outside. You also have to wear one while dining outside at restaurants and when you’re less than six feet away from someone.

The fines ratchet up to $500 for third and additional violations for individuals. For businesses, fines double to $500 for second violations and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.