UPDATE: No Dine-in Currently Allowed — Congratulations, Shasta County! Welcome to Stage 2! Eat, Drink and Be Wary

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What forbidden activities did you miss most during the nearly seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic shut-down? Shopping? Eating out? Getting your car washed? Having your kids attend school?

May 11 UPDATE: According to a media briefing this afternoon, restaurants are not allowed to open yet. the information published below was based upon direction following last week’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting that gave the green light for dine-in options for businesses that had complied with state adaptations.

As of yesterday, many of your favorite Shasta County stores, restaurants and schools are now allowed to re-open — with some caveats and adaptations– as the county transitions from Stage 1 into Stage 2. This graduation is a result of the efforts of citizens and county public health officials who joined forces to obey the governor’s stay-at-home orders and helped flatten the COVID-19 curve and keep our county’s numbers low.

This welcome news arrived Friday afternoon during a Shasta County Board of Supervisors’ special meeting to discuss re-opening the county. There, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, the county’s health officer, was the bearer of good news when she certified that Shasta County had met state requirements to ease from the more-restrictive shut-downs of Stage 1 to the relatively more relaxed Stage 2.

The certification required some hoop-jumping and documentation on Shasta County’s part to assure the state that the county could pass some key benchmarks and meet the state’s criteria before it could modify the Stage 1 stay-at-home order. Examples included proof that the county had sufficient testing and hospital capacity, and it had the ability to not just test people, but identify, isolate and trace the infected and their contacts.

At the meeting, after many questions and much discussion, the supervisors unanimously approved a letter of support for the county’s re-opening. Following the meeting, Ramstrom shared the information with the state, an act that rendered the decision official.

(Click here to watch a recording of the meeting.) 

Additional action taken on May 8 during the Shasta County Board of Supervisors’ special meeting was a BOS letter sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom that requested the governor consider allowing Shasta County to also open some Stage 3 businesses that are currently not permitted to open. That decision is expected to be made by the governor at a later date. For the time being, only Stage 2 businesses are allowed to open in Shasta County. A list of those business sectors is detailed in this updated press release and on ShastaReady.org (click on “Roadmap to Recovery”).

Despite moving away from the constricting Stage 1, Stage 2 does come with some strings attached. That’s why, along with the elation over the county’s re-openings of so many businesses that were closed since mid-March, the citizens face the stark reality that business will be anything but usual in Shasta County. Yes, many businesses will be allowed to open, but with significant caveats and adaptations. And because this is a new frontier, there may be some bumps in the road until the path becomes more clear on such details as whether restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol in addition to food this weekend, or if it’s better to proceed with caution and wait until after Monday to see what the ABC has to say about it.

Even so, the county’s escalation into Stage 2 allows about 70 percent of the businesses that had been previously closed in Stage 1 to re-open in Stage 2. Those businesses and industries have the discretion to re-open at a time that suits them. Case in point, some businesses re-opened Friday after the announcement, because they were able to immediately implement state requirements and adjustments. Other businesses may choose to wait days or even weeks to come into compliance with Stage 2 guidelines, and to gear up, and bring back employees and inventory.

As Shasta County eases into Stage 2, businesses and customers alike will be asked to adjust to the new normal that requires everyone to walk the tightrope between the value in kick-starting the local economy and Job No. 1 of keeping the public safe from the pandemic.

According to a statement in the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency COVID-19 update, “the staged plan is necessary to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 and relies fully on the engagement and cooperation of individuals and businesses.”

That engagement and cooperation means that while excited business managers and owners rise to the challenge of reopening after being closed for nearly two months, they must also comply with new public health requirements.

The state has issued Resilience Roadmap guidelines to help businesses open in a way that’s safe and smart for customers and employees alike. 

As a result, in Stage 2, the public can expect to see some of their old familiar places looking foreign and unfamiliar: reconfigured floor plans, hands-free payments, curb-side pickup, additional online and delivery options, signs and directional arrows, rearranged furniture, and features to ensure customers and employees maintain adequate social distancing and sanitation practices.

