Irvine Orders All Retail Personnel to Wear Face Coverings

FaceMask.01Effective Wednesday, April 8, 2020, by order of the City Manager in his capacity as Director of Emergency Services,  all retail personnel in the City of Irvine will be required to wear face coverings.

This executive order applies to all retail businesses including, but not limited to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Restaurants

The use of cloth face coverings could reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by individuals who do not have symptoms and may reinforce social distancing. Face coverings can include items such as bandanas, fabric masks, and neck gaiters.

It is important to note face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing and hand washing, which remain our most important line of defense against the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about the use of face coverings or to find a provider, visit

Note: I’ve added a new “COVID-19 Community Resources and Information Page to my blog, with links to up-to-date and reliable resources and information from federal, state, and county sources, as well as the cities and public schools in the 68th Assembly District.

I have also decided to use my Assembly campaign phone-banking and community outreach resources to call seniors and people in need of critical services in the cities of Assembly District 68 — Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim Hills and Villa Park — to ask how they’re doing during this stressful time and to see whether they need any help, including food assistance and mental health assistance and other community resources.  Our volunteer callers will be able to provide information and connect seniors with any community assistance or resources they might need.

If you would like to join our “Supporting Seniors” virtual phone-bank and be a volunteer caller, please contact Carson at See our event page on Facebook HERE.

If you need help yourself or have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at or call me at 949-683-8855.


Irvine Community Land Trust Continues Mission of Providing Affordable Housing During COVID-19 Crisis

Last week, my colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) unanimously elected me to serve another year as Chair.  I am grateful for their support and for the opportunity to continue to lead the important work of the Land Trust in this difficult time.

As we fight this deadly outbreak, secure and affordable housing has never been more important.

I’m very happy that California Governor Newsom has issued an Executive Order halting evictions due to non-payment of rent due to medical or financial consequences of COVID-19.  Adding to California’s already far too high 150.000 homeless population would make it even more difficult for us to stop the spread of the virus.

At our next meeting, which will be conducted electronically and to which the public is invited, we will be adopting new measures to help our tenants deal with the COVID-19 emergency, including rent deferments and other forms of assistance.

Our Executive Director of the Irvine Community Land Trust, Mark Asturias, has released the following statement in regard to ICLT’s response to COVID-19:


There’s no shortage of uncertainly in the world lately, so I’d like to take a moment to tell you exactly how the Irvine Community Land Trust is navigating the post-COVID world.

As an affordable housing nonprofit, our communities are comprised of some of Irvine’s most vulnerable populations, even when there isn’t a global crisis weighing on them. No matter the circumstances, we remain steadfast in our commitment to our residents and to ensuring they have a place they can be proud to call “home.”

We will not falter, but we are doing things a little differently to best protect the health and safety of our staff, board members, residents and partners in the community.

For starters, we’re observing social distancing by moving our regular public board meetings online. Earlier this week, we held the ICLT’s first online board meeting, utilizing both Zoom and a public phone line to great effect. Information on joining our future digital meetings will be posted as available at

At each of our properties – Parc Derian, Alegre and Doria – we’re working with property managers to ensure residents are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to navigate these trying times.

Through a series of special government protocols, we’re continuing construction on our new community, Salerno. Out of concern for our construction workers, we’re also undertaking extraordinary measures to ensure they stay safe and healthy while on the job. And, in cooperation with our community partners, we’re continuing our work to make Irvine the best it can be, no matter the challenges we face.

In the coming weeks, the next edition of our newsletter will be delivered as usual, packed with the latest and greatest from the ICLT. For now, rest assured that our commitment to our mission burns stronger than ever as we rise to face this unprecedented situation.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy – we’re all in this together.


Mark Asturias
Executive Director
Irvine Community Land Trust”

For links to up-to-date COVID-19 Resources and Information, click HERE.



Join Our “Supporting Seniors” Virtual Phone-Bank!

Governor Gavin Newsom has urged all Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock to make sure they’re okay during this COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home order.

