The City of El Centro has announced today a phased plan for re-opening El Centro businesses. Although this announcement comes as good news for the residents and businesses in El Centro, the plan is not without protective action to help keep the community as safe as possible during the re-opening process. Protective action includes: Physical distancing (a minimum of six feet apart), face coverings, gathering sizes, sanitation measures and hygiene measures all meant to help flatten the curve while allowing our healthcare system the capacity to treat patients.
The City of El Centro’s phased re-opening plan is based on collaboration with local health care professionals and data based on the ability of the health care system to treat patients and the number of available beds in the hospital. The City of El Centro is currently in the initial phase of its planned re-opening by continuing ongoing action- outreach to all existing El Centro businesses and to assist in determining essential workforce and support of critical infrastructure. Included are those businesses that provide materials and services that support the Center for Disease Control (CDC) compliance/guidance. The plan includes assisting businesses with identifying essential critical infrastructure workers and industries. Information on this phase can be found at: https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf and directing business representatives to resources for best practice at: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.
The phases set forth by the City of El Centro are as follows:
Phase I – May 6, 2020 consists of the continuance of physical distancing and protective measures and all retail and commercial online order curbside pick-up.
Phase II – May 11, 2020, using physical distancing and protective measures that are in place, faith-based assemblies will be able to re-open, the City of El Centro Aquatic Center (exact day and time will be announced), retail and commercial businesses, restaurants with dine-in and outside dining, hair and nail salons, barbershops, massage, and tattoo shops will be able to re-open.
Dates will be announced for Phase III but will include: bars and entertainment venues, gym and fitness centers, public events, bowling alley, softball and baseball fields, and the El Centro Public Library. Phase IV will consist of all recreational programs and additional opening relaxation and restrictions.
The City of El Centro is applying enforcement actions to help protect the community. These actions consist of physical distancing and other protective actions that are necessary for the ongoing protection of the health and wellbeing of the community. City staff will be available to assist businesses with compliance and best practices on an ongoing basis. The enforcement approach taken by the City of El Centro is intended to be educational but will if needed, engage in enforcement actions as needed.
Businesses are encouraged to regularly check for updates from the CDC Best Practices website and the California Labor Department website referenced earlier in this article. Residents and businesses in the City of El Centro will continue with face coverings in public places, physical distancing, keeping your physical environment disinfected and cleaned as recommended, and physical hygiene practices such as washing your hands for twenty seconds or more and avoid touching your face.
The City of El Centro’s first priority is the health and safety of its residents and businesses and is looking forward to the phased re-opening plan set forth in this press release. However, if there is a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus the City of El Centro is prepared to rescind, reduce or delay any part of the phased re-opening plan the City deems necessary to protect its residents and community.
However, the County of Imperial is concerned about El Centro’s reopening without having a coordinated effort with the other cities.
“It is unfortunate that one of our cities has unilaterally, without a countywide coordinated effort, decided to reopen or loosen restrictions for many businesses not taking into consideration the guidance and expertise of state and local public health officials, since all surrounding communities will suffer the long-term effects of reopening our economy too soon and risking additional spread.” The county said in a press release.