On March 16th, 2020 life as we knew it in the Bay Area came to a screeching halt. The first of what would be many stay-at-home orders was given to residents and businesses in six Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley. Then, on March 19th, 2020, the State of California became the first state in the nation to declare a statewide shelter-in-place order directing residents to stay at home unless they were going to an essential business. Other States quickly followed suit.
The pandemic has been a tumultuous time for each of us. Lives of loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and more have been lost. Many have lost jobs. Our friends have moved to different areas of the State or to different States altogether. We’ve seen some of our favorite small businesses flourish with support while others have closed down for good. We’ve all pivoted, if not completely changed course, over the last year.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has done our best to be at the center of responding to the pandemic in real time. But, as we get ready to move to a post-vaccination world, it’s worth taking time to realize just where we’ve been. To take stock, reflect and use that to inform where we go next. Here’s a recap of how SVLG has responded over the last year:
March 2020: At Covid’s outset, we held our first Town Hall. In every month since we’ve convened numerous pandemic-focused events that hosted local and state level elected leaders – all to have your Covid questions answered in real time.
By the end of that month we developed the Silicon Valley COVID-19 Aid Coalition to fundraise for the Valley Medical Center Foundation, source personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, and create a list of product specifications and general guidelines for the most needed PPE and medical devices for hospitals and health systems to use for future pandemics. The Aid Coalition was able to raise over $8.5 million for the Valley Medical Center Foundation to provide necessary PPE and medical supplies.
April 2020: We launched the first of multiple member surveys to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and employees and better understand what the work and workforce of the future might look like. These surveys have helped us better inform our policy and so we can aid you in addressing the negative impacts that businesses have – and will continue to experience – from the pandemic.
Less than a month later, we worked with San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to allow rooftop solar, storage and electric vehicle charging installations as “essential businesses” and allow those members to work on-site in the midst of the pandemic.
May 2020: We championed the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable, comprised of “59 CEO’s, leaders and thinkers from business, education, labor and non-profit sectors that represent communities from across the region,” where we made policy recommendations to see an equitable, thoughtful, and robust economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 2020: We joined a coalition with a number of clean energy companies, business associations and other partners to see the State move forward with an economic recovery package that included investments in clean energy and zero-emission vehicle transportation infrastructure.
July 2020: We urged the Governor and the Administration to provide new emergency funding to California’s transit agencies to address their funding shortfall of at least $3.1 billion. We signed on and supported the efforts of a broad coalition of transit agencies and advocates to ultimately secure $1.3 billion for Bay Area transit agencies through the CARES Act.
August 2020: We launched the campaign across our social channels to encourage our members and the greater community to wear a mask amid negative rhetoric at the national level around mask wearing.
September 2020: Along with a wide coalition of businesses and associations across the state, SVLG pushed for amendments to AB 685 from Assemblymember Reyes. Changes helped to modify overly stringent business restrictions during the pandemic.
October 2020: SVLG hosted Dr. Anthony Fauci before the election as part of our Annual Forum. When information from the federal administration was less than clear, Dr. Fauci gave it to our members direct. From the latest on the vaccines to businesses reopening to infection rates. And then, in a panel with local covid response leaders Dr. Sarah Cody and Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, we brought that federal info down to the local level and provided the latest on implementations and best practices.
January 2021: SVLG launched the biweekly 5 Things You Need to Know About COVID-19 series. This, along with our regular email alerts and social media channels, has been working to keep you informed about vaccinations, school reopening’s and all the important local news that businesses need to plan effectively.
February 2021: Building on our previous successful push for essential workers to be prioritized for the Covid-19 vaccine, we advocated for critical manufacturing and infrastructure workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
March 2021: We recently pushed for California to change its vaccine equity formula to prioritize Californians by census tract, and for our companies to be able to provide vaccinations on-site for employees.
While the COVID-19 pandemic still continues across the United States and across the globe, it does, finally feel like the end is in sight. With your support we’ve been able to accomplish an incredible amount together through a time of tremendous challenge. As we move into the full adult vaccination phase and phased return to offices, we’ll continue to be there to aid our companies and our communities, providing the latest updates and informed advocacy. We look forward to the growing possibilities of reopening, reconnecting and finally recovering as we move into the rest of 2021. Thank you for being a part of the SVLG community.
March 30, 2021