Workshop and Events Update

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City of Palo Alto Utilities Subscribers, 

This is an important update on the City of Palo Alto's actions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The City will continue to provide updates in a dedicated coronavirus newsletter (subscribe here) as new information becomes available. We respect that you subscribed to this Utilities newsletter for updates on workshops and events. As a result, we will plan to only send updates specific to the coronavirus in this newsletter when new, critical information arises that the entire community should be informed of. The information below is a few key items for this update:

COVID-19 Community Support Call Center

The City of Palo Alto activated a new Community Support Call Center on March 18 to connect the community with information about COVID-19. The Community Support Call Center is accessible by phone Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Call us at (650) 272-3181 with your questions about COVID-19 and city services. Please as a reminder, only call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. 

Utilities Rate Relief

The City’s proclamation of a local emergency instituted a moratorium on disconnections for non-payment, late payment fees, and full-bill payment requirements for City of Palo Alto Utilities residential customers. Customers can make partial payments, without penalty, and without risk of disconnection for non-payment. The total of missed payments (except late fees, which will be waived in their entirety) will continue to be owed, but customers will be eligible for an extended payment plan of up to 18 months from the proclamation termination. Customers seeking further information or needing assistance can call (650) 329–2161.

  • If you are struggling to pay your utilities bills, you may qualify for our Rate Assistance Program, which provides a 25% discount on gas and electricity charges and 20% discount on storm drain service fees.
  • You can equalize your monthly payment into twelve equal amounts through the Bill Payment Plan.
  • Through ProjectPLEDGE, utilities customers in good standing with their own accounts may donate funding on a one-time or recurring basis to help another residential utilities customer. If you are in need of financial support, you may apply here for one-time assistance. 
  • Our Utilities team can also help residents keep energy and water costs low by improving home energy and water efficiency. When the Shelter in Place Order is lifted, we will resume inspections through the Home Efficiency Genie and Residential Energy Assistance

Utilities Customer Service can help with questions associated with these programs. Customer support is available through the call center at (650) 329-2161, online customer account service, or email at


Due to the shelter in place order the following Utilities workshops and events have been cancelled:

Landscape Conversion 101

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Earth Day and Great Race for Saving Water

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Instead, the City of Palo Alto Utilities is evaluating alternative ways to share educational resources with community members through online and virtual resources or hosting events at a later date. Our Utilities team is working closely with our partners to determine the best course of action. Please stay tuned for an update on this and other events.

Please visit our website for a full list of City events cancelled due to COVID-19.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Please visit for updates on future events and workshops.

Coronavirus Update Header
April 7, 2020
  • Utility Rate Relief for Residents and Businesses  
  • Ban on Residential and Commercial Evictions 
  • #TakeOutTuesday Social Media Series Supporting Palo Alto Restaurants 
  • Reminder on Permitted Landscaping Activities 
  • School Closures Extension Update 
Read the full Coronavirus Daily Report for more in-depth information.
City of Palo Alto and Santa Clara County Updates

Palo Alto Utility Rate Relief for Residential and Commercial Customers

Palo Alto utility rate relief is available to both residential and commercial customers. Today we are featuring commercial customer details. Tomorrow, we will feature residential customer details.

The City’s proclamation of a local emergency instituted moratoriums on City of Palo Alto Utilities commercial customers for disconnections for non-payment, late payment fees, and full-bill payment requirements. Customers can make partial payments, without penalty, and without risk of disconnection for non-payment. The total of missed payments (except late fees, which will be waived in their entirety) will continue to be owed, but will be eligible for an extended payment plan of up to 18 months from the proclamation termination. For more information, please go here. Business owners seeking further information or needing assistance can call (650) 329–2161. Utilities Customer Service can help with questions associated with these programs. Customer support is available through the call center, online customer account service at, or email at

Update on Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratoriums

With State, County, and City of Palo Alto bans on evictions, it might be difficult to know where to go for details. We’ve got you covered. We know times are tough. We are here to connect you with information and maybe help keep you feeling connected with our broader community too. Last night, the Palo Alto City Council extended our City ban on residential evictions, during the health emergency, for tenants who can’t pay their rent for reasons related to COVID-19. Residential tenants are also protected from eviction by an ordinance passed by Santa Clara County, and an Executive Order issued by Governor Newsom. The County ordinance also protects other types of tenants – including businesses, non-profits, and other organizations – from eviction during the health emergency if they can’t pay all or part of their rent for reasons related to COVID-19, provided that they qualify as small businesses under the rules of Small Business Administration. Read the details here.

#TakeoutTuesdays to Support Palo Alto Restaurants

As we all work to collectively support and lift our community up during this difficult time, we’re highlighting ways throughout the week to bond over our shared efforts. #TakeoutTuesdays is one way to hear from our community about their local eateries and shine a light on our restaurants who are open and providing essential food options for us during our shelter in place. Tuesdays and tacos sound about right. What’s your favorite restaurant? Not sure what's open? We have a website for that at, featuring restaurants, grocery stores, and farmer market details. For today’s #TakeOutTuesday social media kick-off post, visit us on Instagram!

