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July 3, 2020

State gives Central Coast counties ​green light to open dine-in restaurants​, barbershops

WATSONVILLE—The California Department of Public Health approved Covid-19 County Variance Attestation forms for both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, the counties announced Saturday morning. 

The acceptance will allow the neighboring counties to advance further into Stage 2 of the state’s so-called resilience roadmap.

Restaurants can now open for dine-in service and barbershops and hair salons can also open. Those businesses, however, must follow state-mandated restrictions that require them to operate at reduced capacity and increase their disinfecting routines, among other things.

Barbershops and hair salons are allowed to offer limited services such as haircuts, weaves and extensions, braiding, lock maintenance, wig maintenance, hair relaxing treatments and color services. Operations that involve touching faces such as eyelash services, eyebrow waxing/threading and facials are not allowed.

For guidance related to dine-in restaurants, visit https://bit.ly/2ZRHOiM and guidance on barbershops and hair salons visit https://bit.ly/36RWvE0

Monterey County submitted its application on Tuesday and Santa Cruz County did so on Friday following a heated emergency Board of Supervisors meeting in which the room had to be cleared because a member of the public approached county health officer Gail Newel to read her name tag.

Newel was reportedly escorted out of the meeting by Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The man who approached her was not cited.

Roughly two dozen members of the public—some using profanity-heavy demands—called the supervisors to remove the shelter-in-place order.

“You’re killing us,” one person said.

The approvals come as Covid-19 cases in both counties continue to rise and restrictions for in-store shopping and places of worship have eased.

Santa Cruz County now has more than 200 known cases after four clusters in the Watsonville area arose from Mother’s Day weekend celebrations. Twelve county residents have reportedly been hospitalized with Covid-19 in the last 14 days, according to the state.

In Monterey County, there have been 158 new cases over the last two weeks and two more residents recently died with the virus. Overall, there have been 477 cases and 10 deaths in that county.

At least 148 people have overcome Covid-19 in Santa Cruz County and at least 306 have done the same in Monterey County.

Both health officers have said cases will continue to rise as their economies reopen, but their respective variance applications and revised orders included several plans to quell increases, including “triggers” for implementing restrictions should the cases rise too quickly.

“The goal isn’t to prevent all new cases or to prevent all deaths. [That’s] a lofty goal but it’s not realistic,” Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Director Mimi Hall said at Friday’s supervisors meeting. “Our goal is to be prepared for the eventual impacts of our communities trying to get back to normal.”

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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