Borrego Sun - Since 1949

COVID-19: The Way We Were

 

Last updated 7/13/2020 at 9:18am



Here we go again, back to the drawing board…

As restrictions were being loosened and the path to recovery was beginning, cases continued to rise in a very dramatic fashion, forcing a set back into re-opening. It seems that is back to square one in figuring out a better process to re-open to stimulate the economy and get people back to work. The question remains, how can it be done safely? Can it be done at all?

After being put on Governor Gavin Newsom’s watch list on July 3 alongside 19 other counties to be monitored for worsening coronavirus trends, it was expected that the result would be San Diego County closing or placing new restrictions on additional businesses. Given the continuing high number of daily cases, it was not a surprise that the County remained on the state’s watch list for three consecutive days, forcing more mandated restrictive measures based on guidance from the state. Over the Fourth of July weekend, cases continued to go the wrong way, and on July 6, it was announced that San Diego County will enter corrective action with the guidelines of the state, shutting down the following businesses for the next three weeks.

These businesses are:

Restaurants (indoor dining)

Museums

Zoos

Card rooms

Movie theaters

Family entertainment centers

“It’s concerning to see the Governor call for more closures of businesses in San Diego County. A blanket closure of industries and businesses, many of which are barely hanging on, will have detrimental effects. Most businesses have complied with the safety guidelines and done everything that’s been asked of them,” Supervisor Jim Desmond said.

San Diego County has 17,000 cases and 387 deaths since the pandemic began. This number is as of print time, July 6, 4 p.m.

However, being on the watch list and having these new restrictions and closures were not unexpected, as the numbers continued to reach daily record numbers.

With the rapid growth of coronavirus cases, shattering a daily record, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered several counties to close bars, breweries and wineries, and recommended others to take action on their own to close on June 28. This decision stemmed from the growing concerns of the new cases, in a statement by the state’s public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell.

Newsom later ordered that restaurants must close at 10 p.m. If diners are already in there at 10 p.m., they are allowed to stay open until 11 p.m. Only workers are allowed in the building from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19 back in March, Newsom directed all bars, pubs and wineries in the state to close. Then a stay-at-home order was issued, which resulted in the closure of many non-essential businesses, as well as prompting restaurants to implement take-out, delivery or curbside. But now, it is back to what we started with.

Newsom also announced that face coverings will be mandatory state-wide effective June 18.

“We all have a responsibility to slow the spread. It is imperative – and required – that Californians protect each other by wearing masks and practicing physical distancing when in public so we can fully reopen our economy,” Newsom said. “We all need to stand up, be leaders, show we care and get this done.”

He later said that wearing a mask is a “sign of toughness. Of resolve.” And that it is “a sign of someone who gives a damn. Who wants to solve a problem. Who takes responsibility.”

Many question of how the Governor expects the new orders and modifications will be enforced, and has developed the New Enforcement Strike Teams, which are state agencies tasked with enforcing the rules. It is unclear of the dire consequences or how they will work at this time. Many continue to defy the order and have become restless with the use of face coverings, despite being mandatory.

San Diego County was spared for a short amount of time from Newsom’s round of restrictions and list of counties to close, but San Diego District 4 Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that the County will shut down those establishments, as well, effective July 1, in hopes to slow the spread and get ahead of it all. A wise decision.

County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten clarified that bars and breweries that partner with a restaurant, food truck or other entity that has a license to serve food would be allowed to operate. Also, wineries that have tastings completely outdoors can operate without needing a license for food. Alcohol can only be consumed while customers are simultaneous eating meals and can’t be ordered alone, as well as be seated at a table or booth. However, it must be remembered that due to the new restrictions, it is limited to outdoor seating if available take out or delivery only.

In addition, any other re-openings will be halted until at least Aug. 1, as officials will reevaluate guidance for the County.

As of July 6, there were a total of 23 counties of the Department of Public Health watch list. These represent nearly 73 percent of California’s population. The state is working with local health departments to identify the source of the problem, proving assistance as needed. If the County is on the watch list for three-consecutive days or longer, they will be ordered to halt on reopening, according to Newsom. San Diego was placed on the list after hitting a trigger on June 30, as they continued to break single-day records for new COVID-19 cases.

San Diego County is one of the six counties that have been on the watch list for more than three days.

The County Public Health Order was also amended following the announcement of being placed on the state’s watch list. This order is effective July 1, continuing until further notice. Full list of the Order can be found on sandiegocounty.gov.

It was further updated on July 6, to include the restrictions announced, as the County will now follow corrective action in guidance with the state.

“We should be using a scalpel and identifying bad actors, not a grenade and wiping out people’s livelihood. We have an unemployment rate of 14.8% and unfortunately that will probably be getting higher,” Desmond said. “We have done a much better job protecting our most vulnerable, but once again the goal posts have been moved.”

Again, this found them on there for three consecutive days, prompting the shut down for three weeks to re-evaluate the plans to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In the coming days, many businesses return back to figuring out what they are going to do once again to compensate for the loss revenue, and still provide for the community, if still possible. During the summer months in Borrego Springs, it is a trying time – battling the spread of COVID-19 in the community and gaining revenue.

As of July 6, Borrego Springs currently has 12 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Those who have already recovered still remain on the list.

In other news, California is one of 16 states who will now be asked to quarantine for 14-days when traveling New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, announced on June 30.

The 16 states are: California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Under the travel advisory, individuals traveling to or returning to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from states with increasing rates of COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for two weeks. This includes travel by train, bus, car, plane and any other method of transportation, officials said.

The 14-day quarantine travel advisory applies to travel from states identified as those that have a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or have a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, officials said.

The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected.

As we compile the sanity of being indoors or facing more closures, hoping for normalcy once again, we must endure the harsh grip of reality that continues to sink in even further. COVID-19 is beyond what we imagined, and we can only try to take it day-by-day.

It is also important to remember that we must remain together in this pandemic that only seems to get worse despite thinking it was getting better.

We will get through this, and the COVID-19 virus will be contained and soon to be defeated.

 
 

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