COVID-19 updates

Dear Team Carlsbad,

I hope you had a restful weekend and were able to enjoy some of our amazing December weather. Seeing a scene like the one below on Saturday is a good reminder that in spite of all the challenges this year has brought, life in Carlsbad goes on, and we still have a lot to be thankful for.

New regional stay at home order

As you have likely heard by now, starting today, Carlsbad is part of a regional stay at home order affecting all of Southern California that will last until at least Dec. 27.

What does this mean? Unfortunately, all gatherings are now prohibited, restaurants may only offer take out service or delivery, and hair salons and other personal services must close operations. Here at the city, we must once again close down playgrounds. Unlike previous stay at home orders, parks, trails and beaches remain open, and outdoor recreation is encouraged due to the positive effects on our mental and physical health.

This comes at a particularly difficult time as folks are making plans for the holidays. Travel is strongly discouraged, and hotels have been ordered to only accommodate out of state visitors traveling for essential critical infrastructure related work.

Case surge and ICU capacity

The reason for these new restrictions is the steep increase in cases and the effects on ICU capacity, which has fallen to about 12% on average in Southern California. You can read more about the new regional stay at home order and case data in my regular updates, which are on the city’s website.

City workplace safety

With the widespread nature of COVID-19 in our community, we need to continue to do everything we can to keep our employees and workplaces safe. Since my last email, we have had three new COVID-19 workplace exposures, meaning someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in a city building while contagious.

Employee safety, protection and privacy are of the highest priority. We are constantly balancing these priorities with our goal of being transparent. I will continue to share general information about case activity in our workplace in these emails. If someone contagious with COVID-19 has been in your work area, you will receive an email notification from the deputy city manager who oversees your department. Staff believed to have been in close contact with the person will be contacted individually.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, either in or outside of the workplace (including family or your personal circles), do not return to work, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. Contact your supervisor and HR immediately to discuss options and determine when your appropriate return date will be.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of maintaining vigilance not just in the workplace, but at all times.

Remote work

The very best way to reduce workplace exposure to COVID-19 is to reduce the number of employees reporting to city facilities. If your job duties allow you to work remotely, please do this. If you can’t do part of your duties from home, come in just for those things that must be done at a city facility.

Given the diversity of work at a city like ours, there is not going to be a one size fits all solution to remote work. Please coordinate with your supervisors and department directors to determine the best approach for your particular role.


If you have to report to the workplace, wear your mask according to our updated citywide face mask policy. Although there are some exceptions to mask rules, I strongly urge you to err on the side of caution. As a reminder masks are mandatory:

  • In any public space, even if members of the public are not present (a public space is any indoor space the public has access to, such as a community center, City Hall lobby and public service counters)

  • Walking in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, kitchen/break rooms

  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for distribution to others

  • Indoors when in an office or any room where others are present

  • Outdoors, if you can’t stay at least 6 feet away from others

  • Driving any city vehicle when others are present

When out in the field, keep in mind, as public servants, people will look to city employees as an example. If you are taking a break to eat or drink or otherwise engaging in activities where masks are not required, consider doing those things out of public view.

Helping local seniors

We’ve all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but especially our senior population. To brighten the holiday season for seniors registered for our home meal delivery lunch program, the Senior Center is accepting unwrapped donations of gifts and goodies, and all staff are invited to participate.

Some gift ideas include:

  • Notecards and stationary items

  • Slippers

  • Blankets

  • Ornaments

  • Toiletries and personal care items like soap and lotion

  • Gift cards for groceries and other delivered items

If you would like to donate any items, you can drop them off by Thursday, Dec. 17, at:

  • Carlsbad Senior Center, 799 Pine Ave.

  • 11 a.m. to noon

  • Or send to the Senior Center via interoffice mail

You’re also welcome to help wrap gifts at the “Virtual Holiday Wrap-Up” Zoom party on Dec. 9, noon to 1 p.m. Email Mike Pacheco, for the Zoom link or you can register here.

Gifts with meals will be delivered to seniors Dec. 21 – 24.

Making wellness a priority

Thank you to the 400+ team members who completed our employee survey a few weeks ago. One of the top responses was the importance of health, fitness and wellness support. We’re taking that feedback to heart and will be sharing more resources, tips and programming in the coming weeks.

I know the holiday season can bring stress even in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. I came across an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine with six steps for relieving stress and wanted to share:

1. Identify your triggers - once you know where your stress is coming from — a relationship, kids, workload, a health problem — you can sometimes reduce or prevent the stress.

2. Stay connected - Many find that connections with a faith family, neighbors and even pets, help them feel positive and energetic, even if children and grandchildren aren’t close at hand.

3. Stay active - Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins. Taking short walking breaks several times a day is a powerful tool for channeling stress. Exercising or joining yoga, dance, or tai chi online classes with friends also helps achieve steps 2 — staying connected.

4. Find your “pause” button - Consider spending quiet time daily: contemplation, reflection and breathing fosters resilience and calm.

5. Plan your fun - To prevent the daily rush from consuming your life, plan your fun for the day, week, month or year.

6. Reframe your thinking about stress itself - Reminding yourself of stress’s evolutionary value may improve your performance and paradoxically reduce feelings of stress, in that you’re not adding “stress about stress” to stress the original trigger aroused.

What do you do to relieve stress? Email us your suggestions and photos at

National Computer Security Day

Last Monday was National Computer Security Day. It may sound like an obscure day to recognize, but its importance impacts us on a daily basis. When was the last time you weren’t connected online through a computer or other device?

Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re safe online:

  • Develop stronger passwords for login portals. Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. Mix up the casing of your letters.

  • Refresh on tips for safe and secure Zoom meetings.

  • Beware of lookalike domains, spelling errors in emails or websites, and unfamiliar email senders.

  • Be cautious with files received via email from unknown senders, especially if they prompt for a certain action you would not usually do.

  • Think before you click.

Continue to make cybersecurity your top priority with this informational video.

Upcoming Holiday Breakfast

Start getting your festive attire and Zoom backgrounds ready, our virtual Holiday Breakfast is this Thursday, Dec. 10, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.! We’ll be celebrating the spirit of service, and I look forward to connecting with you!

Until then, stay safe and stay well. We are going to get through these difficult times. We are going to do it together.

Keep up the great work, Team Carlsbad!

Miss my last update? Read it here.