Businesses allowed to re-open (with adaptations)

• Some work places
Retail, including but not limited to: Bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, florists. (SEE UPDATE, ABOVE.) 
• Supply chains supporting the above businesses, in manufacturing and logistical sectors
• Agriculture and livestock
• Food packing
• Manufacturing
Destination retail, including shopping malls and swap meets (SEE UPDATE, ABOVE.) 
• Personal services, limited to car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening
• Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
• *Dine-in restaurants (other facility amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted) (SEE UPDATE, ABOVE.) 
• Outdoor museums and open gallery spaces (SEE UPDATE, ABOVE.) 
• Outdoor recreation: Public spaces such as parks, trails, and golf courses should limit crowds and ensure physical distancing. Use of boats should be limited to household contacts or half occupancy.
• Schools and childcare: with adaptations to ensure students and staff are protected. Precautions should be provided to families with vulnerable groups that live in the same household.
• Childcare and summer programs: children should receive care in groups of 12 or fewer. If multiple groups of children are within the same facility, keep the same childcare worker with the same children in order to minimize risk.
• School: preparations for Shasta County schools which are scheduled to resume the week of August 10, 2020.
• Faith community: continue remote offerings.
• Healthcare services: may continue to gradually resume based on guidance outlined in Stage 1. Includes routine medical care, dental care and optometry.

*Note – Direction for local restaurants may change if the California Department of Public Health modifies their guidance.

Source: State of California, Roadmap to Recovery

The Shasta County HHSA encourages business owners to review the state’s industry-specific guidance and  create a re-opening plan using the template at www.ShastaReady.org (click on Roadmap to Recovery). For additional assistance, email COVID19@co.shasta.ca.us.

The 30 percent left behind, outside of Stage 2: Considered higher-risk workplaces

Although the majority of Shasta County business are allowed to reopen with adaptations within the security of Stage 2, the state has deemed it risky and therefore premature to allow about 30 percent of businesses to open. Those businesses include, but are not limited to:

• Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios
• Hospitality services, such as bars and lounges
• Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, and pro sports
• Indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries
• Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
• Religious services and cultural ceremonies
• Nightclubs
• Concert venues
• Festivals
• Theme parks
• Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism
Source: State of California, Roadmap to Recovery

For more information for businesses and consumers, go to www.ShastaReady.org and click on Roadmap to Recovery. For businesses that need information about the state’s requirements before opening, click here.

Finally, remember that being in Stage 2 does not leave everything contained in Stage 1 behind. Non-essential travel and mass gatherings are still prohibited. And public health officials recommend that if you do go out, wear a mask to protect yourself and others, and continue to maintain social distancing as much as possible. These efforts can help prevent a resurgence of the virus. And if all goes well in Stage 2, then perhaps we can gingerly inch toward Stage 3, leaving us to dream of the day when we have attained community immunity and can safely progress onto Stage 4.

One day at a time. One Stage at a time.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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40 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Do you finally get to hug your grandchildren? I had to drive to and from Redding yesterday, and there was a great deal of traffic on 299, much more that there has been since the shut down. Looks as though folks are on the move – lots of big rigs and RV’s. I’m still wearing a mask and gloves when out, and I hope the dog groomer will reopen soon.

  2. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    As Arizona is also opening up, slowly, I have to ask where are the customers going to come from?
    The group that has the most disposable income has been retirees. While some are well off most are just getting by and have been helping family. We retirees realize that we are one medical crisis from getting by and homelessness, so we have been seeing doctors and more important following their advice.
    We are not going to risk catching that medical crisis by going out to dine or see a movie or play in close quarters with others. My wife goes to Walmart once a week during Senior hour. Walmart has strict guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing, one shopping cart. They have monitors to ensure those rules are followed.
    So where are the customers going to come from?

    • Avatar Wendy says:

      Walmart does NOT enforce use of masks. I was appalled when my husband and I were there last week and more than 50% of people were not using masks (including employees) and were not following social distance guidelines. Not going back any time soon.

    • Avatar Ed Marek says:

      bruce,

      A decision to “open up” Arizona seems akin to collective insanity, given the high rate of transmission and low test rate:

      https://covidactnow.org/us/az

      The baby steps of stage 2 in California is at least (sort of) defendable, by our State’s performance in containing the pandemic.

      Attempting to reopen America’s economy overall, without containing the pandemic first and by piecemeal, is beyond insanity.

      The inevitable result for the USA will be continuing economic depression, and the status of international pariah, a 21st century leper colony, as the rest of the world recovers and moves forward.

      It is looking like trump may go down in history as the man who in only a few short years turned the world’s only democratic superpower into a pathetic kleptocratic regime, populated largely by beggars.

      But don’t anyone let that spoil your session at the tanning parlor…

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        If I’d known what you were going to Post above, Doni, I might have posted something a little more upbeat…

        • Avatar Laurie says:

          Hard to be upbeat when our president has declared open season on the U.S. citizenry (with especially tragic results for elders, people of color, factory workers, the incarcerated, and anyone with a pre-existing condition), revealing his sociopathic contempt for any human life but his own. End-stage disaster capitalism (which Naomi Klein nailed 13 years ago in “The Shock Doctrine” — essential pandemic reading, along with Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year”) is a monstrous murder machine.

