Ecology Center’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update on Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ecology Center Store During COVID-19

As we continue to navigate the uncharted territory of the COVID-19 lockdowns, we would like to thank our community for all the support that has been shown to the Ecology Center staff during this challenging time.

In order to provide essential products, our store reopened using a prepaid, pick-up-only model on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Customers can visit our temporary online catalog at, and submit an order.

Staff will be wearing gloves and face masks when processing and packing orders.

We need your help to keep our building safe and healthy for all community members, by following these guidelines:
  • Please wash or sanitize your hands before entering the building.
  • Wear a face-covering throughout the entire pickup process.
  • We are limiting the number of staff who enter into this facility at any one time to ensure that people in the facility can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another at all times.
  • We are scheduling pick-ups so that there is only one person in the foyer at a time. If you need to wait, please do so outside of the building. You will see that there are taped markers on the ground that indicate the CDC’s recommended distance between people while you wait in line. Please respect these markers.
  • We will be providing hand sanitizer at the entrance of the Store to ensure that hands are clean during pick-ups.
  • All payments must be made in advance, over the phone, via credit card. No exceptions.
  • The door handles and other high-touch surfaces will be regularly disinfected throughout the day.
  • Always stay at home if you are sick.
  • Staff will be self-monitoring and not attending work if symptomatic.
  • Staff will be maintaining social distance during work hours with the number of staff in the space not to exceed 3 people.
  • Those who are high-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) should avoid coming to the Store.
  • Always cough or sneeze, into your arm or a tissue, away from people
  •  Do not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact.
Thank you in advance for your patience and support.

Update on Thursday, April 9, 2020

Ecology Center’s Berkeley Farmers’ Markets During COVID-19

As an essential service, the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets REMAIN OPEN, providing fresh, healthy food for the community. We are actively making operational changes to protect customers, farmers, and staff, and to mitigate the spread of disease.

We continue to follow the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Starting Saturday, 3/28/2020 we will begin queueing customers at the market entrance, if the number of customers already in the market exceeds our maximum crowd count. We will then let queued customers into the market every 15 minutes or when the crowd count has decreased. Thank you in advance for your patience and kindness to market staff.

We need your help to keep the markets safe and healthy for all community members, by following these guidelines:

  • Come prepared and limit your visit time. We ask that you come ready, shopping list in hand, so you can get in and get out quickly. Please treat the market as an essential activity not as a social activity. And, send only one family member if you can.
  • Honor social distancing of six feet while at the market. Give space to those around you, at least 6 feet, while shopping and waiting in line.
  • Observe all posted signage and demarcated lines, which signal where customers should wait, six feet apart, to order and pay for their products.
  • Always stay home if you are sick. Visit the Berkeley Mutual Aid website if you need help with shopping, or ask us which farmers provide CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture box.
  • Wash hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Please consider washing your hands before entering the market. We will have hand sanitizer and public hand washing stations set up by the Ecology Center information booth.
  • Those who are high-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) avoid coming to the market. Email us for the list of vendors providing pre-orders and CSA boxes. We are currently working on exploring new ways to serve high-risk community members and will share more soon.
  • As always, wash your fruits and veggies when you return home.
  • Always cough or sneeze, into your arm or a tissue, away from people and food.

Update on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Ecology Center Curbside Recycling During COVID-19 

As many of us settle into sheltering-in-place, we want to assure you that the Ecology Center will continue to provide high-quality Curbside Recycling collection in Berkeley. Even though we are living through an unprecedented disruption, the Ecology Center is here to provide you with Essential Services like Curbside Recycling and Farmers’ Markets. Even during this uncertain time, we should all continue to recycle to save natural resources, energy, water and prevent waste.

To be mindful of the COVID-19 health emergency, we are taking extra preventative measures. Below are a few of the additional steps our staff and drivers are taking to interrupt the spread of the virus.

  • Continuing to use appropriate personal protective equipment during curbside recycling collection.
  • Asking staff or drivers to stay home if they exhibit any symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.
  • Staggering our start times. This allows us to maintain social distancing at the workplace and en route. 
  • Tele-working for administrative staff who can work at home while sheltering-in-place.
  • Remaining in close communication with the City of Berkeley and standing ready to adjust operations accordingly. 

