One rural California locale has become the first in the state to defy Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shutdown mandate, saying they’ll open businesses, including restaurants, back up to the public in a full affront to the state ban.
Modoc County Deputy Director of Emergency Services Heather Hadwick said Friday that her county is “moving forward with our reopening plan," citing the fact that the county has had zero coronavirus cases since the outbreak began. Hadwick added that despite having not gotten the green light from the governor’s office, the 9,000-resident county, located in the Northwest corner of the state, is operating under Newsom’s criteria for reopening given that they haven’t even had the first brush with the virus.
"We are utilizing his guidance of those plans and we have zero cases," she wrote. "Our residents were moving forward with or without us. We really needed to create guidelines for them so that they could do this in the safest way possible."
According to a statement signed by the county health officer, sheriff-coroner, and chair of the Board of Supervisors, among other county officials, the written plan would allow schools and churches to reopen Friday, provided that people keep a six-foot distance between them. The statement says the decision was made "in the best interest of residents’ physical, mental and economic health," adding that they will consider closing again if they begin seeing cases of the coronavirus.
The announcement comes even as Newsom moves to crack down on "social distancing" rules after thousands of residents flocked to local - and open - beaches last weekend.
Other states have begun opening back up for business at their own individual paces beginning last week, with several states planning a beginning or mid-May start to easing back into normalcy. In states that have continued to enact longer emergency declarations and even more stringent regulations, several sheriffs departments have said they won’t enforce the stay-at-home orders, while some individuals and businesses have started thwarting local mandates and opening back up regardless of the rules. In Maine, the owner of a brewing company said he’s opening back up in defiance of the state’s shutdown. In Texas, a woman reopened her hair salon despite state’s shutdown, while restaurant owners in Alabama have threatened to do the same if Gov. Kay Ivey doesn’t lift her ban.