Californians are on edge about when the state will reopen and what that might look like. On Tuesday, Gov. Newsom laid out the framework of how the state is preparing but he’s hesitating to reveal any type of timeline.
“In this transition where we do see light at the end of the tunnel, where there is a ray of light and optimism and hopefulness that this too shall pass, it’s perhaps the most difficult phase of all,” Newson said in the briefing on Tuesday.
Newsom highlighted six frames of focus in this “optimistic phase” for Californians.
The frames include: expanding testing, protecting the vulnerable, addressing hospital needs, engaging research operations, finding strategies for reopening businesses and flexibility in finding restrictions.
When it comes to a timeline, Newsom said “ask me in two weeks” in the briefing.
“I know you want the timeline but we can’t get ahead of ourselves” he said. “Let’s not make the mistake of pulling the plug too early as much as we all want to.”
Ultimately, there will be “baseline recommendations and guidance” from the state but Newsom said local leaders will cater it to their communities.
“The way it works, at least in California, we have to follow what the federal government says, the state government says, the county says, but we can do more,” Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors, said. “We just can’t do less, we can be more restrictive, not less restrictive.”
The city of Palm Springs is now taking its most restrictive measure yet: fining residents for not wearing face masks in public places. That means at trail heads and essential businesses. This is a move, he said, the county should have implemented.
“It did send a mixed message when the county issued an order changing it from a strong recommendation to wear a face covering to a requirement and then the sheriff said, but we’re not going to enforce it,” Kors said.
Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes addressed enforcement at an emergency city council meeting Tuesday night.
“We contact people and we either provide them with a copy of the directive and educate them on the importance of following through, we log their names whenever we contact somebody so if we should run in to the same person the second time it’s going to show that history in our computer system that they’ve been warned and the initial circumstance surrounding that contact,” Chief Reyes said.
He said the fines could range from $100 to $25,000 for repeat violators.
“I’m happy to note that at this time, although we’ve made many contacts with a variety of businesses and people throughout our community, we have not issued any citations thus far,” he said.
The city releasing a hotline number, (760) 902-1155, for residents to call in about COVID-19 violations and signage for businesses to put on their doors to promote social distancing.