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Supervisors pleased state approves reopening plans

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado and Butte are the first counties being allowed to fully move into Phase 2 of reopening from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The California Department of Public Health posted documents from Butte and El Dorado counties on its website Tuesday morning with a note that, “These counties can move more quickly through Stage 2 opening sectors once state guidance is posted for that sector.”

The decision allows all businesses included in the second stage to open as soon as they have their safety plans in place.

“I was happy to hear the governor OK’d our plan,” said District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel after hearing the news during a lunch break in Tuesday’s board meeting.

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“It’s a good day for El Dorado County, its residents and its economy,” said Board Chair Brian Veerkamp. “We’re very happy for our business owners, their employees and patrons that we are in the front of the state’s approval line so they can reestablish their livelihood and return to some semblance of normalcy.”

Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams submitted the county’s letter and supporting documents to the state on Saturday demonstrating criteria was met.

“As soon as businesses and facilities have implemented a safety plan reflecting those guidelines, they can open,” said Williams. “We are in a great position to move forward compared to other counties.”

Williams fielded questions about where the county is for Phase 3 and how prepared it is for the next step. She cautioned the board saying she feels it’s still a ways off.

“We haven’t been having many people coming to our county,” Williams said. “We know it’s going to happen and we may be at risk. So we need to see if we can handle it. If things go well, I’ll be happy to support Phase 3.”

Businesses and industries that may open immediately in the county with restrictions include dine-in restaurants, laundromats, dry cleaners, other laundry services, auto repair shops, car washes, landscapers, pet grooming, dog walking, outdoor museums, shopping centers and all in-store retail, all office-based workplaces, all manufacturing and logistics industries supporting retail.

The state will allow counties to go beyond the state’s plan, but only if they meet strict standards that include no coronavirus-related deaths and no more than one confirmed case per 10,000 residents in the past two weeks.

Newsom also said his administration has discussed plans with 19 counties, with nine others scheduled. Some could have their plans approved by Tuesday. But it’s been difficult for some more populated counties to meet those state standards.

The California Restaurant Association has drafted recommendations that include limiting tables to no more than 10 people. Salad bars, buffets and shared bread baskets would be out. 

California has more than 68,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,700 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because of a shortage of testing.

BUSINESSES THAT CAN OPEN WITH GUIDELINES?

El Dorado County businesses/industries that may open immediately with links to state guidelines include:

Dine-in restaurants 

Limited services (laundromats, dry cleaners, other laundry services, auto repair shops, car washes, landscapers, pet grooming, dog walking) 

Outdoor museums/galleries 

Shopping centers/retail 

Office-based workplaces 

All manufacturing industries supporting retail 

All logistics supporting retail 


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