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Friday News Roundup

Mask mandates come and go across the Monterey Bay, and a big “thank you” to our community of supporters.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium
Visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entering starting Nov. 1

Welcome to KAZU's Friday News Roundup for 10/01/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.

Happy October 1st! The Friday News Roundup is back after a brief hiatus during KAZU’s fall membership drive. We want to sincerely thank our listeners for the outpouring of support we received these last couple of weeks — we could not do this without you. During this on-air fundraiser we heard from 981 listeners, each donation helps keep this station on the air and helps pay for the news and entertainment you love.

And, If you somehow missed our membership drive, don’t worry! You can always become a sustaining member or throw a donation our way. Every little bit helps.

A huge thanks again to our community — we are so grateful for your support. Now, back to the news!

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Doug McKnight
Sign on the door of Fionna Flowers in Pacific Grove. Monterey County will require indoor masks under certain circumstances beginning Oct. 29.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors passed a mask ordinance on Wednesday. The ordinance goes into effect Oct. 29 but will require indoor masking only if the county’s community transmission rate, as determined by the CDC, is either “substantial” or “high.” As of this week, the rate is in the “substantial” category.

If the mandate is triggered, it will require all residents and visitors in both cities and unincorporated areas to wear masks indoors. Exceptions include people in their own home with family members, those alone in a closed room, and those taking part in activities where masks cannot be worn such as eating. Click here for a full explanation of the ordinance.

On the other end of the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz County dropped its mask mandate this week, after reaching “moderate” transmission on Monday. The county moved back into “substantial” transmission just days later, but Corrine Hyland, a spokesperson for the Health Services Agency, said the county does not plan to reinstate a face covering order despite bouncing between tiers.

Masks are still strongly recommended by both the CDC and the county health services agency in all indoor public places. State rules require masks for unvaccinated individuals, and in certain areas like public transportation, healthcare settings and schools. Businesses and other venues can also decide to require masks.

Thursday was the deadline for healthcare workers in California to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. As of yesterday, Salinas Valley Memorial reported 96.7% of their healthcare workers are fully vaccinated. At Montage Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, 97.5% have received all necessary shots. Natividad said 93.7% of its workers are fully vaccinated.

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Entrance to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium announced this week all visitors over the age of 12 must be vaccinated or recently tested in order to enter.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of a scheduled visit beginning Nov. 1. The new requirement will apply to all visitors 12 years of age and older.

The aquarium said the new rule exceeds what is required. However, they say they want to protect visitors, staff and volunteers especially those visiting under the age of 12 who are not eligible to be vaccinated. Children under 12 make up a significant part of the Aquarium’s attendance.

Details of the new policy is posted on the Aquarium web page.

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Jerimiah Oetting
A voter casts their vote in Santa Cruz for the California recall election

The Monterey County Elections Office released its “final official report” on the September gubernatorial recall election. 56% of the registered voters in the county cast ballots. 32% voted in favor of the recall, while 68 percent opposed it.

Santa Cruz County’s official count will be certified next week, but the unofficial count as of Sept. 22 shows that about 66% of registered voters cast ballots in the election, with 22% of voters supporting the recall, and 78% against.

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Kevin Painchaud
Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel and Health Services Director Mimi Hall will be awarded the 2021 PEN/Benenson Courage Award

Two Santa Cruz County health officials are being honored for their “courage in the exercise of freedom of expression.” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel and Health Services Director Mimi Khin Hall were named recipients of the 2021 PEN/Benenson Courage Award. PEN America said the award recognizes Newel and Hall speaking openly about the threats they faced as they mandated protections during the most severe waves of the pandemic.

Their experiences were detailed in an episode of This American Life last April. Both will be honored at a gala at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, Oct 5.

PEN America is an organization dedicated to the protection of open expression worldwide

Until next week,
The KAZU Team