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COVID-19 Restrictions End But Hang On To Your Masks. Plus, Concerts Come Back

Carl Hyde
Monterey Jazz Festival
Come June 15, festivals can return to the Monterey Bay. Guitar virtuoso George Benson is one of the artists set to take to the stage at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in September for the 2021 Monterey Jazz Festival. Read on for more details.

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 6/11/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few national stories from NPR.


California’s COVID-19 recovery map runs out of road next Tuesday. Beginning June 15, no more color-coded tier system and gone are capacity restrictions. But, don’t throw away your mask just yet. Unvaccinated people must still wear a mask in indoor public settings and businesses such as retail stores, restaurants and theaters. Businesses may still require unvaccinated customers to wear masks and some companies may require employees to wear them. So, it’s best to hang on to your mask just in case.


KAZU’s newest reporter and host, Jerimiah Oetting, reported this week on how performance venues like Santa Cruz’s Kuumbwa Jazz Center and Carmel’s Sunset Center will open under the new rules. For music venues and theaters, a full house is the sign of an entertaining — and profitable — evening.But during the pandemic, that business model was cancelled. Even as restaurants, gyms and retail stores have slowly reopened, live performance venues kept their doors closed. On June 15, that could all change. Oetting explores how these businesses coped through the lockdown, and how live performers might soon return to the stage. Read his story here.


On that note... the Monterey Jazz Festival announced this week they’ll be returning to the Monterey County Fairgrounds in September. Last year, the annual event went totally virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, from September 24-26, jazz lovers can see Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Terri Lyne Carrington and much more in concert. Organizers say the festival will be an exploration of all facets of jazz, from the traditional to the boundary-pushing edge of the genre. The arena will be limited to 50 percent capacity. Three-day tickets will be available in early July.


COVID-19 Case Data at time of publishing:

COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker:

  • California - 54.6% of residents (12+) fully vaccinated, 11.3% partially vaccinated (as of Thursday)
  • Monterey County - 63% of residents (12+) received at least 1 dose (as of Monday)
  • Santa Cruz County - 51.3% of all residents are fully vaccinated (as of Monday)


Credit Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deparment
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Jones holding the 6-week-old he rescued on May 25. The child’s mother Rita stands beside the deputy.



A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy saved the life of a 6-week-old girl in Watsonville, after she had stopped breathing and lost consciousness. Deputy Christopher Jones was near the family’s home when he heard the 911 call and arrived at the scene before other emergency responders. The officer quickly cleared the infant’s airway. Paramedics who arrived shortly after determined the child required no additional care.


Sewer bills for most homes and businesses on the Monterey Peninsula could double over the next five years after the Monterey One Water Board of Directors approved a rate increase this week. The wastewater agency said it needs the increase to pay for equipment and upgrades that have been neglected, but some businesses and homeowners are protesting the change.

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County announced a plan this week that could cut congestion on U.S. Highway 1 between Marina and Seaside. The plan is to build a six-mile, bus-only lane on the old rail corridor parallel to the freeway. The agency, along with the bus company Monterey Salinas Transit, said taking buses off Highway 1 would free up space for cars. The project, called SURF!, would also expand the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail. The MST Board of Directors will consider the project at a public hearing on June 14.

Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacion, is creating a multicultural community council this week. The council’s mission is to foster fair and equal justice, open communications, community participation, and to educate the community about the criminal justice system. The council will be made up of a diverse group of community leaders who will volunteer their time.

Fewer students attended colleges and universities this spring. NPR reported undergraduate college enrollment fell by 5% during spring sessions.The decrease was attributed to a number of reasons, including loss of income, online classes and concern over the COVID-19 virus. Spring enrollment at CSUMB was 7,020, down about 2.7% from a year earlier.

Today is Michelle Loxton's last day at KAZU. She has worked at the station since 2019 as a host and reporter. During that time Loxton reported on a variety of topics, including the coronavirus pandemic, the opioid epidemic, local elections and more. Some of the stories she fondly remembers covering include the student who dramatically increased COVID-19 testing in Monterey County, the impact of wildfires on our region’s environmental jewels and the history of a beloved Pacific Grove landmark – the magic carpet.


Credit Doug McKnight / KAZU News
Sign on the window of Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove



...and finally, you can add your own caption to this photo of a sign on the window of Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove. We couldn’t not share!


That’s this week’s Friday News Roundup.


See you next week,

The KAZU Team

Correction 6/14/21: A previous version of this newsletter stated that attendees of this year's Monterey Jazz Festival could see Jimmy Lyons perform. Lyons, who founded the Monterey Jazz festival in 1958, died in 1994.