#MomentofGratitude Campaign Continues

As we shelter in place to save lives and slow the spread of Coronavirus, our first responders and others responsible for maintaining essential services to protect health and safety are out there on the frontlines. Let’s thank them for their service to our community! Please share your social media note of thanks using hashtag #MomentofGratitude and let us know why you are #PaloAltoProud. Check out today's #MomentofGratitude post thanking our Crosstown Shuttle operators!

Reminder on Permitted Landscaping Activities

As spring emerges, so does our desire to maintain the beauty of our community. However, the County Health Order limits professional landscaping work to those that are necessary for the safety and sanitation of a residence or business. This includes weed abatement for fire prevention and tree trimming for safety. Please keep our community safe. Professional landscaping for cosmetic reasons is not permitted.

School Closures Extension Update

Superintendents in six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara County, announced today that school will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, with instruction continuing at home. The school districts made the decision in consultation with the public health officials in each county. Find more details here.

Be Well

There are so many good ideas on how to stay happy, healthy and be well. What are your favorite fitness and wellness approaches?  

  • Introduce kids to yoga and mindfulness (via favorite stories and concepts) with the exercises on the Cosmic Kids YouTube channel. 
  • Ready to channel your household waste into your spring garden (and help the environment)?  The EPA website has instructions for composting at home. 
  • Ten Percent Happier is now offering free guided meditations specifically designed for COVID-19-related stress and anxiety. Also, they are offering free access to their services for healthcare workers. Please share with any healthcare workers you know! 
  • Thinking of a home vegetable garden? The California Garden Web has answers to all kinds of gardening questions and answers to help you get started on your own healthy food source. 
  • The State of California has updated hotline resources for emotional support and well-being available. Many are 24/7 and available in multiple languages. Please share this with someone in need. 

Share your wellness practices, fitness routines or dance party moments with us on Instagram.  

Family Resources

Laugh, live and have some fun while we shelter in place. Here are some new ideas to keep you and your family entertained, learning new things and more. 

  • The Great Courses are in-depth video lectures on a wide range of subjects, and you have free access to them through the library! Brush up on your drawing skills, learn about the economic history of the world, learn more about infectious diseases, and much more! If you don’t yet have a library account, please go here
  • See fascinating places in America at the GoUSA YouTube channel for full-length programs on American places and people, featuring national parks and musical cities like NashvilleNew Orleans, and Chicago.  
  • Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden has now moved its Spring Tour Plant Sale online. Please go here to help keep this local spring tradition alive!  
  • The Exploratorium has designed its online Learning Toolbox to provide family learning on viruses. There are activities for young learners to understand the nature of viruses and help promote a new generation’s understanding on how to combat them.   
Stay Informed

Follow the City on TwitterFacebookNextdoorInstagramLinkedIn, and subscribe to our e-newsletter. Visit for the latest news and resources to stay connected on this issue.Here are some helpful links:

What To Do If You're Sick

The expanded public health order further underscores the severity of the situation we are in.  Please stay home if you are sick. Watch for symptoms and contact your medical provider if you fall ill. Most coronavirus testing facilities require a physician’s referral. The CDC has a webpage set up to help detect symptoms of coronavirus and they recently added a coronavirus self-checker tool on their page. Other helpful resources are available from Stanford Health and Palo Alto Medical Foundation.  

In addition to obtaining a referral for testing by your primary physician, the Project Baseline system can be used to get screened online. Those with a likelihood of needing a test will be directed to drive-through testing sites in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. Go here for more. 

Business Resources

For the past several weeks, we’ve been encouraging our community to eat and shop local. Find a new favorite take out restaurant and feel good at the same time, by supporting local businesses. Check out our webpage. Our Business Assistance Center has new information for essential businesses that continue to operate and for those businesses that are closed and experiencing hardship during the shelter in place order.  

Some additional resources and highlights: 

  • Register for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s webinar to learn more about how your small business or non-profit can benefit from the $2 trillion aid package passed by congress. The webinar will be on Thursday, April 9, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • The U.S. Small Business Association is warning against fraud. Advice and guidelines on avoiding fraud schemes, including what to look out for, how the SBA actually conducts requests, and how to report scams, can be found here
  • The California Association of Non-Profits is helping non-profits navigate the U.S. Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program loans. They have a webinar scheduled for April 9 to answer questions from non-profits about this SBA program. 
  • As businesses large and small chart paths to recovery, this free series from Stanford’s eCorner with local entrepreneurial innovation leaders can possibly inspire new ideas for businesses in changing times. 

Call Us. We Are Here for You.

Call us if you have questions. We are here to help. The Community Support Call Center is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Please feel free to connect with us for information at (650) 272-3181. As a reminder, please only call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

Referring Non-Essential Business Violations

We know this is a challenging time. Those wishing to report a public health order violation are welcome to call the Police Department’s 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. This includes any type of public health order violation, including construction complaints, social distancing complaints, non-essential business complaints, and complaints about businesses that fail to post their “Social Distancing Protocol” for public viewing. Our Police Department’s primary goal is always to educate first and ask for voluntary compliance. While violations of the public health order are misdemeanors, making arrests continues to remain a measure of last resort for the Palo Alto Police Department. It will only be considered after all education and voluntary compliance efforts have failed.