Supervisors revisiting proposal to buck state COVID guidelines

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Oct. 6 will revisit a proposed accelerated public health de-regulation plan to allow all Riverside County economic sectors to reopen by the end of this month, bypassing the state’s tiered system to mitigate coronavirus impacts, which Executive Office staff said could come at a cost of $100 million in money otherwise due to the county.
Riverside County health officials have reported 804 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and seven additional virus-related deaths since Friday.
Under a tentative plan introduced by Supervisor Jeff Hewitt on Sept. 22, the county would take a self-directed approach to removing restrictions on the private sector and fully opening by the start of November.
“We’re going to be operating in an economy that’s going to be crushed. We need to move forward on this and stop putting it off,” Hewitt said, venting frustration at the governor’s and California Department of Public Health’s changes to reopening formulas since March.
Supervisors Karen Spiegel and Kevin Jeffries expressed support for the concept but requested a delay in voting until today to give the Executive Office time to evaluate the potential funding losses that might ensue if the state frowns on the county’s autonomous initiative and ignores the color-coded tiered structure.
“Public health officers should not be dictating the terms and conditions of our fundamental rights,” Jeffries said. “When I had pneumonia a few years ago, I did not turn over my business and livelihood to my physician. Only the businesses and residents of this county can open it again.”
The county is now in the “red tier,” having moved out of the most restrictive “purple tier,” permitting houses of worship, gyms, movie theaters, barbershops and restaurants to operate — with limitations on capacity and other protocols that must be adhered to.
However, under Hewitt’s plan, which mirrors the Community Action Plan that the county submitted to the state in August, the state’s next two tiers — the orange and green — would be replaced with a county-designed two-phase system, which would begin on Oct. 13.
The meeting can be livestreamed at https://livestream.com/rivcolive/bos.