Recently, we were pleased to launch a new community testing site at Ramsay Park in Watsonville through OptumServe, one of 80 testing sites statewide designed to increase California’s ability to diagnose, treat and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our current priority is Tier 1 essential workers such as frontline health care staff and first responders, construction workers, grocery workers, hotel staff and more. To make an appointment, go to https://lhi.care/covidtesting.
This week, we began conversations between the Health Services Agency and Economic Recovery Council. We are grateful to our partnership with Community Foundation Santa Cruz County in these efforts. This process will help facilitate a safe, phased and enduring reopening of our community as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s [covid19.ca.gov/roadpmap]Resilience Roadmap and local public health leaders.
Speaking of the Resilience Roadmap, we have received many questions from the community about reopening certain sectors provided safety measures are in place for customers, clients and staff. We strongly support reopening the community, but are bound by the governor’s statewide plan for reopening. While the County Health Officer has allowed the County to enter early Stage 2 openings under the state plan, we must meet certain indicators in order to move into later Stage 2 openings, which would include limited dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and a few personal services that don’t involve direct physical contact, such as car washes.
Unfortunately, the County is currently unable to move past these limited Stage 2 reopenings without State approval. These include Stage 3 businesses such as hair and nail salons, or Stage 4 events such as concerts, conventions or festivals. Until we receive further guidance from the State, the County cannot remove restrictions on these kinds of event regardless of how well our community is doing preventing the spread of COVID-19. The governor recently indicated some Stage 3 businesses and entities may open within weeks, and we look forward to that along with the rest of the community.
I do want to take the time to thank everyone for the sacrifices they are making. COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for all of us, but the work we are doing together is helping to protect the most vulnerable among us. Even as we move to lift some restrictions, you all are to be commended for continuing to follow the Shelter-in-Place restrictions and protect the lives of all Santa Cruz County residents.
Carlos J. Palacios
County Administrative Officer