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To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Fruitvale, our Business Improvement District team distributed more than 225 sneeze guards to more than 90 locally-owned, small businesses throughout the neighborhood last month.  

The sneezeguards, donated by the City of Oakland’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development were assembled and distributed throughout the International and Foothill corridors with the help of volunteers and staff.  Artie Rodriguez, Business Engagement Specialist, who assisted with the month-long project, said it was rewarding seeing the response from the merchants. “They were so happy to receive these free sneezeguards because they can’t afford to upgrade their business with the proper equipment,” said Rodriguez. “These are going to keep themselves and the customers safe.”  

As small businesses throughout the nation begin to re-open and restrictions are lifted, it’s more important than ever to maintain the COVID-19 precautions we’ve become accustomed to in order to prevent the next spike in cases. The Fruitvale neighborhood residents have been devastated by Covid-19 for much of last year, with the neighborhood experiencing the highest rates of infection in all of Alameda County for weeks on end.  

For small business owners like Leonardo of Panaderia Sevilla, the sneeze guards are a piece of mind that he is protecting his customers, staff, and family from COVID-19.  

“Thank you so much – we are pleased to receive these donations for the bakery. The sneeze guards allow us to do our part to maintain physical distance and safety.”  

Thank you, City of Oakland’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development, and Peralta Service Corporation for your collaboration with personal protective equipment at no cost to Fruitvale small businesses.