          Your post isn’t a personal critique; it’s (tragically) just the truth.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            So let me get this straight, Laurie. When President Trump recommends a slow opening of the economy, he has, according to you, a “sociopathic contempt for any human life”…but Gavin Newsom has given the go ahead for doing the same thing, and it is my guess you don’t call him a sociopath, correct? You are praising his reopening of California?

            I think the president should from here on out have a different tactic. Anything he wishes to accomplish, propose the opposite. If he wants to open the economy, tell us that we need to keep shut down. The Trump haters will have the knee-jerk response to want to do the opposite of anything he proposes.
            I bet anything that Laurie was against the China travel ban that the president wisely put in place in January. Were you one of them that called him a racist and xenophobic for that decision?

        • Avatar Ed Marek says:

          “So let me get this straight, Laurie. When President Trump recommends a slow opening of the economy, he has, according to you, a “sociopathic contempt for any human life”…but Gavin Newsom has given the go ahead for doing the same thing…”

          As has been pointed out repeatedly, Mr. Cook is merely parroting his pathetic lie, when he says Newsom’s Actions based on objective scientific standards are the “same thing” as trump’s demand, against all medical advice, that American lives be sacrificed to “open up” the economy, before required conditions are met.

          “…I bet anything that Laurie was against the China travel ban that the president wisely put in place in January. Were you one of them that called him a racist and xenophobic for that decision?…”

          Another trumpist lie that has been repeated by Mr. Cook ad nauseam.

          There never was a “travel ban”, only restrictions put on some, based largely on their skin color, rather than the actual health threat posed to America. The intent was clearly an ugly appeal to the racism of trump’s supporters, just as surely as was trump’s similar behavior in his news conference today.

          As to the travel restrictions being “wise”, the huge death toll America has suffered since, indicative of the complete failure of the trump regime to lead America in this crises, proves them otherwise.

          Mr. Cook likes to call anyone who expresses themselves in favor of our democracy, our Constitution, and enforcement of the oaths of office of all government officials to protect and defend the American people, “trump haters”.

          What do you call someone like Mr. Cook?

  3. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Stage 2 will only be effective if people take it upon themselves to monitor and follow protective measures as recommended.
    Unfortunately many in the north state believe they are invincible or simply to macho to be bothered by masks, gloves and social distancing. As demonstrated by people like les Baugh.

    After nearly 2 months of stay at home I have been pleasantly surprised by how I can get by without going to the mall, washing my own car, and eating out.
    As a result I will dip my toes into Stage 2 with caution and respect for the mitigation measures and keep telling myself we are still in the COVID 19 pandemic.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      My guess is that the employees that work at the restaurants you can’t dine in aren’t as pleasantly surprised.

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        If you really want to do restaurant employees a favor, do what you already should have been doing to help the staff at supermarkets stay safe.

        Go as infrequently as possible, and ALWAYS wear a mask while you’re there…

      • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

        Doug,
        I did not realize it was my obligation to make sure restaurant workers, or other public business workers were dependent on my participation to make them satisfied.
        My participation in the economy is for my own needs and desires.

        Hopefully one of the things our society learns from this pandemic is the fragile nature of capitalism.
        And the need for people to reconsider the value of saving money for a rainy day instead of purchasing that $75000 boat or car.

        • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

          I doubt restaurant workers make enough to save money for a rainy day much less buy a $25,ooo boat.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            That’s why we need to get them back to work as soon as possible

          • Avatar Laurie says:

            Exactly, Kathryn. That’s why we need the government to do what it’s supposed to do, and what most developed, humane countries are managing to do: Rather than forcing low-income workers back into life-threatening jobs, support them with an ongoing basic income (and support the businesses as well) to get them through this pandemic safely.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Laurie, I am not opposed to a temporary basic income, Pelosi proposed 6 months. What I would ask is, how do we pay for it? This virus has already cost us trillions of dollars in federal spending, a basic income will cost us trillions more. Would you be willing to after this is over to cut federal spending? To take a deep look into the budgets of your favorite entitlement programs? Will you blame the Trump administration for the increase in our debt during the crisis, like another poster on here did? As a furloughed worker, I am already getting an extra $600 a week of unemployment benefits from the feds. How much is that costing us? The virus will eventually fade away from our memory…the economic impact, however, will be with us for a long, long time.

