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County seeks OK to reopen restaurants, shops; supervisors favor cautious approach

Yolo County planned to submit new documents to the state on Tuesday attesting to having met all of the public health benchmarks now required to reopen additional businesses, including indoor dining at restaurants and indoor shopping at retailers currently limited to curbside pickup and delivery.

365体育投注That new attestation would follow on the heels of one rejected by the state because the county had not met a key benchmark previously required: no deaths in the county within the last two weeks.

365体育投注However, the state changed its epidemiological benchmarks on Monday, focusing on recent hospitalizations rather than recent deaths, and on those counts Yolo County “passes with flying colors,” according to county public health director Brian Vaughn.

Vaughn expressed confidence to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning that the state will approve that attestation in the next day or two.

365体育投注But that doesn’t mean Yolo County restaurants and retail shops will be welcoming customers inside in a day or two.

Rather, a majority of the Board of Supervisors requested that staff return with plans at next Tuesday’s meeting for ensuring reopening is done safely before the green light is given.

The move came as Sacramento County announced Tuesday morning that restaurants there could resume dine-in service on Thursday, something Supervisor Gary Sandy of Woodland cited as he urged the board not to wait.

“I think we’ve opened gradually and safely and capably at this point but I think we should move ahead with all due speed,” Sandy said. “I cannot see any reason for continuing to hold back.”

365体育投注Noting Sacramento’s plans to reopen restaurants, Sandy said, “when that happens, that means that all of Yolo County restaurateurs are now at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace because we’re holding them back. And I am absolutely confident in talking with our staff that we can implement measures that will make restaurant dining sane and safe and if I didn’t believe that with all my heart, I wouldn’t be advocating moving forward with this.”

365体育投注Sandy added that the county has “business people who are suffering genuine economic pain at this point.

“They are in danger of losing their business. Unemployment continues to escalate… and there is an inextricable link between public health and economic health,” he said. “To the extent that we remain inert, to the extent that we are not really moving forward but we’re continuing to talk about these things ad infinitum, ad nauseum, I don’t know that that serves anyone well in the process.

“At this point I would much prefer to see us move forward in a much more aggressive fashion…. and I’m disappointed that apparently we’re not going to.”

Supervisor Duane Chamberlain of the rural 5th District also voiced support for opening up as quickly as possible, but Supervisors Jim Provenza and Don Saylor of Davis and Oscar Villegas of West Sacramento preferred a cautious approach.

Provenza said he didn’t disagree with Sandy about “moving forward with all due speed,” but said, “the question is, I don’t want to move forward with undue speed.”

365体育投注“We just learned yesterday that restaurants and nonessential retail were being proposed for opening,” Provenza said. “We haven’t had any time at all on this and rather than just rushing into it all with the state guidelines, I’m suggesting that we move as quickly forward as we can in coordination with local business to develop a standard that we can all embrace.”

Saylor said he wants more information for how the county will conduct COVID-19 testing and contact tracing going forward.

365体育投注“I do continue to have a strong interest in having a robust testing and tracing strategy before us as we take steps,” he said.

“Each step that we take, we are increasing risk of contagion and I’d like to see that the overall framework be as solidly in place as we can possibly make it as we move along forward.

“I don’t think we should hold off on opening in any arbitrary way,” Saylor added. “Every time we have an opening from the state to move forward, we are. I just want us to be spending more time this week on putting those plans together for testing and contact tracing.”

Villegas, meanwhile, said he participated in a meeting on Monday with about a dozen restaurateurs and said “as much as I absolutely am confident that restaurateurs know how to run a restaurant, I also know that they are very nervous about the prospects of getting this wrong, and heaven forbid, we have to roll back again, because for many, that will be the beginning of the end.

“What I heard yesterday in an hour-and-half conversation was a whole lot of questions that they have,” said Villegas.

“They centered around absolute clarity that they’re doing the right thing… because they have the most to lose if this doesn’t work. Number two, they were very nervous about the enforcement component … precisely how the enforcement will be rolled out, because (other than) posting a sign that says, ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service,” they now have to enforce things that not everybody wants to comply with.”

Villegas said they cited examples of people walking in saying, “I’m not wearing your stupid mask. And don’t tell me to wear a stupid mask. And I want to eat and have a beer.”

“One example that was cited was you have a 110-pound waitress who is trying to get a 250-pound man to comply with what he says is not going to happen,” said Villegas. “Those are challenges they’re not used to in addition to everything else. So I just need to have some comfort in knowing that we have had that communication with our restaurateurs who know what to expect.”

365体育投注Provenza also urged close cooperation with organizations like chambers of commerce and the Davis Downtown Business Association.

“Some of the businesses are worried, too, about the customers coming back,” he noted. “If the public doesn’t feel safe going into a restaurant, none of this is going to work.

“So we need to engage the businesses and engage the community in this process, and if we’re doing it a little bit slower, we have time to do that. I obviously would like to see all of this happen, but happen in a way that is the safest it can possibly be and meets everyone’s comfort level.”

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy. We’ve put all COVID-19 news stories and local columns outside our paywall, to make sure all the information on local coronavirus response gets disseminated as widely as possible. To subscribe to The Enterprise and support local journalism, click here.

Read more:

New guidelines may lead to quicker reopening for Yolo County

Yolo County submits reopening plan to state

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