Riverside County Proposal to Open Events Fails as COVID-19 Cases Threaten to Close Businesses

Riverside County Proposal to Open Events Fails as COVID-19 Cases Threaten to Close Businesses

Kitty Alvarado Connect

There is no good way to say it, but both our positivity rates are still rising … if the trend continues we do face the possibility of going backwards,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the Riverside County public health officer warned the county during Tuesday’s Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting if the county’s rate of COVID-19 spread continues we will be pushed to a more restrictive tier in a couple of weeks, where some businesses will be forced to close again. 

This news on the same day the board voted on a proposal to break away from the state’s tiered system and create their own, the next phase would allow special event venues to reopen for local residents only at 25 percent capacity. Hotel meetings and wedding receptions would be allowed under this proposal.

“It has been decimated by COVID-19 … one non winery venue alone just one has lost $3.7 million dollars  just this year,” said Michelle Garibay, who is an event planner in Temecula and Palm Springs area,  during public comment.

The plan still follows the state’s safety guidelines, but would have it’s own phases reopening with its own COVID-19 number requirements.

“If our numbers, like they said today, have gone up then we’re going to jeopardize it whether we are with the state or we’re on our own,” said Karen Spiegel, Riverside County District 4 Supervisor, adding that it’s up to citizens when businesses reopen, and everyone should follow the guidelines if not for themselves but for others.

George Johnson, the county’s C.E.O. warned the board that if they voted for the plan they would risk losing over $114 million in state funding, “We all want to see our businesses open up and people to go back to work, we all want that to happen what I‘ve identified is that there are revenue sources that will be put at risk if we deviate from that guidance.”

Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez raised concerns with overriding rules set by the state, “The county does not have jurisdiction to prohibit the state from taking enforcement actions against businesses for violation or orders and department of public health.”

Ultimately, the board voted to work with the state’s Department of Public Health on reopening the private events industry and allowing the county to incorporate its own timeline based, meaning for now it will have to stick with  state’s reopening plan. 

In recent weeks the county’s coronavirus rate levels have been rising. Right now the county is in the red tier, and is in danger of moving into the purple tier.

For more information on state’s tier system click here: CALIFORNIA BLUEPRINT FOR A SAFER ECONOMY

For more information on Riverside County numbers click here: RIVERSIDE COUNTY COVID-19

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