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Digital Update: Find an Open Restaurant, WiFi update, COVID-19 Testing, and more

Posted on June 5, 2020

Find an Open Restaurant

To support restaurants who want to use the public right-of-way, we worked with Economic Development, Public Works, Community Development, and the City Attorney’s office to create an automatic temporary encroachment permit. We asked businesses who got the permit about their experience and here’s what they had to say:

  • The process was simple and efficient.
  • This is the smartest idea I have heard yet to help restaurants survive.
  • You folks did a great great job of pushing through the planning and permits we are so grateful and we have had excellent business much better than we expected.

To help people find what restaurants are open (inspired by a similar effort in the Puget Sound), Zak created a map where restaurants can add their location, website, open hours, and whether they are open for pickup / delivery / outdoor dining. Check. It. Out. We’re soft launching this beta version and welcome feedback.

Canal WiFi Network

This week we finalized the locations for the WiFi equipment. Since our initial design, we’ve added more root access point locations which will help improve the strength of the network and the coverage area.

Canal WiFi Access Points

We also started collecting baseline data about internet access. We worked with Canal Alliance and San Rafael City Schools to collect survey data in both English and Spanish (thank you to Gaby F and Jill T from Library & Recreation for helping with this). Canal Alliance collected data in-person at their Tuesday food distribution. As of right now, we have several hundred responses. Some initial trends we are seeing in the data:

  • Most respondents say they do not own a home computer. For those with a computer at home, about a fifth say it’s a Chromebook issued from school.
  • Less than half say they have internet in their home and many rely on access to the internet through their smartphone.
  • For those with home internet, almost most have access through Comcast Essentials.

Next, we will push the survey out to parents through the school district, on social media, text notifications, and through the Canal Alliance mobile app.

Sean began mocking up the branding as well as the landing page for accessing the network. We will work with Canal Alliance and the County to curate critical messages and services.

Increasing Awareness about COVID-19 Testing

Last week, to support the County’s goal of getting as many people in the Canal tested for COVID-19 as possible, we helped spread awareness through signage and social media videos in Spanish, English, and Vietnamese. Our videos were watched over 8,500 times on Facebook and over 1,500 times on Instagram. These videos featured people who are trusted in the Canal community, from Bahia Vista elementary, the Pickleweed Library, Parent Services Project, and our police and fire departments. People who participated in the testing opportunities were asked how they heard about it and many of them said Facebook. Huge kudos go to Christine for organizing these videos and to our City employee stars: Mireya, Raul, and Angel.

COVID-19 Testing Awareness Videos

The Public Safety Center’s Network is Now Online – “It’s Alive!”

Public Safety Center Network

The Digital Team has been working throughout the COVID-19 crisis to support technology projects in the Public Safety Center, helping to ensure the timely completion of the building. We were extremely fortunate with the timeline for the network project and ordered the network equipment in the weeks preceding the shelter-in-place order, avoiding supply chain shipping delays and equipment shortages, and assuring that everything arrived in a timely manner without causing delays to construction.

This week we hit a major milestone with the installation of network equipment and switched on the initial connection to the internet which will allow for numerous services throughout the building to come online including WiFi, security systems, HVAC, and video cameras for Police Department interview rooms.

Over the course of the next few weeks we will continue to bring new systems online, as well as test the reliability of the network and the strength of WiFi signals throughout the building. With the initial progress on the network in place our team is getting ready to make purchases of new staff workstation and telephone equipment in preparation for move in later this Summer.

Remote Work Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took our remote work survey (72 respondents). We are using the feedback to pinpoint areas where we can improve and better support all of you who are working from home. Here are the findings from the survey and what we are doing next.

Finding Next Steps
People can access email, make video calls, and collaborate on documents easily. None.
Some people are having trouble making/receiving phone calls and checking their voicemail. Create and send out training materials.
Remote desktop is heavily used and works well for most people using it, however about 40% of users can’t access everything they need. Follow-up survey to remote desktop users to find out what services they need access to.
There are a few people with home internet connectivity issues, but overall home internet is working well for people most of all the time. Identify users with connectivity issues and troubleshoot (WiFi extenders, hotspots, etc.)
Most people are working from home with just a laptop and a couple of people are using iPads. Explore cost-effective ways to provide people with a monitor and keyboard / mouse at home. Move iPad users to laptops as we are able. Recommend a webcam to departments to purchase as needed.
Most people are very satisfied with tech support. None.
Most people find the remote work resources on the employee website helpful, but a few don’t. Find out what people want to learn. Continue adding resources & training materials.

We’re interested to hear about what people want to learn so we can create and curate more training resources. Let us know.

New O365 Teams Features

If you haven’t discovered them already, Microsoft has released new features for Teams video calls. You can now:

  • Set a virtual background. Tired of having a laundry hamper in the background of your meetings? Set a neutral office background behind you and you’ll never have to make your bed ever again.
  • Raise your hand. Want to say something but not interrupt? Click the hand and it will show others that you’d like to speak.
  • 9 people per view. Teams now allows up to 9 squares at a time, so you can feel like a member of the Brady Bunch.

Learn more about how to use Microsoft Teams for video calls, chat, and collaboration:

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