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tv   NBC Bay Area News Tonight  NBC  June 15, 2021 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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i'm raj mathai. next on nbc bay area news tonight, hesitation, anxiety, and celebration. >> turning the page on this pandemic. >> many of us can take off the masks and businesses can start the process of returning to normal. tonight, we go one-on-one with dr. sara coatty from santa clara county. she became one of the first health officers to issue a stay-at-home order. >> i was extraordinarily worried.
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in our conversation, she responds to her critics. and many businesses are struggling to relaunch. a conversation with two business owners about the hurdles that stand in their way. we will get to those stories in a moment. we want to start with breaking news in vallejo. a four-alarm fire in this neighborhood off interstate 80. a few minutes ago, we could see the smoke pouring out one of the homes here, with fire crews on the roof of the second home. this grass fire, racing up a hillside and damaging at least those two homes. and that is the concern here, with the wind, the dry weather and the heat coming up this week. this is all happening along skyline drive. you can see the map, just east of interstate 80, by the hans park open space. this is on the opposite side of the freeway from six flags. let's bring in cheryl herd. she is on the ground level for us there. what can you tell us?
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>> reporter: they have given this fire a name. it started around 5:00. and the wind is picking up. that's what firefighters don't want. the firefighters are inside this home. they are making sure that fire doesn't hang out in the roof there. and inside, not sure if anybody's in there. but the fire started in the back of this home. 15 homes threatened, 3 on fire, maybe more. one person was taken to the hospital. with me live, is the mayor of vallejo. and mr. mayor, this is your worst nightmare, is that correct? >> it could be. but thanks to the actions of the wonderful first responders, they knocked it down as quickly as they possibly could. but it's a tragedy for the people whose homes are impacted and having to deal with the aftermath and smoke damage. this is something you have to guard against. it can happen to you, to me, to anyone, anywhere, anytime. >> i'm familiar with this area. i grew up in this area.
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there's a lot of dry brush around here. is the city of vallejo making sure that people get the brush away from their moments? >> it is, to a limited extent. we have limited resources, compared to other cities. people are to take charge, to clean out the fields and the dry wood. have a barrier and an open field like this. be careful about your roof. embers fly long distances. >> reporter: that's true. the embers flew into the home behind you. they caught it before it went out of control. tell us about the city of vallejo and the challenges that the city has right now, with police and fire. >> well, the federal government promised they would make restoration for a military base town. and they changed directions and
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never lived up to the promise. we are trying to rebuild the tax base. >> reporter: right now, you have fire departments closed. one in glen cove. and you don't have enough firefighters right now. >> you never have enough. the department is not closed. one station is. they're trying to service the area. there's a lot of vegetation near glen cove. the people who live there are very concerned about it. but you can't depend on the city or the government. you have to take charge of your own affairs. maybe you get a herd of goats to clear out the brush and get to the bare ground and get rid of the limbs on the trees. you have to be cognizant of fire. i fought fire for the forest service. >> reporter: you know what the firefighters are going through. thank you very much, mr. mayor. a situation that the whole bay area could be facing. the heat will rise today, tomorrow and the next day. the firefighters will be on
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scene to make sure that the fire doesn't spread. we'll have an update on this story at 11:00. reporting live, i'm cheryl hurd. >> what are you seeing right now? 7:00, people are coming home. is there neighbors on the street, trying to figure out what they can do to their own properties? >> exactly. they did evacuate one cul-de-sac area here. but i do see some people migrating back. you're right. people are coming home, finding out this fire is here. i did hear one man saying, my pregnant wife is at home. i don't see him up here. i think things are okay. this has turned the neighborhood upside-down. we have a lot of folks here, american canyon, napa, they are all here. they will be here all night, to make sure that the fire doesn't spread, raj. >> we will keep you there and check in with you. reporting in vallejo. let's bring in jeff ranieri.
