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The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve an urgency ordinance providing a temporary 30-day moratorium on evictions in the unincorporated parts of the county due to special circumstances caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium applies to evictions caused by income loss, increased medical expenses or childcare needs resulting from the virus.

Supervisors Wilma Chan and Keith Carson, who introduced the ordinance, said it will prevent renters in the county’s unincorporated areas from being evicted if they can demonstrate a substantial loss of income as a result of the coronavirus.

That could include loss of employment, reduction in paid work hours, workplace closures and the need to care for a home-bound school-age child.

County staff said violations of the ordinance would be considered a misdemeanor and landlord or lenders that fail to comply will be subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation and be subject to criminal proceedings.

Sabyl Landrum, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, said the intent of the ordinance is good but she believes it needs to be strengthened to protect tenants. She asked the board to postpone voting on the ordinance for a week so it’s language could be toughened.

But Chan said:

“I prefer we go ahead and vote on this today (Tuesday) because this is an urgent situation. We can amend this later if we need to.”

Community Development Agency Director Chris Bazar said the board can extend the ordinance for up to six months or whatever time frame is necessary if the coronavirus pandemic continues for a long time.

Several other governments in the Bay Area have passed or are considering similar eviction moratoriums.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor approved an eviction moratorium on Tuesday and the Hayward City Council is scheduled to vote on a similar ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday night.

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