Spokeswoman says it's counter to Newsom executive order
The Kern County Health Department apparently plans to push back against plans by Taft to reopen businesses deemed non essential by the state and county government.
After the Taft City Council Monday night gave the go-ahead to allow barbershops, beauty salons and gyms, among others to open next week, the Health Department released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the City doesn't have the right to overrule Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive orders.
"We are sympathetic to our businesses and want them to be able to open as soon as possible; however, we are required to operate in accordance with the Governor's orders," spokeswoman Michelle Corson said in a written statement. "We share the sentiment and frustration with our local cities; however, opening up businesses that are not on the Governor's list of critical essential infrastructure is not a decision that can be made by the County and the individual cities."
The City notified Director of Public Health Matt Constantine by a letter approved at Mondays meeting. The action was taken after 22 public comments, most supporting opening business with precautions against the spread of COVID-19, were read into the record.
Corson didn't specify what actions the Health Department might take if Taft businesses are reopened, but emphasized the city can't make that decision on its own.
"Even the County of Kern has followed suit and is operating in an essential services only model through at least May 15, 2020. The Governor will need to amend or lift the order to allow local non-essential businesses to re-open."
Corson said Newsom has indicated he doesn't want cities and counties acting on their own to open up.
"He also mentioned his awareness of individual jurisdictions wanting to reopen sooner than his orders and indicated that he was not going to allow jurisdictions to carelessly do that. The Governor and his staff have developed a roadmap for reopening, which they intend all jurisdictions to follow," Corson wrote.
State Sen. Shannon Grove delivered a letter to Newsom last week asking for local jurisdictions to be allowed to act independently.