Most who commented to Taft City Council favor reopening with safety precautions

A strong majority of the people who commented at a special meeting of the Taft City Council favor reopening some of Taft's closed businesses but with proper precautions.

Three of the 22 respondents are in favor of keeping all nonessential businesses closed and two were neutral, but 16 were strongly in favor of getting barbershops, beauty salons, gyms and flower shops open again with proper precautions.

The Council it self unanimously favored reopening some of the businesses closed for the past month by Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive shelter-in place order and a subsequent health order from the Kern County Health Department.

All the responses were read aloud at the special meeting held by the Council Monday night before a unanimous vote to approve a letter to Kern County Director of Public Health stating its intent to get businesses opened on May 4 and asking for assistance with safety guidance for those that do.

Here are excerpts from the responses submitted:

•"I am of the opinion that Taft businesses should be able to choose to remain open at this time. I believe many would take extra precautions at this time to make their customer base feel at ease." - Curtis Walchock, Taft Fox Theater.

•"West Kern Water supports easing restrictions placed on small businesses because of the COVID-19 related 'shelter in place order' by allowing them to open in a safe and socially responsible manner." - Greg Hammett, West Kern Water District.

•"I am a one on one dog groomer. I have no employees and very limited contact with the public as it is. I feel it would be safe for my clients and for me to legally operate my business in a safe manner...If 'nonessential businesses' continue to stay closed, I fear Taft will have a hard time recovering from this..." - Barbara Johnson The Dog House Grooming Salon.

•"(I) am definitely in favor of the commons sense approach for relaxing the restrictions that is being proposed by the City of Taft. the basis of the individual comfort level seems reasonable at a time when the collective psyche and economy is so fragile." - Maggie Blackwell

•"Hair and nail salons, massage therapy shops...flower shops do not feed the body but they are essential to the mental well-being of the of many. They directly affect emotional health..." - athy Orrin

•"Out of concerns for my coworkers, families and customers and clients, in my opinion we should wait until the governor, doctors and scientists tell us it's safe to go back to work." - Christy Durkan, Bangs and Tangles.

•"A house of worship is essential in these trying times. Individuals in drug and alcohol recovery upon, as well as those battling depression, depend heavily on the corporate body of believers as well as the worship and blessing they feel in the midst of a church service. I propose that churches be added to the list to essential businesses , provided they maintain the prescribed social distancing of six feet and practice safety measures." - Pastor Steven McDaniel Revival Worship Center.

• "I say yes. Maybe for the first phase of opening back up the city can put restrictions on the number of individuals allowed in the facility at a time, similar to how some essential grocery stores are doing it right now." - Zackary Long.

• "Salons may not be essential in keeping the world turning but it is every bit essential for me to pay my bills and be able to help support my family. Prior to the shutdown I requested that I only have one client in my shop at a time and provided hand sanitizer to all my clients. Between clients I would disinfect all equipment that was used in order to provide a clean atmosphere. I know that my clients and I would greatly appreciate being able to return to business as usual." - Cheryl Bethel, The Color Bar.

•"Yes, it's time to get back to work, but in a new way. A way to fit the current times. We understand how our services will have to adapt to a new and creative way to serve our community safely. We understand that we can't run back to the wold ways. We must adapt. We will adapt. - Renee Bitzer Hill.

•"It may seem necessary to expand the definition of of essential, but the damage we can do is by needlessly deeming unessential services 'essential will be measured not in the revenue we generated but the Human lives we lost to achieve it." - Chase Brown

•"I think it is time to open up our city. We need our downtown stores to reopen. If they don't, they may never be able to again. They are mom and pop shops and if we lose them, we will have nothing downtown. Downtown will be dead." - Emily Bosworth

•"It may seem necessary to expand the definition of of essential, but the damage we can do is by needlessly deeming unessential services 'essential will be measured not in the revenue we generated but the Human lives we lost to achieve it." - Chase Brown

•"I think it is time to open up our city. We need our downtown stores to reopen. If they don't, they may never be able to again. They are mom and pop shops and if we lose them, we will have nothing downtown. Downtown will be dead." - Emily Bosworth