With officials putting the Bay Area in a new lockdown order after a surge of coronavirus cases, thousands of businesses that have been battling against the recession are being forced to close their doors during the busiest and most profitable time of the year.
Which four counties refused to join the shutdown?
Napa, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties will NOT be participating in the statewide shutdown for now.
Businesses at risk
The owner of Avenue Salon in downtown Novato, Cindy Rome, said, “We’re very busy, holiday busy, so now what do we do?” Rome has received many calls from customers wanting to set up appointments at her salon. She said they have been trying to serve as many as they could before the new orders are in effect on Tuesday.
Rome said she disagrees with officials who opted to implement new lockdown procedures, arguing that authorities are blaming the wrong people for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The salon owner said that the number of cases was not linked to businesses such as salons, boutiques, or other similar establishments, noting how the infection spiked around Halloween and Thanksgiving.
The salon owner said that it was how residents gathered together outside of business establishments and their homes to be with friends or family that have caused the distressing surge of COVID-19 cases. Rome said she felt like business owners were being punished for other people’s misdeeds.
Sonoma County business owners have opted to maintain the status quo despite the severity of the situation. Sonoma County Supervisor, David Rabbitt, said, “We’re just trying to weigh the numbers, the data, and make that right decision.”
Napa, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma counties all refused to agree with the lockdown protocols, at least for now. Rabbitt said they did not want to overreact to the situation and were looking into how best to support their residents.
Rabbitt said if they were to follow the new lockdown rules, they would have to cooperate carefully, and that has been what they are doing. Sonoma County has long been placed in the most restrictive purple tier and has recently seen an increase in testing rates and a drop in positivity rates.
A compromise of restrictions
The Board of Supervisors on Friday talked about joining the five-county lockdown rules but declined, following Public Health guidance due to 40% of ICU beds still being available. Rabbitt asked if there was a possible compromise they could take that would implement restrictions but not follow the full protocols the state proposed.
Rabbitt noted that county leaders also agreed to keep retail and the restaurant community thriving but added the situation was more complicated than before. He said that while Sonoma County has seen a positive turn, the numbers could become worse in the coming weeks.
Marin County has until noon on Tuesday to decide whether or not it would join the new lockdown protocols. The owner of the Sonoma Fit Gum in Novato, Adam Kovacs, said, “Winter has arrived, and it’s exactly what we thought it was going to be.”
Kovacs expressed his disappointment of having to force members to conduct their exercises outdoors in December. He noted how his establishment had had about 18,000 check-ins since being allowed to reopen and take in customers and had not recorded even one positive case of the COVID-19 virus, KTVU reported.
One gym member, Rich Azzolino, said the procedures made them feel like starting over again. Azzolino wondered why gyms were included in the list of closed down establishments when none of the ones the member has been to has reported a positive case.
Kovacs noted that officials are focusing on business establishments such as gyms and salons due to the difficulties of controlling private gatherings. He noted that the state has been in lockdown for the last nine months with three case spikes.