Tag Archives: Economy

Solano County Public Health allows some businesses to reopen today (May 8)

“In Solano County, there is a great deal of confusion about what is actually happening.”

Coronavirus Bay Area: Solano County to reopen some retail stores for Phase 2

ABC7 News, By J.R. Stone, Thursday, May 7, 2020 11:00PM

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — Some Solano County businesses will reopen on Friday. The county public health officer gave the go-ahead just after 8 p.m. Thursday night. The order is similar to that of the Governor’s that takes effect Friday across the state.

Solano is one of just four local counties that are loosening restrictions. Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Cruz Counties are also taking action to make changes.

In Solano County, there is a great deal of confusion about what is actually happening.

“I asked what businesses over here gonna open up?” That question came from Bertha Thomas and every single other person we talked with on Thursday in Solano County. The health officer here is allowing low risk businesses that include clothing retail stores, pet grooming, florists, offices and parks.

Currently some businesses like Michaels are doing curbside service but the health officer says he fears curbside, which is part of the state recommendations, could be more dangerous due to the already long lines.

Because of that, businesses can open inside providing they have social distancing policies and post their plan so customers can see it.

“Yeah it’s confusing but you have to just deal with it,” says Timothy Payne of Vallejo.

And some are ready to deal with it. Especially the youngsters.

“We’re tired of being in the house,” says 14-year-old Lavita Johnson. She says this is a very tough time for kids and teens, especially ones who are in bad situations at home, “even if it’s just 20-30 minutes it’s a way to get away from all the problems.”

The number of cases here in Solano County continues to rise and there have been seven COVID-19 related deaths. Many we spoke with are now even more fearful.

“Imagine you go into a store there’s lots of people hardly any air circulating think of the people that you’re going to get infected,” says Manny Espinoza who is usually a wine country tour guide but is currently out of work.

But while the businesses may be opening, it’s uncertain if and when the customers will come back.

“So you’ll definitely start going out a little more? Oh no she’s not gonna let me but if I could I would,” says Johnson referring to her grandmother’s strict policies.

This change in Solano County does not include in-house dining at restaurants. We talked with the health officer about this and he tells us that is unlikely to happen even next week.

RE-OPENING: CA Governor Newsom issues new guidance for Counties and businesses

Governor Newsom Releases Updated Industry Guidance

Press Release published

Guidance will help drive reopening for some sectors – including retail, manufacturing and logistics – with modifications, beginning Fri, May 8

Regional variance allows for counties to move further into Stage 2 when they attest to meeting certain criteria

SACRAMENTO – Following up on the state’s announcement that it will begin modifying the stay at home order on Friday, May 8, Governor Gavin Newsom today released updated industry guidance – including for retail, manufacturing and logistics – to begin reopening with modifications that reduce risk and establish a safer environment for workers and customers.

Click here to see the new guidance.

“Californians, working together, have flattened the curve. Because of that work, our health data tells us that California can enter the next stage of this pandemic and gradually begin to restart portions of our economy,” said Governor Newsom. “It’s critical that businesses and employers understand how they can reduce the risk of transmission and better protect their workers and customers. COVID-19 will be present in our communities until there is a vaccine or therapeutic, and it will be up to all of us to change our behavior and eliminate opportunities for the disease to spread.”

Resilience Roadmap

Californians are flattening the curve as part of the stay at home order issued on March 19, 2020. These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on the roadmap for modifying the statewide order. The Resilience Roadmap stages that California is using to guide its gradual reopening process are:

  • Stage 1: Safety and Preparedness
  • Stage 2: Lower-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 3: Higher-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 4: End of Stay at Home Order

When modifications are advanced and the state’s six indicators show we’ve made enough progress, we can move to the next stage of the roadmap. We are now moving into Stage 2, where some lower-risk workplaces can gradually open with adaptations. Stage 2 expansion will be phased in gradually. Some communities may move through Stage 2 faster if they are able to show greater progress, and counties that have met the readiness criteria and worked with the California Department of Public Health can open more workplaces as outlined in the County Variance Guidance.

Industry Guidance to reduce the risk

California will move into Stage 2 of modifying the state’s stay at home order on May 8, 2020. The state’s progress in achieving key public health metrics will allow a gradual reopening of California’s economy.

The state recognizes the impact of economic hardship, but the risk of COVID-19 infection is still real for all Californians and continues to be fatal.

