Northern California Counties Take Steps to Reopen

April 28, 2020 Updated: April 28, 2020

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Although the statewide stay-at-home order is still in place in California, some counties are loosening restrictions, and local government leaders are taking steps to reopen their counties.

California’s 40 million residents have been in lockdown since March 19. The San Francisco Bay Area has been under quarantine since March 17. This quarantine was set to end on April 7, but it was extended to May 3 and is now being prolonged again.

On April 27, health officials from seven Bay Area jurisdictions announced that the shelter-in-place order will be extended through May, with no official end date yet.

People are getting restless, and counties are working to balance the situation in their own ways.

Yolo County’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery’

Yolo County announced a “Roadmap to Recovery” strategy that drafts a way to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of now, certain recreational activities assessed to be low risk, such as golfing, fishing, and hunting, have resumed. People are required to wear face coverings when they are outside their residences.

According to Yolo County public information officer Jenny Tan, they will be looking at some indicators and healthcare data to help make further decisions.

“As long as we can kind of keep the spread low, and kind of look at certain activities and if they’re considered low risk, then we’re going to try and open them up,” Tan told The Epoch Times. “We know that our residents are getting a little antsy, and so we’re trying to do what we can while also balancing the public risk and public health at the same time.”

Golf courses, hunting clubs, archery, boat ramps, and fishing are open, and people are strongly encouraged to use facial coverings in public spaces.

“It’s this fluid kind of relationship, because we’re looking at our own county, but we’re also looking to make sure that we fit with what the state is doing,” said Tan. “We kind of wanted to get this going, let people know that we are thinking about it, and that this is a draft.”

The board of supervisors and city will work on the draft form together.

Stanislaus County Mayors Sign Letter to Governor

Seven mayors in Stanislaus County signed a letter to the governor on April 20 requesting to loosen restrictions.

“We are requesting that you pursue an aggressive strategy for reopening our County for business. One size does not fit all. A reopening process that may fit, and make sense, for the Los Angeles and our neighboring Bay Area regions does not work for our County,” stated the letter.

It also provided examples of businesses and organizations that can reopen with social distancing and limit gathering to 50 people.

Places of worship can be allowed if people avoid physical contact. Businesses like barber shops, dog grooming, golfing, and automatic car washing would be the first phase of reopening. Restaurants can limit seating and take reservations only.

Placerville’s Authorized Letter to the Governor

On April 21, the City of Placerville in El Dorado County announced its plans to reopen the city. The City Manager was authorized to send a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom explaining the city’s circumstances.

The city and El Dorado County have much lower numbers of cases of COVID-19 compared to densely populated areas. They reason that the standards to reopen the state should be flexible, since there are geographical and situational differences among California counties and cities.

Leaders are working with public health officials and trying to balance safety and economic recovery.

On April 28, El Dorado County announced it will not extend the shelter-in-place order for its residents, and the order will expire on April 30.

Other Counties Loosening Restrictions

Lake County has allowed recreational activities and businesses like pet grooming and real estate transactions to open starting April 23.

Mendocino County issued a facial covering order on April 24 and loosened restrictions for people to go out for recreational activities within a 20-mile drive of their residences.

San Joaquin County loosened the previous health order on April 24, allowing golfing, landscape work, and outdoor faith-based gatherings, with social distancing requirements.

Napa County allowed golfing and construction in an updated shelter-in-place order on April 22.