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Bay Briefing: The California paradox — go outside, but don’t go outside

Good morning, Bay Area. It’s Thursday, Aug. 27, and multiple pro sports teams — including the Giants — have canceled games to protest racial injustice. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

Confusing messages

Alameda County’s top health official has a message that is perplexing business owners and their customers alike: Do go outside. And don’t go outside.

Acting health officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in an order to take effect Friday that certain businesses will be allowed to reopen outdoor services, because they are deemed low risk for spreading the coronavirus— and that people should avoid going out, because of the wildfire smoke blanketing the area.

• Bay Area life is incredibly stressful right now: Seven strategies to help you cope.

• Santa Clara is first Bay Area county to approve some in-person learning.

• “You absolutely need to get a test”: Bay Area experts say people in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 infection should get tested, even without symptoms.

• California signs coronavirus test deal that could speed school, business reopenings.

Waiting, worried

Charred remains of vehicles sit near a burned down home off of English Hills Rd. in Vacaville, Calif., on Wednesday, August 25, 2020.Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

As the weather cools off, fire officials are assessing the damage of three monstrous blazes that began with a lightning siege more than a week ago as crews continue to fight stubborn areas of fire across the state.

Santa Clara Cal Fire Unit Chief Jake Hess tried to shore up morale during a briefing Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging that just about everybody is run ragged.

“This is a point on the incident where we start to see our folks become fatigued,” Hess said.

All told, the two dozen major wildfires raging across California have caused seven deaths and destroyed nearly 1,700 buildings, Cal Fire reported Wednesday. Read more.

Calfire firefighters watch a backfire as they worked the Walbridge fire in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve protecting the heritage trees in Guerneville, Calif., on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

• Ocean breezes Wednesday morning helped clear some of the wildfire smoke that has smothered the Bay Area for the past week. See updated air quality near you on our map.

From space: NASA satellite images show impact of California wildfire smoke across state and U.S.

RNC finale

President Trump is half a year into the worst national health crisis in a century and has widespread protests over racial injustice erupting on his watch. On Thursday night, he gets one of his last major opportunities to convince the country that he offers solutions rather than more problems as he accepts the nomination of his party.

Joe Garofoli previews some of the topics Trump is likely to touch on amid the lack of a formal party platform.

“It was a little odd at first”: California Republicans on the GOP convention so far.

• Trump administration appears to be ignoring court rulings on DACA.

• Gavin Newsom on ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle’s fiery speech: ‘Next question’.

• Multiple potential violations of a federal law at RNC are unlikely to be investigated under Trump administration, Bob Egelko writes.

Giants join pro sports stoppage

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, left, kneels during the national anthem before a baseball game between the Giants and the Los Angeles Angels in San Francisco, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Photo: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

Hours after the NBA playoffs, WNBA and MLS games were called off as players decided to go on strike to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, the Giants and Dodgers announced they would not play Wednesday night.

The strikes quickly became the strongest statement across pro sports yet in the fight against racial injustice.

“Some things are just bigger than sports, and I don’t think it should require athletes boycotting playoff games to remind us Black lives matter and that police brutality is unacceptable and that systemic racism needs to be eliminated,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Wednesday. “What I believe in most is speaking out and taking strong action based on your beliefs.”

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