That is why every business should take every step possible to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Plan and prepare for reopening
  • Make radical changes within the workplace
  • Adjust practices by employees and help educate customers

The state has outlined guidance for each early Stage 2 business to follow. The goal is a safer environment for workers and customers. Businesses may use effective alternative or innovative methods to build upon the guidance.

Each business should review the guidance that is relevant to their workplace, prepare a plan based on the guidance for their industry, and put it into action.

When complete, businesses can post the industry-specific checklist (below) in their workplace to show customers and employees that they’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.

Before reopening, all facilities should:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidance

The state has also set up a mechanism to gather input on future industry guidance through the California Recovery Roadmap survey.

While many elements of the guidance are the same across industries – such as cleaning and physical distancing – consideration was given to industry-specific methods. For example:

  • Retailers should increase pickup and delivery service options and encourage physical distancing during pickup – like loading items directly into a customer’s trunk or leaving items at their door.
  • Retailers should install hands-free devices, if possible, including motion sensor lights, contactless payment systems, automatic soap and paper towel dispensers, and timecard systems.
  • Manufacturing companies should close breakrooms, use barriers, or increase distance between tables/chairs to separate workers and discourage congregating during breaks. Where possible, create outdoor break areas with shade covers and seating that ensures physical distancing.
  • Warehouses should minimize transaction time between warehouse employees and transportation personnel. Perform gate check-ins and paperwork digitally if feasible.
  • Warehouse workers should clean delivery vehicles and equipment before and after delivery, carry additional sanitation materials during deliveries, and use clean personal protective equipment for each delivery stop.


Rush to reopen California economy is a mistake

The risk is the kind of second-wave surge that killed thousands in the Bay Area during the 1918 Spanish influenza

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he will open up book stores, clothing stores, toy stores and florists for curb-side pickup. (By Area News Group File Photo)
By Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, May 5, 2020

This is no time to go back to business as usual.

The intense longing for a return to normalcy in California and other states is understandable. But the rush to reopen businesses is premature and ignores the warnings of health experts and the basic science of the novel coronavirus.

The risk is the kind of second-wave surge that killed thousands in the Bay Area during the 1918 Spanish influenza. Indeed, a draft government report forecasts sharp increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths nationally beginning around May 14.

Yet Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the next stage in reopening California’s economy will take place Friday. The governor said that he will allow book stores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and other businesses to reopen for curbside pick-up. Associated manufacturers that support those retail stores will also be allowed to resume production. Some counties in more rural areas will be allowed to decide whether to reopen restaurants that have made accommodations for social-distancing dining.

Newsom’s gamble is similar to one Bay Area county health officials made last week in allowing construction projects to resume. It threatens the lives of workers and their families, neighbors and acquaintances. The economy will eventually bounce back. But lost lives can never be recovered.

The governor said the state was ready to move into “Phase 2” of the reopening process because it is on schedule with six different criteria: stability of hospitalizations, personal protective equipment inventory, health care surge capacity, testing capacity, contact tracing capability and public health guidance in place.

But California’s contact tracing capability is almost non-existent. Its testing capacity is at 25,000 tests per day in a state with a population of nearly 40 million people. That is equal to 62.5 tests per 100,000 people. Estimates by Harvard University researchers indicate that the minimum number of tests should be 152 per 100,000 people, meaning California is only doing 41% percent of the minimum.

It is absolutely essential that store owners and manufacturers follow the state’s new orders to ensure employee and customer safety. The failure to do so could result in a surge of hospitalizations, setting California back months in its recovery.

California isn’t the only state risking opening for business too soon. Governors in nearly a dozen states, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are going well beyond Newsom’s orders.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp opened up movie theaters Monday after allowing hair salons, massage parlors and bowling alleys to resume business last week. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told department stores and retailers that they could start allowing shoppers in their businesses. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee allowed restaurants, retail outlets and gyms to reopen last week. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will allow general offices to open next week, along with retail businesses.

The moves threaten the governors’ credibility and residents’ confidence in their leadership.

In California, the decisions on when to open businesses should be based on science — not hope and a prayer.

Solano Supervisors to allow some businesses to open Thurs, deviating from State coronavirus guidelines

[Editor: View video of the Board’s discussion and vote: Solano County Board of Supervisors hears verbal COVID update and votes to open some businesses.  – R.S.]

