California County Defies Dem Gov. Newsom To Reopen Schools, Salons, And Churches

It's unclear if the governor will fight back.

Gavin Newsom Modoc County

A county in rural California is defying the state’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom orders to stay at home to reopen churches, schools, and non-essential businesses amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Modoc County is a small county located in northeastern California with a population of 9,686, according to The Blaze. On Friday, the county allowed bars, restaurants, hair salons, movie theaters, schools, churches, and other non-essential businesses to reopen as long as employees wash their hands and follow social distancing guidelines.

The Modoc County Sheriff’s Office said that bars and restaurants would have to cut their maximum capacity in half, and large gatherings where social distancing can’t be maintained are still not allowed. They also said that residents who are over 65 or have underlying health conditions must continue to stay at home.

“Social distancing was the norm here before it became the popular thing in the state,” Ned Coe, a cattle rancher and county supervisor, told KCRA-TV.

“This is simply what we are proposing that is eligible to open if preventative measures are possible,” the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office added in a Facebook post. “We want the option to be given to business owners so that when they feel the time is right, they can make that decision. Business owners know their staff, they know their customers and they will know when they both feel safe enough to resume services.”

The county has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the local Board of Supervisors made the decision to reopen after consulting with health officials.

“Just as our physical health is vital for our citizens, so is the mental health and the economic health of our citizens,” Coe said, adding that he has already notified Newsom of their plans to violate his orders, but he has yet to hear back from the governor.

When reporters asked Newsom about what Modoc County is doing, the governor said, “Nothing would please me more than pleasing those local officials … but we’re not out of the woods. No part of the state, no part of this country, few parts of the globe have been immune to this virus.”

Though Newsom has not said if he will be taking action against Modoc County, Coe is not worried about him doing that.

“The governor himself has indicated that it is time to start opening in a staged and safe manner, and that will be different for different areas of the state,” Coe said.

“We’re not in this at all to defy anything. We align with the plans. We’re just at a different phase in this because of where we are and how we live,” Heather Hadwick, deputy director of the county’s Office of Emergency Services, told Politico.

County officials will be revisiting their decision to reopen again in two weeks, and they have said they will reinstate stricter measures if more than two people test positive for coronavirus.

The Brass Rail, a large Basque restaurant in Modoc County, reopened on Friday, and owner Jodie Larranaga said she had no intention of policing her patrons.

“My bar tables are already far apart. But if people pull their stools together, I’m not going to stop them,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, right or wrong, that’s their choice. They are adults.”

Americans everywhere are becoming increasingly restless after weeks of being on lockdown, and many are getting desperate to save their businesses by reopening. Democrat leaders like Newsom are trying to keep businesses closed as much as possible, but if they don’t start focusing more on helping Americans get back to work, they are going to lose all control of their people very soon.

This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on May 2, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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