On Monday, Yuba County and Sutter County, two counties directly north of Sacramento with a combined population of 170,000, became the second and third counties in California to reopen in defiance to Governor Gavin Newsom’s lockdown orders.
Yuba and Sutter reopen
Yuba and Sutter follow Modoc County, which reopened last week on May 1st. Like Modoc, Yuba and Sutter have limits on what businesses can open right now. Restaurants, bars that serve food, malls, gyms, hair salons, and other businesses will reopen. Businesses that will remain closed are currently still at risk of a greater chance of spreading COVID-19 coronavirus. According to the counties, these places include schools, houses of worship, movie theaters, bars that don’t serve food, sports venues, and any place that would hold mass gatherings.
Officials have said that, while the coronavirus remains a priority and residents should still take all necessary precautions, reopening parts of the economy was also very important.
“The purpose is to continue to mitigate the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible while addressing the need to gradually reopen the economy in order to ensure vital services are resumed in a safe manner,” said Yuba-Sutter Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu in a press release. “As the Yuba-Sutter community embarks on a phased-in gradual reopening of our community, it is critical that all community members take upon themselves the responsibility to adhere to important public health recommendations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”
Businesses, state officials praise move
While state officials told businesses and counties not to reopen so soon, many local business owners were happy to reopen for business, even if under unusual circumstances.
“I have to wear a mask and gloves, and I have to wash my hands constantly, but you know, it’s good to be back here,” said Yuba City restaurant assistant manager Charlotte Booth. “We had people in at lunch time. It’s strange to only allow half the capacity and to space customers at least 6 feet in our booths and tables. But like I said, we’re open for business. We had kept in contact with everyone during the whole stay-at-home thing, and they were miserable. Many were worried about rent and keeping their cars. This reopening has done a 180 for morale.”
Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), who represents the area, praised the reopening in a statement to the press.
“We have met the public health guidelines to begin re-opening and we have the capability to manage this virus locally,” stated Assemblyman Gallagher. “There is no longer any justification for Newsom’s executive order as it pertains to our communities. I’m optimistic that other counties will soon follow suit.”
Since the outbreak, both Yuba and Sutter Counties have only had a combined 50 cases of coronavirus with only 3 recorded deaths.
Other rural counties, such as Lassen County, are currently also planning or looking into defying Governor Newsom’s order. The Governor, who has yet to respond to the reopenings, is set to go to the next phase of reopening the state this week. While it will allow for things such as retail pickup, it does not reopen nearly as much as Modoc, Sutter, and Yuba have.