#064: Joel Bryant Talks City of Brentwood Response to COVID-19


On this episode, I chat with Joel Bryant, Vice Mayor of the City of Brentwood, who shares what Brentwood is doing in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Bryant discusses how he has transitioned from a skeptic of the virus and its impact to someone who wants to do everything possible to protect the health of the community. His tone changed after a friend of his died from the virus and has found out at least six people he knows have also caught the virus.

We get into several areas such as what police are doing, rumors, park closures, impacts on city hall, and working to ensure businesses are impacted as little as possible.

Here is the timestamps within the interview on he topics covered.

  • 00:38 – Introduction of Joel Bryant
  • 03:02 – Safety, experience on East Contra Costa Fire Board and serving as a Chaplain with Police Department. Explains how no one likes to be told what to do.
  • 06:13 – Bryant on the coronavirus and how he has transitioned from a skeptic and overactive to something that is serious and we should be prepared and take precautions.
  • 11:00 – with the comment floating around on social media asking if anyone knows anyone with COVID-19, Bryant says he knows at least 6 people who have tested positive. While most people who test positive will get sick and then be fine, but they could run into someone and be responsible for infecting someone else who could die. Shelter in place does work.
  • 13:20 – Bryant explains that there is no treatment that has been universal successful.  This is why not overloading the system is so important where we don’t want an Italy or Spain situation where they are picking and choosing who dies. We get into the current number of COVID-19 cases in both Contra Costa County and the State of California.
  • 15:45 – Bryant highlights one of the things we can do is social distancing and understand what it really means.
  • 19:00– Bryant dispels some of the rumors he has heard about Brentwood Police, the current burden on small businesses, but notes the Governor has established guidelines and if they don’t comply, they could lose control to the state. He notes how compliance is the entire goal.
  • 21:30 – Importance of supporting local business during this time such as ordering food for pickup or delivery to help lighten the load. Encourages supporting any business that is open (essential business).
  • 25:02 – Impact on Brentwood City hall and how the city has had to adjust to along with a new city manager trying to manage this with little to no staff around.
  • 26:34 – Bryant explains what people need to do if they can’t pay their water or garbage bills.
  • 28:20 – Bryant highlights how in his entire life, there has never been anything like this.  Some of the process is making the best decisions as we go with an end result is about trying to make sure every person is safe.
  • 29:34 – To shutdown or do limited movement with shelter in place… some philosophy discussion on overreaction vs. common sense to lower the curve not to overload the medical system.
  • 32:25 – Highlighting how Brentwood is trying to walk the fine line between safety vs. saving the economy. Bryant admits he is feeling the frustration like everyone else because we all want to live our lives.
  • 35:55 – My motto is people should be good human beings right now. Bryant has provided many resources for people to review should they need help or information.
  • 38:00 – Bryant explains we need to make sure people stops freaking out and do what we need to do. No reason to be terrified, just do what you know what to do and keep yourself safe by using common sense and wash your hands.
  • 39:09 – Closing.


summary of Statewide 90 day mortgage payment relief https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/25/governor-gavin-newsom-announces-major-financial-relief-package-90-day-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis/

Resources provided by the Office of Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor Diane Burgis:

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) and its partners are working closely with state and federal health agencies to monitor The Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19)

Still have questions about the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order? Call 844-729-8410 between 8am-5pm. For the most updated information, always visit our webpage at coronavirus.cchealth.org



Small Business Resources:

For other questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail [email protected]

Links to Other Health Organizations:

This a rapidly evolving situation with new information emerging every day.

For the latest updates, please visit our website at coronavirus.cchealth.org


  1. The farmers Market last Saturday was horrible. People all crowed around all the food stands. No social distancing at all. Brentwood needs to do better during this Pandemic.

  2. I was very disappointed in Joel with some of the comments he had been making on the virus prior to hearing this interview. I am sorry for his loss and hope his other friends get well. Let this be a lesson about the virus, take it seriously and do your part to slow the curve. I found this interview helpful but wish they would have addressed the farmers market.

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