Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Coronavirus Changes Continue

 

Last updated 6/15/2020 at 9:01am



As we find some lining to normalcy with everything slowly opening back up, we wonder what more the COVID-19 pandemic will bring, aside from uncertainty and more changes to what we once knew. With everyone fighting to get back to what they once knew as “normal” and finding their new found reality of social distancing and wearing masks, the question remains of when many businesses will reopen and how safe it really is?

The number of cases in Borrego Springs has quickly risen from just one to nine in just a little over a month, according to the San Diego County’s latest report (www.sandiegocounty.gov). As part of the efforts to expand COVID-19 testing, the County opened various sites in rural communities and other areas of the region. The test sites were staffed with first responders from CAL Fire and the San Diego County Fire Authority.

In Borrego Springs, the testing was held at the Library parking lot on May 29, free for anyone to take, even if they did not show symptoms.

“Partnering to protect our communities is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19,” CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority Chief Tony Mecham said. “We are committed to working with our county health department to ensure all San Diego County residents, including those in the rural communities, are as safe as possible.”

More businesses are eager to open and welcome customers once again, and as the state and county slowly provide guidelines, it still remains uncertain of when everything will be at full go.

In the last few weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out guidelines to reopen various establishments.

Guidelines for reopening religious institutions were released on May 25, including limits on the number of people attending, protocols for disinfecting and cleaning, hand sanitizer stations and rules for regularly cleaning microphones. The State has called for limiting attendance to 100 people or 25 percent of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower, and that limit stays in effect for 21 days after the reopening, then will be reviewed by health officials. Face coverings would be strongly recommended.

California currently has 113,480 confirmed cases and 4,674 deaths.

In San Diego County, some in-person masses could resume as early as June 8.

Newsom later announced that some counties may move forward with the first part of Phase 3, allowing barbershops and hair salons to reopen, and they will need to complete a “Safe Reopening Plan” operating protocol form, which needs to be posted at the place of entrance of the business.

On May 26, the County amended their Public Health Order, to allow for more one-on-one sports, so long as the instructor and their student could maintain social distancing. This allowed for golf and tennis, as well as individual soccer, baseball, volleyball and other coaching sessions. Group sports were prohibited until Governor Newsom announced on June 5 that some sports with modifications could begin in the coming weeks. This announcement also includes schools, day camps, bars and gyms to also reopen.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has been working diligently to get San Diego back to work, creating better guidelines and protocols to ensure the safety of those businesses and its customers.

District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond recommended more businesses in addition of the current proposed pilot program. He asked for various establishments to reopen (see page 14) at the June 2 Board meeting.

The Board approved the recommendation, 4 – 1, with the only dissenting vote from Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. While agreeing with the need to continue with safe reopening, he added that he “could not support the calls by his colleagues to reopen higher-risk entities like churches at full capacity immediately.”

The vote came after the Supervisors heard an update from several County officials, including Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

They also voted to formally take a position to immediately reopen all beach activities, in which all requests were sent to Governor Newsom in form of a letter. At press time, he had not given a response to the Board’s recommendations.

Following this vote, the Board of Supervisors asked the state for more control on easing restrictions, but county health leaders made clear that there are many triggers that could force the county to rollback reopening.

A set of 13 triggers was shown to the Board of Supervisors during an update on the County’s COVID-19 response at their meeting. The variety of data indicators reviewed would lead public health officials to pull back on the reopening of the local economy.

The health order would also be modified if a combination of one or more of the remaining criteria in two or more of three categories are met.

San Diego County has 8,619 cases and 269 deaths.

Again, it seems that nail salons remain absent from the state and county’s guidelines, but Newsom alluded they might be in the next wave of modified reopenings, which has not been announced just yet.

This was a great time for Borrego Springs businesses to reopen and welcome back residents and visitors to town.

However, just when they thought they could reopen and allow for visitors to stay, hotels in the County were hit with a new regulation. On June 2, it was announced that hotels were to only be open if they were providing housing for those affected by COVID-19, and not for any other purposes. Guests are to sign a certification at check-in verifying they are staying at the hotel in compliance with the stay-at-home order. Later, it was announced that hotels may open for tourism beginning on June 12.

La Casa Del Zorro closed briefly, and will reopen on June 12. While, the Borrego Springs Resort remained open, only accepting essential workers.

Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort has moved its sole operations to the Borrego Valley Inn. They, along with Palms at Indian Head are remaining open to those guests, who will have their guests sign the certification form in the meantime if they book prior to June 12.

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has re-opened to the public for day-use only from sunrise to sunset.

Backcountry Unpaved Roads for day-use activities that do not lead into Ocotillo Wells.

Hell Hole Day-use Area

Sunrise Trail Head Parking / Day-use Areas

Very limited parking is now available to the public.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this park:

Camping (developed and primitive)

Backcountry Unpaved Roads that lead into Ocotillo Wells

Open Dispersed Backcountry Camping

Peg Leg Primitive Camping Area

Culp Valley Primitive Camping Area

Coyote Canyon Above 3rd Crossing

North Coyote Canyon / Turkey Track Access Gate

Borrego Palm Canyon Day-use and Campground

Tamarisk Grove Campground Campgrounds

Arroyo Salado Primitive Camp

Blair Valley Primitive Camp

Yaqui Pass Primitive Camp

Yaqui Well Primitive Camp

Bow Willow Primitive Camp

Mt. Palm Springs Primitive Camp

Fish Creek Primitive Camp

High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.

Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

There are currently 2,023,797 cases worldwide, and 113,002 deaths.

With everything going on the world, the virus still remains very much present. Let us not forget, we are in this together. Continue to fight the battles of everyday, but remain safe while doing so. Flatten the curve, one day at a time. We will get through this.

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