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Calaveras Moving Forward With COVID-19 Educational Compliance Approach

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San Andreas, CA — The Calaveras Supervisors spent time yesterday debating how to enforce Governor Gavin Newsom’s directives related to COVID-19, specifically state regulations placed on businesses.

In the end, the board had consensus to move forward with an “Educational/Voluntary Compliance Approach.” Businesses will receive education and guidance if they are found to be in violation of state requirements, then the county will encourage voluntary compliance, and if all else fails, the county counsel’s office has the ability to take legal action in the form of a temporary restraining order/injunction.

The other option discussed, eventually declined, was a code enforcement approach with a citation and fine structure.

That idea was supported by Board Chair Merita Callaway, who stated she would prefer a fine, of about $5,000, and if a business “cleaned up their act” after two days, it would go away. The idea of a fine structure did not have enough support from a majority of the board.

During the discussion, Supervisor Dennis Mills expressed concerns about focusing solely on the business aspect, when many people from outside the county are coming and recreating in large groups at popular tourism spots.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Benjamin Stopper raised concerns about cracking down on businesses, and stated that county government needs to hold itself accountable too, noting that various county employees have contracted COVID-19. Supervisor Gary Tofanelli took issue with the comment about county employees, noting that many actions have been taken by county government to prevent COVID-19 spread, and its unclear where employees impacted actually contracted it.

The educational aspect for businesses, with the potential for litigation, was the only approach to gain support among the full board.

The county created a COVID-19 workgroup to develop ideas to address business compliance. The members were County Counsel Sarah Edwards, Angels Camp Administrator Melissa Eads, Health and Human Services Director Kristin Stranger, Director of Economic Development Kathy Gallino and Director of Emergency Services John Osbourn.