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Imperial County Health Department Reacts to New Reopening Blueprint

-Editorial

The Imperial County Health Department gave an update on the new guidelines the state introduced by the state last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

On Friday, August 28, 2020, the State of California unveiled the new Blueprint for a Safer Economy for reducing COVID-19.

Jeanette Angulo, Director of Public Health, spoke about the new guidelines and how it impacts Imperial County. Angulo said there were modifications to the health order that allow barbershops and beauty salons to open indoors with appropriate security measures.

Retail is allowed to open at 25 percent capacity at this moment but if they meet the metrics then stores would be able to open at 50 percent, Angulo said.

Along with the new blueprint, the State introduced revised criteria for loosening and tightening restriction on activities, as well as a tiered, color-coded system, which will guide movement from tier to tier.

The Blueprint for a Safer Economy replaces the County Data Monitoring List for determining what business can and cannot open.  An updated local Health Officer order will be issued to reflect the recent state changes.

Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and testing positivity.  Imperial County is currently in tier one. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward.  Data will be reviewed weekly and tiers updated on Tuesdays.  To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks.  If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier.

Activities and businesses that have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to open. Higher-risk activities or businesses aren’t allowed until later tiers.  An activity or business’s tier depends on whether it can accommodate mask-wearing at all times allow the physical distance between individuals from different households, limit the number of people per square foot, limit the time that an individual is at the business or activity, limit the time of exposure, limit mixing of people from different households, limit amount of physical interactions of visitors/patrons, increase airflow (such as operating outdoors or opening windows and doors), and activities that are known to increase virus spread (like singing, shouting and heavy breathing).

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