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Tuolumne County Leaders Speak About Moving To Stage Two

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Sonora, CA — Much of the focus of a business webinar hosted by Tuolumne County leaders last night was about plans to reduce coronavirus related restrictions on local businesses.

Governor Gavin Newsom is planning to release more specifics later this afternoon about moving into stage two of the coronavirus response. Earlier this week he promised to give local jurisdictions some flexibility in moving quicker through stage two if certain requirements are met. Counties like Tuolumne had sent letters to the governor requesting that action.

Tuolumne County Supervisor Karl Rodefer stated, “There has been a lot of pressure on him from a lot of different counties, and clearly he’s listened and has a framework that is at least going to get us in a direction we asked to be going.”

Public Health Officer Dr. Liza Ortiz says she believes Tuolumne County will meet the requirements to move quicker. Those include having testing available, contact tracing and surge capacity. She says the counties must also have less than two new cases per 10,000 residents over the past 14 days, which Tuolumne County meets.

Dr. Ortiz and Rodefer both stressed the importance of still remaining diligent when it comes to social distancing during the next phase because it will be much more challenging and damaging to have to reverse and retighten restrictions.

Sonora City Council member Colette Such also stressed “measured advancement” because many of the recent surges nationwide have been in more rural communities.

Dr. Ortiz noted that the transition through stage two is expected to primarily benefit retail businesses and offices. She noted that restaurants will also likely be able to allow some seating, on a newer reduced level.

More information will be known, and provided, after the Governor’s press conference this afternoon.

Leaders stressed it will be difficult to enforce all of the revised rules, and businesses must practice personal responsibility. Rodefer stressed, “It will take everyone doing the right thing.”

Dr. Ortiz noted that large community events will still be outlawed as part of stage II and there will no lifting of the ban on non-essential and out of county travel. Campgrounds will still be closed and lodging will only be permissible for essential workers. Changes in those rules will likely come late in stage three or stage four, and are still months away.

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