May 8, 2020 Update from Supervisor Connolly

District 1 Supervisor Connelly Banner Image

In This Issue

Dear Friends,

Top of mind every day is to preserve and protect the health and well-being of all of our residents, from the families serving as teachers and caretakers, to the small businesses that line our downtowns and serve our communities. The Marin Recovery plan is a three-phase process that moves us from a framework of "essential" and "non-essential" to instead assessing risk levels and determining how we reopen safely. Your collective effort to follow sheltering at home, physical distancing, and face-covering guidelines have enabled us to enter the next phase (“Phase 2”). I know that this has come with great sacrifice from each of you, and on behalf of all of Marin County we thank you.

A gradual phased approach to reopening allows us to track the data and ensure that each step is accomplished safely through continued testing, contact tracing, and securing surge capacity. There is no vaccine. Without the necessary precautions, we may see a second wave and an increase in cases and deaths. Working together will move us rapidly through Phase 2, which is the sequential reopening of sectors of our local economy hand in hand with public health.

Our business owners are experts in what they do and understand how people interact with their business. Along with public health, industry leaders are establishing a set of COVID safety standards, planning for modified operations, monitoring data, and adjusting practices to operate safely. We want to self-empower people. The Marin Recovers website is the central clearinghouse for timely and accurate information about reopening and then recovery. If you are interested in participating, you can complete this online form through May 15th.

Low-risk operators are back at work; construction, retail nurseries, landscaping, gardeners, and golf courses are working safely. We can expect that curbside retail and related manufacturing and warehouse operations will be open for business in Marin starting May 18th. Marin Recovers is working with city and town managers and public works departments to make curbside pickup run smoothly. Marin Recovers is rapidly and responsibly developing plans for the reopening of hotels, offices, hair salons, indoor seating at restaurants, and other sectors.

I’m working with Supervisor Arnold and Marin Recovers on an informed and organized economic recovery for all sectors of Marin. Our cities and towns, our chambers of commerce, Marin Economic Forum, and the Small Business Development Center are joining to share best practices. It is evident that all the planning and federal dollars in the world will not support small businesses if they do not have customers. As you make purchases, please consider buying local first. Our stores and downtown are getting creative with new services models. There is a local business that needs your support.


Marin Recovers artwork showing seven people shoulder to shoulder

Tracing COVID in Marin

As Marin Recovers addresses the sequential reopening of Marin, Public Health continues working on testing, contact tracing, and securing hospital capacity for a surge. Testing capacity has increased, with detailed information on available testing posted online on the Marin HHS testing website. A person infected with COVID may infect other people, those newly infected people may go on to affect others, creating a chain reaction. To stop this process, any one of 30 trained contact tracers follow the chain of potentially infected community members and help them self-isolate, halting the spread of COVID. Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis, explains in this video.

COVID Update

Intern Spotlight

We have been very fortunate to have Marin School of Environmental Leadership senior Isabella Farfan as our District 1 intern this year. We asked Isa what it is like to be a high school senior, about to graduate and go to college during a global pandemic. Our youth are deeply affected by the closure of schools. Nevertheless, our youth remain strong and resilient, inspiring me and those around them to grow. This is what she shared:

Senior Year in the time of COVID-19

On Friday, March 13, I asked my teachers if school was going to be canceled. Many of them shrugged and said “probably not.” Even though they said no, there was an eerie feeling at school that day. It felt like the last day of school before summer vacation. It was warm, cheerful, and a bit dreamy.

When my school announced it was closing (for what we thought would be two weeks), I was relieved. I was burnt out and ready for high school to end. I had already been accepted to college and school days felt long and useless.

Intern Spotlight

I applied to Barnard, the undergraduate historically women’s college at Columbia University, under binding early decision. I was gratefully accepted and withdrew my applications to other schools in December. I made the decision to attend this private school in New York City in a different, pre-pandemic, world. The state of the world jeopardizes my ability to attend the school I worked so hard to get into. Financially, attending a private school might no longer make sense if my family is facing job insecurity. It is very likely that my first semester at Barnard might be online or severely modified as a result of COVID-19.As soon as it became evident that school would not be opening this academic year, my outlook changed. I was hit hard by the fact I’d been cut off from my support system of friends and was expected to teach myself material for five AP courses asynchronously. With graduation, prom, and seeing my friends becoming elusive memories of a pre-pandemic world, I lost motivation. I fell incredibly behind in school. This was uncharacteristic for me. I had achieved straight A’s at Terra Linda High School, but now my academic slump was noticed by my counselor and teachers. Because of this, my school allowed me to use my quarter grades as my semester grades and disengage from school.

With one email and phone call to my principle, high school was over for me. For months I’d dreamed of decorating graduation caps with my friends and walking across the stage at graduation. Instead, I told my principal I couldn’t handle online classes, and it was over. Although losing graduation was painful to digest, the most difficult COVID loss to process is the potential that I may not start college, in-person, on time.

This was supposed to be the year that I moved away from home and began to create a life on my own. It’s been particularly difficult to process that I may be paying full tuition to receive part of my college education through video chat.

Even though I feel crushed from the loss of developmentally significant milestones in my life, I have somehow come to peaceful acceptance. The pandemic is much larger than myself. I understand that I’m incredibly lucky to have access to technology, that my parents can work from home, and that everyone I know is healthy. My struggles in this process are not unique to me. Most of my friends are going through very similar experiences.

Counterintuitively, I don’t feel alone. Even though I haven’t seen my friends since the lockdown began, I feel incredibly connected to other people. In many ways, isolation has helped me strengthen bonds with those who have been important in my life thus far. Even my struggles in school allowed me to see the fruits of self-advocacy.

I choose to live the days task-to-task. That is all I can do. Whatever happens this fall, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not alone, and that this is not permanent. In some way, I will grow from this.

Marin County Fair Goes Virtual

The Marin County Fair is going online this week, using Facebook and Instagram for weekly competitions. Weekly competitions will include decorated foods, trash-to-treasure artworks, pet costume contests, funny family photos, poetry, coordinated family dance routines, and more stay-at-home activities.

Winners will receive a pair of tickets to the 2021 Marin County Fair! Cultural Services is a great example of how we are all adapting while staying connected to each other. You can read more at I’ll see you on the fairgrounds…online.

Artwork depicts farm animals flying in an antique plane with the words Marin County Fair Goes Virtual

Office Hours—May 14th, 5:30 pm

Thank you to everyone who joined our last Office Hours to hear from Health and Human Services and Parks. I’m excited to share that next week, Kate Colin, Vice Mayor of San Rafael, will join us with Daniel Indelicato from Gaspare’s Pizzeria to share how businesses in Marin are adapting and what they need to move forward. Hint: customers. You can submit questions ahead of time by emailing my aide, Gustavo at

Office Hours Online
Zoom Link

Great Plates Delivered to Seniors

In partnership with the local community, the County of Marin plans to start participating in the State of California’s Great Plates Delivered Program, set up to support older adults who are sheltering in place, unable to access meals, and ineligible for other nutrition programs.

Marin Great Plates, which would be free to recipients, also is a way to support local restaurants and other food providers who are struggling because of the economic downturn related to COVID-19.
Starting at noon Tuesday, May 12, residents may call Whistlestop at 415-456-9073 to see if they qualify for the program. Local restaurants interested in participation may apply online and learn more about Great Plates. The County will select the first 50 that apply and meet the eligibility criteria.

Great Plates Delivered program logo



Marin County Board of Supervisors, District 1
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329, San Rafael, CA 94903
Direct Tel: (415) 473-7331