After months of struggle by Imperial County dealing with COVID-19, it was announced a press conference held on Aug. 25, that the state has allowed them to navigate through Stage 2 Low-Risk and Stage High Risk.
It was a breath of fresh air for a county that had, at one point, the highest positivity rate in California. Imperial County Health Director Jeanette Angulo announced that the State gave them the good news late last night. The move to Stage 2 will become effective today at 5 p.m.
“Although we have made a lot of progress, we can’t let our guard down and need to continue working together to continue improving,” Angulo said.
The businesses that can open outdoors with social distance and safety measures are malls, hair salons, gyms, personal care services, RV Parks, outdoor museums, bookstores, flower stores, among others. Restaurants can open outdoors only. Higher Education will be allowed to have in-person sessions only for specialized classes.
Places like breweries, bars, and tattoo places are not allowed. Gatherings of any size are still prohibited by state law at the moment.
In light of the improvements in local positive case rates and hospitalizations rates, the county requested the state to return to State 2. A return back to Stage 2, the lower risk would allow the reopening of certain sectors, as outline by California’s Resilience Roadmap.
The Imperial County Health Department also prepared documentation to initiative the variance once the metrics have been met. By meeting these metrics, it would allow the County for broader reopening of businesses. A key metric being monitored for this phase is the 7-day testing positivity rate. The goal is to maintain a 7-day average of positive cases of less than 8 percent.
The Imperial County continues to be on the state’s monitoring list. That means that schools in the Imperial County will continue to be online as ordered by the State of California.