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we mentioned it, the wind direction and politically, the mayor saying, there's a lack of resources out there. we know, that heat is coming up in a big way. >> certainly. i heard about in contra costa county, they're having fire resource issues, as well. county by county, a lot of folks are dealing with the lack of resources. they all banded together there tonight to put that out. the weather, even though it will be getting hot over the next couple days, was on the side of firefighters tonight. winds only at the southwest at 12 miles per hour. 76 and humidity at 30%. interstate 80 was on the eastern side of interstate 80. let me give you a closer view. if you live around the location, it's skyline drive. right there. that smoke is moving to the north and the east. looks like they have control of it, you may be smelling some of the smoke towards stageline
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court or buckskin place. in 15 minutes or so, raj will have an update on the major heat. we're talking temperatures about 108 in the bay area. back with that in about 15 minutes. >> we hope this is not a sign of things to come, as you forecast the heat and the dry conditions. another look from our sky ranger. thankfully, the silver lining, only the damage limited to apparently two or three homes. however, you see that row of homes, more than 20 of them, in that neighborhood here. this is a four-alarm fire. looks like firefighters have the upper hand now, in vallejo, off of interstate 80 on the opposite side of the freeway from six flags. we'll continue to monitor this situation. our other big story, a sense of relief. some celebrations. we did make it. june 15th, a seminal day across the bay area and across the state. it was bumpy, deadly and painful. we've been waiting for this day for a long time. the question now, what does
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tomorrow look like? when will we fully let loose and exhale. we have guests to answer those questions, including two small business owners who are hiring but can't find anyone to fill the open jobs. let's start, quickly, about the changes, that started today. no more capacity limits for businesses. no more social distancing. if you're vaccinated, you don't have to wear the mask in a lot of places, like shops and restaurants and salons. as we discovered throughout the day, many businesses are still requiring masks on their own. it is their decision. and for now, there are places you have to wear a mask, even if you're vaccinated. state guidelines. public transportation, like b.a.r.t., also hospitals and schools. as we dealt with covid restrictions and far too many of us dealt with the virus itself, there were certain health and political leaders on the front lines making the tough decisions and sometimes very unpopular decisions for so many communities. much of the upcoming recall election stems from governor
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newsom's policies, relating to businesses and schools being shut down. also in the spotlight, dr. sarah coty. she was on the announcement to close the biggest county, that our first covid case was in the south bay. since then, she received multiple threats and plenty of criticism. >> i was extraordinarily worried. that people were going to die of covid that didn't need to die of covid. i was also extraordinarily worried about all of the other things that happened because of the pandemic. and it was enormously difficult to know, for example, whether people were not going to see their doctors because they were afraid of covid or other reasons. i'm glad that 2020 is over. i'm glad that our vaccination
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rates are high. our case rates are some of the lowest they have ever been. i think we can all -- our community stepped up and that's why we're in the shape we are today. i'm grateful. >> was it unfair that you and other health leaders around the state, around the country, were getting criticism and threats to your health and well-being? >> unfortunately, i think this pandemic in the united states, in many ways, was fought county-by-county, by-county. that's not a good way to fight a once in a century pandemic. it was extraordinarily difficult and a lot of pressure was placed on us. a lot of the risk and a lot of the burden was placed on local health officials. and it didn't need to be that way. but it was. i think that we have come through it. we've learned a lot. and hopefully, the next time, we
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will have some -- really, a stronger public health system that's better knit together between the local, state and federal level. that will help a lot. >> did you think that stepping down, this is too personal for me? i can do something else on the side? >> i'm a rather stubborn person. i start something awant to finish. no. i would not ever do that. so, to those that thought that a few threats here and there, not at all. >> a lot of people appreciate that answer. dr. monica gandhi, the noted disease specialist said that the biggest mistake that california made was not sending our schoolkids back into the classroom because it's causing a lot of mental health issues. do you agree with that? >> i think that we in the bay area have been advocating for
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schools to be open for a very, very, very long time. and you know, if we could roll it back and find -- have found a way to keep schools open, while everything else was completely -- everyone else was shelter in place, then you know, that would have been great. i had hoped that we would be able to get schools back in the fall. some were opened. many were not. i think that there's a number of reasons for that. but looking forward, there is absolutely no reason for schools not to be fully opened, for in-person learning, at every level, every school in the fall, period, full stop. really important for our kids. >> i was saying, i don't think i've seen you without a mask in 15 months. it's nice to see your full face. we appreciate your time tonight. >> thank you.
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up next, why aren't more people coming back to work? despite the green light to fully reopen with no restrictions, many businesses aren't doing it. we're going to chat with two local business owners about the labor shortage that's holding them back. we've been here before. a pandemic and requirements to wear your masks, back in 1918. what happened the last time san francisco tried to lift this mask order? we dug up the answer.
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on november 21st at noon, there was a whistle blow across san francisco, that signified the mask order was over. >> this was 1918. the west coast was ravaged by the spanish flu. the city's decision to drop the mask mandate was premature. the supervisors had to issue another mask requirement. the difference tweempb then and now? well, health officials say we learned a lot more. we have more data behind our reopening this time around. we hope that is true. as of today, june 15th, it is the green light. a lot of businesses, especially restaurants and other businesses are getting a red light. they are looking to hire but not enough people who actually want to take those jobs. joining us now is john conway, owner of britannia arms, a popular pub and restaurant, with
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locations across the south way. and liz ortiz, the owner of the aloha roller rink. the brit is a south bay hangout. where are your workers? what's happening there? >> i was hoping to be celebrating with a full house as covid restrictions are lifted. unfortunately, we're down to 30% of normal staffing levels. most of our staff couldn't afford to stay in the area. they moved to reno and austin and other parts of the country where they could afford to rent and buy a home. we're struggling right now. >> let me get this straight for our viewers. you're ready to go, open. you don't have the staff to open the front doors at your bar? >> right. not only were we closed for 15 months, but we spent time to renovate the place. we were excited about today. it was a day we marked on the calendar for a while. >> you're not alone.
