A remote county in Northern California, which borders Oregon and Nevada, has become the first in the state to defy California Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide COVID-19 shutdown orders on Friday.
Rural California Modoc County, which has fewer than 9,000 residents and is one of four California counties with zero COVID-19 cases reported, allowed diners to eat in restaurants and all nonessential businesses to reopen today.
According to Modoc County’s deputy director of emergency services, the county officials are “moving forward with our reopening plan.”
“Our businesses are dying and people need to be able to feed their children and pay their rent,” she added.
County’s food establishments will be allowed to host customers, but only at half the businesses’ capacity. Large gatherings where people cannot stay six feet apart will still be banned. People 65 and older and residents with underlying health conditions will still be required to stay home except to conduct essential business. Schools were not opening Friday, but it was an option for districts that can accommodate preventative measures, according to the officials.
It’s not yet clear how Governor Newsom will respond to Modoc County’s move, but when it comes to matters of public health, the state has wide powers to enact regulations and restrictions.
Elsewhere Friday, demonstrators demanded a reopening. Hundreds gathered in Sacramento even though the California Highway Patrol barred protests there because of a lack of social distancing by participants in a previous rally.