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City Manager Weekly Blog Series: December 13, 2021

Learn about City of Palo Alto updates and news.

Each Council meeting, City Manager Ed Shikada provides “City Manager Comments” sharing recent City news, and updates for the community to stay informed on important issues. This blog series summarizes these weekly updates.

This week’s City Manager Comments were not shared verbally at the meeting. You can watch the December 13, 2021 Council meeting here.

Timestamped City Council Video: City Council Meeting — December 13, 2021


Omicron Variant

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is still learning about the new variant, including how it responds to vaccines. The first cases have been reported in Santa Clara County. There was also a report of the variant being identified in the wastewater stream in North County.

This is an evolving issue, and we are monitoring it in conjunction with Santa Clara County Public Health.

California Mandates Masks Indoors

Starting Wednesday, December 15, 2021, everyone in California is required to wear a mask indoors in public places regardless of vaccination status. The mandate is in effect until January 15, 2022. This new measure brings an added layer of mitigation as the Omicron variant is detected across California and the US.

For more about the new California mask mandate, go here.

Free COVID-19 Testing in Palo Alto Continues

Palo Alto Unified School District Offers Free COVID-19 Testing at Cubberley Pavilion, Monday — Friday from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. No advanced registration is required but it is recommended.

Testing by Curative is offered at two Palo Alto locations: Every Tuesday at the Mitchell Park Library parking lot and Wednesdays at City Hall.

For other testing locations, go to

Council Discussion on In-Person Meetings

Tonight, the Council will discuss plans for in-person meetings in light of continued pandemic uncertainties for Standing Committees, Ad Hoc Committees, and Boards, Commissions and Committees


There are no significant storm-related issues at this point, though continued rain is expected throughout this week. Staff from Public Works, Utilities, Police and Fire Departments continuing responses to issues as arise. During times of heavy rain like this week, it is a good reminder that the City offers sandbag stations at Rinconada Park (near the tennis courts), Mitchell Park, and the Palo Alto Airport.

There are no indications of flooding concern as part of this week’s series of storms.

For more on sandbag stations, go here.


Our community is understandably concerned about the recent wave of retail crime, “smash-and-grab” shoplifts, auto burglaries, and other related types of crimes. The Palo Alto Police Department is monitoring this regional issue and partnering closely with other law enforcement agencies.

A new blog from our Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen shares updates on what the Palo Alto Police Department is doing to curb these types of crimes and provides ways the community can help everyone stay safe this holiday season.

Read the Holiday Safety Tips blog here.


Shopping local is a wonderful way to celebrate and support our community as we continue our recovery from the pandemic. As we did last year, we invited local businesses throughout Palo Alto for holiday promotions and offerings and are featuring those that we received via our website.

If you are a Palo Alto business and missed the original deadline, you can still be featured by emailing City staff at

Find all the promotions and holiday cheer at


Decorate the exterior of your home, a front door/window, or your business in holiday-themed décor! Sign up to participate in the holiday decorating contest by December 15.

Holiday Toy Drive: drop off unwrapped gifts to the Lucie Stern Community Center by December 15. More information about other drop-off centers can be found at

For these events and more, visit


As we celebrate the holidays, add some waste-free ideas to the holiday plans and take comfort in reducing waste, pollution, and greenhouse gases. Thanks to Zero Waste staff, they offer ways online to make it easier to reduce waste this holiday season.

For several tips and more, go to


City Council will be on recess from December 15 through January 2. Possible additional Council meeting on January 31

Please share input on the City Council priorities for 2022 in advance of their retreat in February. Learn more at

January 3, 2022 — Council Organizational Meeting (6 p.m.)

January 10, 2022

  • Potential Business Tax Actions
  • NVCAP Concept Plan Review

Later January and beyond

  • Long-Range Financial Forecast
  • Objective Standards Ordinance Adoption
  • City Council Retreat — Saturday, February 5
  • FY 2022 Mid-Year Budget Review
  • Cal Ave. and Ramona St. Street Closures

Find City Council meeting agendas, minutes, and videos at


Read the City Manager Comments Blog Series at:

Gain Coronavirus Updates at:

Sign Up for City Updates at:



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City of Palo Alto

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