A decoy construction worker is positioned on Portola Drive in Live Oak to help slow traffic at a road construction project. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday sweeping new changes to relax Covid-19 health standards that could have a dramatic impact on speeding up a gradual reopening of businesses, services, social behavior and even some major league sports—minus the crowds.

While some governors advise a “slow and steady” approach, other states are cheering the opening of bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors, golf courses, bowling alleys, race tracks and hair and nail salons. In some areas restaurants are spilling out into the streets with dining tables, cocktails and full menus, while other places only offer curbside take out food. Other states are reopening churches and casinos. Meanwhile, Texas recorded 2,700 new cases in a single day recently. And in San Francisco, hundreds of people crowded the Castro District over the weekend for outdoor cocktails, wine, beer and more, some blatantly disregarding social distancing, a rule which is still in place in much of California.

A person who attended church service at Palermo Bible Family Church in Butte County learned the following day that they were positive for Covid-19, according to health officials. The Mother’s Day visit exposed 180 other people at the church. Officials said it highlights heated discussions between some religious groups and public officials as they work to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That person in question is now in isolation at home, Butte County Public Health said in a statement Friday. All the others at the same service have been notified. The church reportedly ignored rules banning gatherings.

Twelve firefighters were injured Saturday while combatting a fierce fire that broke out in a hash oil production facility in Los Angeles. The Associated Press said that an explosion during the battle hurled a fireball out the front door of the lab, scorching a dozen firefighters, some who ran from the building while tearing off their burning fire protective gear and melting helmets. The burst of flames also baked a fire truck parked across the street. Eight of those firefighters remained hospitalized Sunday.

Friends and family of Ben Kelly, a local popular surfer who died during a shark attack May 9 at Sand Dollar Beach, honored his life recently at a beach memorial gathering. They also erected a makeshift altar on the sand near the attack site. Colorful ribbons, personal writings, flowers, memorabilia and Kelly’s hat, emblazoned with the Ben Kelly Surfboards logo, were left in his honor.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk said nearly 1,000 workers are being furloughed.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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