Our campaign — Melissa Fox for California Assembly (AD68) — has decided to use our phone-banking and community outreach resources to call seniors and people in need of critical services in the cities of Assembly District 68 — Lake Forest, Tustin, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim Hills and Villa Park — to ask how they’re doing during this stressful time and to see whether they need any help, including food assistance and mental health assistance and other community resources.  Our volunteer callers will be able to provide information and connect seniors with any community assistance or resources they might need.

If you would like to join our “Supporting Seniors” virtual phone-bank and be a volunteer caller, please contact Carson at

You can also sign-up on our campaign website at

See our event page on Facebook HERE.


See also: COVID-19 Resources and Information

A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookstore in Irvine Now Offers Curbside Pick-Up Service!

My longtime favorite Irvine bookstore is A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe!

When my son, Max, was little, we loved to go to A Whale of a Take together to hear famous authors read from their books or just to browse their shelves.  I believe our favorite was Dave Shannon, author of “No, David!” and “How I Became a Pirate.”

We especially loved their magical late-night parties when the newest Harry Potter books were first released!

For 20 years Irvine’s own secret garden of children’s books, owned and run by Alex Uhl, has given time and dollars to enhancing community spirit and the education of young people.  They’ve truly lived up to their motto of “Integrity + Service + Respect + Love of Books and Community.”

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox with Whale of a Tale children’s bookstore owner, Alex Uhl.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, A Whale of a Tale has had to close to the public.

However, they’ve now announced that they will be offering carry-out curbside book service!

It also a great way to support one of our most community-oriented local independent small businesses!

Here’s their announcement:

“Dear Book Readers,

We hope you are safe, healthy, and enjoying some quality time with your family!
As you know, A Whale of a Tale is closed to the public till further notice…and of course, all of our March and April events have been cancelled.  However, in order to satisfy your need for books and to support your local independent bookstore….

Beginning April 1st we will be offering
BOOK CARRY-OUT curbside book service…
pick-up ONLY!

Interested? We do not have an active on-line shopping cart, but you can still order via e-mail.  So, complete this form if you would like to purchase (add a couple of alternative options)   or e-mail a list to 
 (Please include your phone number)

We will gather the books, package them and have them ready for curbside pickup.  If we don’t have a specific book, we will make every effort to order (might take a day or two longer) and/or offer an alternative.  As soon as your order is ready, we’ll give you a call to arrange for payment and pick up. 

Not sure about selection???  Give us your child’s age, gender and interests and we can pull together a SURPRISE Bag of books!! 

 Whale of a Tale is an independent bookstore, in business since 1989, serving children of all ages in greater Orange County, especially Irvine.  It is an honor to serve this community, and we are grateful for your support.
We are committed to physical distancing and to keeping everyone healthy.  Still, it goes without saying that bookstores and books are essential in their own special way, especially now with schools and libraries closed, and our children at home.
Books keep your spirits up and minds active!

Stay safe, stay healthy, take care of each other…. and make time to READ together!  

Please note that due to the current health situation, books purchased at this time are not returnable.”

A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe
16277 Laguna Canyon Rd. Suite G  Irvine, Ca.
Phone: 949-854-8288

I’ve aways loved reading stories out loud and we’ve spent many wonderful hours at A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe in Irvine. I’ll be reading a selection of great children’s books handpicked by Alex, the proprietor. Here is “What Does an Anteater Eat?” by Ross Collins.

Let’s Help UCI Medical Center’s PPE Donation Drive!

UCI School of Medicine is in urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE)!

Medical students are hosting a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive the week of March 30 – April 4, 2020.

UCI Medical Center is accepting the following supplies in unopened and unused condition:
-N95 Respirators
-Surgical Masks
-Face Shields
-Protective Goggles
-Disposable Gloves
-Hand Sanitizer
-Isolation Gowns

Drop Off Locations and Dates:

3/30, 3/31, 4/1, 4/2, 4/4 @ 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Gavin Herbert Eye Institute Parking Lot
850 Health Sciences Rd, Irvine, CA 92697

3/30, 3/31, 4/1 @ 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Albertsons Ladera Ranch
27702 Crown Valley Pkwy Suite B, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694

For questions or concerns, please email

Thank you for your support!


Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market Continues on Sundays at the Great Park!

I have worked with City of Irvine staff and the coordinator for the Great Park Farmer’s Market to develop a Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market for Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

I’ve always loved farmer’s markets, and I’m glad I was able to help provide fresh food to our community when it’s never been more important to eat right to stay healthy!

Some options from last week’s Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at the Great Park. Photo by Caroline Djang.

The Sunday Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at the Great Park allows for the market to be open during the COVID19 outbreak while maintaining social distancing in keeping with state and federal guidelines will continue on Sundays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm until further notice.

At this time, there are approximately 23 vendors scheduled to participate with items varying from fruits and vegetables to hummus, bread, beef jerky, honey, and eggs.

A traffic safety plan has been developed with the assistance of Public Works & Transportation, Public Safety, and Community Services staff to facilitate anticipated traffic.

The Market is staffed with four uniformed police officers in marked vehicles to assist in traffic flow and to ensure social distancing is adhered to. Community Services will also have three staff on-site beginning at 6 a.m. to facilitate the vendors or provide additional assistance as needed.

Admission is free. The Farmers Market is located in Lot No. 2; enter along Great Park Boulevard at Sand Canyon Avenue.

When we first opened the Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market at Great Park two weeks ago, I arrived just before 10:00 a.m. and it took e about an hour to get through the line.  Since then, City staff and I have discussed ways to try to improve on that time — now, to better facilitate traffic, vendors with packaged products such as kettle corn, bread, nuts and beef jerky will be at the beginning of the drive-through, and vendors with fresh vegetables will be in two lines at the end — but I would still expect to spend about an hour in line in your car.

We bought fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, hummus, kombucha, eggs, and terrific tamales last week — and we’re looking forward to shopping there again this Sunday!

Here is some important information:

  • Drive-thru only. No walk-ups or cyclists will be served.
  • Exact cash is required, if using cash. Venmo and bank cards will be accepted.
  • Purchase only what is needed, be considerate of others in need.
  • Be patient and proceed slowly when waiting in traffic.
  • Wash all produce before consumption.

UPDATE: (Sunday, March 29, 2020) The line was indeed faster and better organized! See the graphic above right).

The Great Park Certified Farmers Market is operated by Mary Ann Senske. For vendor details or other information, visit the market on Facebook  or  Instagram.

For questions or to request an application to be a vendor, contact her at 714-733-3167 or

California Governor Orders Halt in All Evictions Due to COVID19

Today California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new Executive Order halting all evictions statewide for those affected by COVID19.

The measure prevents the evictions of renters over the nonpayment of rent through May 31.

It covers those who have lost work because of the pandemic, have become sick or have had to take care of family members with COVID19. Law enforcement and the court system also would be prohibited from executing evictions while the order is in effect.  Renters are required to eventually pay all the rent they owe, and must notify their landlords in writing within seven days of their nonpayment.

In an earlier Executive Order, Governor Newcom had given authority to local governments to ban evictions due to COVID19 for 60 days.  Many cities had exercised this power to halt evictions, including Anaheim and Costa Mesa in Orange County, as well as San Diego, Long Beach, San JoseLos AngelesLong BeachEl MonteFresnoSan Francisco,  CamarilloOjaiOxnardThousand OaksMoorpark, and Santa Monica.

The Governor’s new order is especially welcome in cities like Irvine, where this week, by a 4-1 vote, the Irvine City Council refused even to vote on my motion to order a legal moratorium on evictions due to the COVID19 crisis, opting instead to “strongly encourage” landlords not to seek evictions by passing a non-binding resolution with no legal force. I voted No because Irvine renters need real protection but the resolution passed by the Council has absolutely no legal force or effect. 

Now, renters in all California cities — including Irvine — are protected from eviction due to COVID19.

Thank you, Governor Newsom!