County notifies Governor Newsom of its readiness to reopen

On May 12, the board of supervisors unanimously approved its Readiness and Reopening Framework, which officials described as a commonsense plan that meets both goals of protecting our public health and restoring the economy.

The county has notified Governor Gavin Newsom of its readiness to cautiously and safely open for business based on public health data. In a May 14 letter to the governor, county supervisors note that the county has the ability to “meet, exceed, or plan to achieve” six of the seven criteria described by the governor to accelerate through the current Stage 2 of the economic expansion plan into the next level.

Among the criteria, the county has a plan to protect Stage 1 essential workers; created ample testing capacity; demonstrated the ability to protect vulnerable populations; developed a plan to expand contact tracing capabilities; and exceeded a minimum of 35 percent surge capacity in the county’s health system.

Riverside County is currently at stage two of the governor’s reopening plan, which allows for curbside delivery and pick-up of some retail businesses. The county is requesting to move to the governor’s accelerated stage two, which would open additional businesses.

The county is asking for a variance on the epidemiological benchmarks outlined by the state, particularly a requirement that there be no COVID-19 death for a 14-day period. “In our opinion, the metrics are unrealistic for urban counties, and Riverside County in particular, where our geographic size and population make it impossible that no COVID-19 death would take place during the 14-day period,” the letter states.

County supervisors are calling for the adoption of the federal epidemiology benchmarks, which the county said it is already achieving because of a downward trend in data.

“We are ready to cautiously reopen based on public health data,” the letter states. The entire letter can be viewed here.


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