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:

            Doug Cook May 11, 2020 at 10:07 am
            “…The virus will eventually fade away from our memory…”

            Of course.

            It’s not like the 100,000 (or 500,000, or one million?) Americans who will have died unnecessarily will have any family or friends that remember them, or how their lives were so recklessly sacrificed…

  4. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Slow down folks. Dr. Ramstrom hasn’t even submitted her certification of Shasta County to the state yet. I’d certainly like to see the epidemiological numbers before rushing to go full Phase 2 right away, Dr. Ramstrom was clearly advocating the “dimmer switch” concept of easing slowly into Phase 2. We’ve tested about 1 percent of the population so far. Our numbers are low and not increasing. Is that good enough? I’d like to hear the experts explain why it is.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      R.V. I agree.

    • Avatar Ed Marek says:

      R.V.

      The local pandemic news I’m most grateful for is that nowhere in North California have we had the usual bad news reported almost everywhere else, that a local senior living community and its staff have suffered a mass outbreak. Close to half of America’s reported infections may be traceable to these sources, as I understand it.

      I expect this is more than just luck, and that the North California staffs must be doing an excellent job protecting their patients, and themselves.

      Any story there?

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        I should have written above “…Close to half of America’s reported COVID-19 fatalities may be traceable to these sources…”

  5. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    KRCR headline seems to have been totally wrong. Thank you for this actually factual information.

  6. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Trinity County has reported its first positive Covid19 test result. Within hours of voting to go to Phase 2.

  7. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    The Walmart in El Mirage, AZ enforces the rules, if the one in Redding doesn’t that is a local problem.
    As far as opening Arizona, CASS the largest homeless shelter in Arizona, we have several, just reported their first case of COVI. How can Shasta County say they are safer when you don’t test one of the most vulnerable groups that have encampments all over the city? Arizona is stepping up testing and the cases are rising because of this.
    I am all for opening up the country but where are the customers going to come from? No one has answered that question.

  8. It’s funny, Chad, I was thinking of the reentry as dipping my toes in the water, too.

    I don’t see myself diving in completely, but waiting a while – I don’t know how much longer- until it feels more safe for me.

    Be safe, Chad. I’m glad you’re here.

  9. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Doni, Happy Mother’s Day to you and all the moms at anc.
    Thanks. I simply do not think “getting back to normal” requires an immediate reaction of going out to eat or shopping at the mall, or large family or social gatherings.

    While I’m happy mask wearing is being more vigorously required it is not the only thing we can do to keep safe. My experience at grocery stores is social distancing is not working.
    A successful stage 2 is in the hands of the people.
    We’ll see how it is handled.

  10. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    If the video I saw on Action News Now (taken at Cottonwood Rodeo yesterday) is any indication, I will not be out too soon. No one was wearing masks, no one was distancing and those that put the even on were NOT following the rules (SC Sheriff admittedly decided not to enforce its closure due). Meanwhile, several other local groups those in charge of such events have canceled them. SELECTION RULE ENFORCEMENT breeds chaos and injustice. Shame on the Sheriffs Dept for being so spineless.

    • Avatar Ed Marek says:

      Have pandemic distance-or-mask safety regulations ever been enforced anywhere in Shasta County?

      I was at Safeway yesterday.

      Only about 20% of shoppers were wearing masks, way down from the about 50% I’ve seen over the last few trips.

      Especially alarming were the half-dozen men with kids, and no masks.

      Many giving Mom the day off from shopping, I suppose.

      What can you say about people who for political gain, for profit, or just because they like to see their name on a comment, encourage parents to risk the lives of their own children and families, by claiming this behavior is acceptable?

  11. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    Well, we HAD a nice run of luck going there:

    “An additional case of COVID-19 confirmed in Shasta County, total now 32”

    “Health officials urge Cottonwood Rodeo attendees to get tested for coronavirus
    by Ashley GardnerMonday, May 11th 2020

    REDDING, Calif. — Packed crowds sitting in tight groups at the Cottonwood Rodeo raised concerns for Shasta County health officials who called on those in attendence to get tested for the coronavirus Monday. The announcement came at an emergency news conference with Shasta County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom and other county officials.

    Dr. Ramstrom also urged those who had attended with jobs in high-risk areas to notify their employers and to stay home. Officials also used the opportunity to clarify the status of the county’s reopening plan. “Allowing people to go back to work means we may have to forgo other life activities I know we would all like to get back to the way things were before but we cannot be having large group gatherings,” Dr. Karen Ramstrom explained…”

    https://krcrtv.com/news/local

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