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Supes Hold Special Session Ahead Of Counties’ Phase 2 Reopenings

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San Andreas, CA — Beginning Friday, small business retail businesses are among those who will be able to open in as long as they have plans in place.

At a special joint session of the Calaveras County Supervisors and Angels Camp City council that began at 3 p.m. and lasted about two hours, public health officials briefed the lawmakers about Governor Newsom’s latest efforts to move the state into Stage 2 economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to protect the public. The plan allows for local jurisdictions to ask for variances based on their unique situations and attested abilities to manage against a COVID-19 surge.

Businesses in both Calaveras and Tuolumne counties that qualify among those listed as “Early Stage 2” businesses are able to use state guidance to reopen which encourages using hands-free payment devices and hand sanitizers, and requires performing a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan with specific public safety protocols. The guidelines are viewable by clicking here.

Late Stage 2 businesses or business modifications are currently not being allowed but more direction is coming from the state in the coming days.

County Public Health officials in both counties are working to complete documentation to the state each requesting a variance to the state modifications and there are plans to submit attestation documents.

Among the businesses the state has identified as lower risk with modifications if they reopen for curbside pickup and delivery only until further notice are bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, and florists. Also eligible are supply chains supporting these businesses in the manufacturing and logistical sectors.

Later In Stage 2, More Retail, Offices, Limited Personal Services  

Lower risk workplaces can open later in Stage 2 include destination retail, including shopping malls and swap meets; personal services limited to car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening. This group also encompasses office-based businesses although telework remains strongly encouraged; schools as well as childcare facilities; outdoor museums and open gallery spaces.

Notably , dine-in restaurants with other facility amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted until later. At this point, personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios are not being allowed until Stage 3 along with hospitality services, such as bars and lounges; entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, and pro sports; indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries; community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Still relegated to Stage 3 are religious services and cultural ceremonies; nightclubs and concert venues; festivals; theme parks; and hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism.

Among the approximately two dozen public comments heard at the special Calaveras session, which all called for opening county businesses, were local restaurants and a gym begging for relief as well as a petition of 241 salon workers citing great hardship and the possibility that shortly they might not be able to come back from the impacts.

Angels Camp Council member and District 4 Supervisor-elect Amanda Foldendorf was among those stressing the need to work together and have it down how to keep moving forward. Calaveras Board Chair Merita Callaway acknowledged, “We are the ones getting the phone calls, talking to the people on the street…what we are all saying is the sooner we can do it with the help of the county and council the better.”

The supes approved 5-0 to add an agenda item to next Tuesday’s meeting allowing for them to write a supportive letter to the state indicating that the county is meeting criteria that will allow it to move forward more expediently through Stage 2.

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