Solano may open some businesses as early as Thursday, more next week

Fairfield Daily Republic, By Todd R. Hansen, May 5, 2020
The Solano Town Center parking remains almost empty Tuesday, May 5, 2020. The Solano Board of Supervisors approved a draft guide Tuesday for re-opening certain businesses as early as Thursday, May 7, 2020. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD — Business offices, some retail outlets and manufacturing sites could open as early as Thursday, and even more businesses – including restaurants, salons and dentists – may be opened next week.

The phasing largely depends on the risk those businesses’ operations create for further spread of the novel coronavirus – whether because of the proximity of customers to each other, or because the nature of the business requires direct contact with clients.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a draft guide for reopening the business community, and in some cases, it deviates from the state guidelines.

Dr. Bela Matyas

That deviation is one of the reasons Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer, sought the board’s consensus. He said he did not object to taking those steps, but wanted the board’s backing.

“Our goal should not be to lock people up in their homes, but to stop the transmission (of the virus) person to person,” Matyas said.

The county will still require businesses to adhere to social distancing and other regulations, including the use of barriers in some instances. The businesses will also have to post what they are doing to meet the county directives.

Just how well this transition works will depend greatly on the businesses, but also the common sense of customers and clients.

“I can issue the guidelines, but I cannot make people follow them,” Matyas said.

He advised anyone who feels uncomfortable about going to the businesses when they reopen to just not go.

Supervisor Jim Spering

Supervisor Jim Spering also said the directives should include a warning for those high-risk populations, most notably seniors with underlying health issues – to stay home until a final all-clear is issued.

The county will spend the next day or two rewriting the stay-at-home heath order to reflect the policy decision, just as it did for Friday’s action to open up most outdoor activities. Community pools and beaches, however, remain closed.

Those activities, such as playgrounds and large gatherings, will have to wait.

“The higher risk (activity) is going to have to wait until I believe there is no longer a significant transmission (rate) in our community,” Matyas said.

The Public Health Division will come back to the board Tuesday with a recommendation on what are viewed as medium-risk businesses and activities.

Supervisor Monica Brown. (Robinson
Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Supervisor Monica Brown said she would hope a mandate for face masks will be part of that, but other supervisors indicated they were not willing to support that for a variety of reasons, one of which is not everyone has a mask.

However, everyone agreed that even if masks are not mandated, anyone who wants to wear one, should.

“I’m not going to feel safer when (businesses) reopen,” Brown said. “I see us having a second and third wave (of a disease outbreak) . . . so I’m going to be wearing a mask.”

Another issue that was raised was child supervision.

As more people return to work – because schools are closed and most day care centers have also been shuttered – what is to be done with children who would be left without supervision?

Although some programs have been operating day care in a limited capacity, the board was told that even at its full capacity, Solano County did not have enough day care providers anyway.

The board was told that steps are being taken to help with day care issues, and some funding is being made available to help providers.

Getting people back to work is viewed as a critical part of determining what kind of fallout there will be from the Covid-19 crisis.

“Jobs are going to be the biggest thing,” Robert Eyler, president of Economic Forensics and Analytics out of Petaluma, said in his presentation on the annual Index of Economic and Community Progress. “Job losses can beget business losses.”

What was going to be a glowing report on Solano County’s economy from 2019 and projecting forward, is now a series of unknowns about how the economy is going to respond to what amounts to a virus-caused recession.

Just how deep of a hole that Solano County, the state and the nation will have to climb out of depends on a variety of factors. Eyler said the county could be looking at the loss of five years of economic progress.

However, it was also noted that unlike most recessions when the reaction period is defined in months or even years, in this situation, the policy reaction was really a matter of weeks.

“We (started) this crisis in a very good situation,” Eyler said.

For one thing, it was noted, there has also been a huge influx of government money to offset some of the problems, and even more funding is expected. What impact that funding will have is one of the unknowns, but Eyler said the best scenario is that it will lessen the shock.

“It may not feel like we are back until 2022,” said Eyler, who added that could extend out to 2023.

The deaths of six people have thus far been attributed in Solano County to Covid-19 since the novel coronavirus pandemic made its way to the region.

Most people who have the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. Some people, especially older adults and those with underlying health problems, experience more severe illness such as pneumonia and at times, death.

The vast majority of people recover. The World Health Organization reports people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.