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i am guessing you talked to colleagues and restaurant and bar owners. we talked to them, as well. there's a similar situation across the bay area. >> we're going to make adjustments. we're open seven days a week, 11:00 to midnight. we're going to cut down on our shifts. we reduced our menu. we are going to implement some technology changes that will help those make the customer experience better and make us more efficient. >> big challenges. liz, you own aloha roller rink. you let the county use your roller rink as a vaccination site, a clinic there. did you get anything in return from the county? >> it was not my intent to really get anything in return. they are covering expenses and wanted to help by everyone becoming vaccinated. a few weeks off of the amount of
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time before we open our businesses. whatever i do to help. >> that's good of you and the other businesses that did that. one more question for you. when are you planning reopening? are you having trouble hiring at your roller rink there? >> right now, the vaccines are still going on until the 28th. we're going to be doing our very best turnaround. and my goal is for us to be able to staff and retrain everybody and get open hopefully by july 1st. >> good. we want to get the roller rink back open. john conway, back to you. you've been in business for a long time. what can you do? how can you come to a coalition together and help this issue about a labor shortage? and like you said, so many of your workers are moving to reno and austin and other cities like that. >> well, the hospitality industry, we've become good at pivoting and making adjustments. we band together and try to make
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the best of a bad situation. we'll get through this. we've been downtown for 20 years, which is a remarkable feat, given the number of restaurants that have opened and closed in that time down here. we're used to making adjustments and hopefully, when we do get the full staff and reopen the full hours, people will return and look forward to experiencing the brit 2.0. a new improved version. >> john, we wish you the best. liz, we wish you the best, as well. it's interesting because everyone is celebrating we have a green light. for business owners like you, it's a challenge just to get the staff members back in. thank you, john and liz. we know the changes can be tough to keep track of. we're here to help you move forward. even the business owners here. head to we put together a list of questions that many people have during this time, along with the answers. find that page,
7:21 pm back to the breaking news that we started the newscast with. the four-alarm fire in vallejo. we're going to check in with jeff and talk about the wind direction and the fire damage as we move into the next 48 to 72 hours.
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we're not heading into fire season. we're in fire season. so many homes got so lucky.
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this was right at the border here. so close. a little bit of wind. but the temperatures will be increasing in the next couple days. the fire damage will be high. i want to start off with the wind during our heat wave. and the great news, it doesn't look gusty. only 5 to 10 miles per hour. >> be prepared where you live. and so many of the communities are and cross your fingers. it's the luck of the draw. >> yeah. we're on the defense here. you got to have all of your stuff ready to go. let's bring you into that microclimate forecast. and we'll look at the heat warnings. most of the bay area, for the north, east and south bay. temperatures between 94 and 108 degrees. that humidity down to 10 and 20%. now, all of this heat is coming from the desert southwest. so, the circulation around this hot, high pressure, it's going to pull that heat in, as we head
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throughout the next three-day forecast. that means tomorrow morning, we'll start off warmer with widespread 60s. high cloud cover streaming across. not as sunny with blue sky throughout the entire bay area for the morning. rolling through the afternoon, there's some of the heat starting to move in. livermore 100. concord 100. closer to the bay and the coast, the numbers not as hot. that's a little bay and ocean breeze. in san francisco, we have 07 70s. and 60s return. and through the inland valleys, hottest day is thursday, 106. friday, 100. and then, down to 92, once you roll into sunday. next week, 79. that's looking good. >> compare to the 106. you're very right. thank you, jeff. coming up tonight at 11:00, we'll be assessing the damage. we'll have the latest on the fire in vallejo. also, are people ditching their masks?
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it's a habit by now, isn't it? we're checking in on how comfortable shoppers are feeling. those stories and more coming up on the 11:00 newscast. ? . let's leave you with a smile. a sound we haven't heard in more than a year. san francisco's beloved cable cars. the bells ringing in their return. the iconic cars will be back on the city hills, in august. and for that entire month of august, how's this? you can ride it for free. all cable cars are free. the public is invited to free rides. the city will use that time to retrain operators, to test the systems and shake off the rust. instead of using test trial rides, they want people to be actually there on the cable cars. great to see that. that means we're getting back to a normal situation. that's going to do it for us at 7:00. for everyone here at nbc bay area, thanks for joining us. have a great evening. see you back at 11:00.
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