To support the safe and efficient running of your Curbside Recycling Service, we ask that you observe the following:

  • Keep being outstanding recyclers. Separating your recyclables helps us reclaim high-quality materials for the recycled commodities markets. Place your cans, bottles, jugs, and tubs under the blue lid and place your paper and cardboard under the brown lid. Please don’t wish cycle; if you have to guess, it probably is not recyclable. As always, no styrofoam, plastic bags, pouches, or flexible film.
  • Park your vehicle close to the curb. With so many residents sheltering-in-place, it can be more difficult to get our large trucks through narrow streets.
  • Please observe proper hygiene when handling carts. Recycling cart handles are a high-touch surface in a public area.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6’ when our drivers approach.
  • Fill your cart before putting it out for pickup. Reducing the number of carts at the curb makes for more effective and consistent service. Flattening cans and plastic bottles before placing them into your cart could increase your usable volume between collection days.
  • Flatten your cardboard. Increased online purchasing can generate a lot of cardboard. Do not wedge cardboard into the cart, for larger boxes bundle your cardboard. You can leave 1 tape or twine-secured bundle per week up to 3ft. X 3ft. X 1ft next to your cart or collection.

Additional details you should know:

  • The Berkeley Curbside Recycling Hotline (510.527.5555) will remain staffed. If you call after hours please leave a detailed message with your address, name, phone number, and service request.
  • Public access to the Berkeley Recycling Center at 669 Gilman Street is closed until April 7, 2020, which may be extended as needed.

At the Ecology Center, we are committed to delivering safe and consistent Essential Services throughout this public health emergency.  Thank you for your commitment to helping us serve our community during this challenging time. 

Wishing you and your dear ones good health and well-being,
Ecology Center Curbside Recycling

Update on Friday, March 13, 2020

The Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market will be open tomorrow, Saturday, March 14, 2020. And, the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets will continue to maintain their weekly Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday schedule, until further notice. For the full details on the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, please visit Berkeley Farmers’ Markets.

The Ecology Center Store, Resource Center, and B.A.S.I.L. Seed Library at 2530 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley is temporarily closed, in support of current efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This measure is effective Friday, March 13 thru Friday, March 27. For full details and instructions on how to contact us with your questions, please visit Store Web Page.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear Community Members,

As the coronavirus COVID-19 situation rapidly unfolds, Ecology Center and each of its public service programs, including Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, EcoStore, Berkeley Curbside Recycling Collection, and Ecology Center Classroom Workshops, are taking preventive steps to support the safety and well-being of our communities. Many of the programs we provide are an integral part of your daily lives, and we are taking every precaution available to reduce the spread of the virus and provide you with the safest, most effective services we can. We extend our heartfelt wishes for good health to those who are ill.  

The Ecology Center continues to operate all of its programs currently as we monitor updates from the City of Berkeley, Alameda County, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on a daily basis. We will be following the directions from these local, state, and federal entities and will implement changes as new guidance is provided.  We will continue to offer our services to the fullest extent possible throughout this health emergency. 

Below are steps we are taking across all programs to address coronavirus concerns. 

We have taken the following steps to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Daily wiping down surfaces with disinfectant a minimum of twice a day.
  • Providing hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol and facial tissue, at each public booth or counter, as well as providing access to soap and water at our San Pablo Avenue store, classroom, and library.
  • Asking our staff and customers to use social distancing practices, including using the elbow bump instead of hand-shaking.
  • Requiring our staff to stay home if they are sick and/or have a fever.

We encourage you to take the following steps recommended by the CDC:

  • Stay home if you are sick and/or have a fever.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 minutes, or use hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol, when you leave and enter a new space.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then immediately throw the used tissue away. Or, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth as you travel through public spaces.
  • If you are in a high-risk category for the virus, consider limiting your public contact when possible.

For fifty years, the Ecology Center has been working to promote and provide methods for healthy and sustainable living. We know that everything we have accomplished and will accomplish is achieved through support from our community and will continue to do our part to help ensure our community’s health and well-being.  

Please feel free to contact me directly at, or by calling 510-526-1131, ext. 701, if you have questions or concerns.

Warmest regards,

Debbie Beyea, Ecology Center Deputy Director

3 thoughts on “Ecology Center’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. We need the small farmer’s market now more than ever. This past Sunday l was able to pick up fruit and vegetables like a human being.The day before it was horrible to see everything wipe out people hoarding food in their carts lines to back of the store empty shelves. It was the worst experience in my life. I had to leave the store. The next day people were cordial and there was calmness and consideration
    Don’t band the farmers market from society.

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