Newsom approves Kern's application to move ahead

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved Kern County's request to move faster into reopening business closed for more than two months as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Taft, it means restaurants and retail business can reopen for walk-in customers and sit-down dining as long as they follow safety guidelines and social distancing.

The safety requirements includes masks and gloves for employees and frequent cleaning and keeping at least six feet distance between customers.

A complete list of restaurant safety guidelines is available on the Kern County Health Department website,

The relaxed regulations are limited, however, and cover only restaurants, retail stores, shopping malls, non essential manufacturing, some services like car repair and pet grooming and outdoor museums and parks.

It does not change the closure orders for hair and nail salons, barbershops, indoor museums, gyms, fitness centers, community centers, bars and libraries.

It has been a week of rapid developments.

On Monday, Newson announced relaxed guidelines for counties to start reopening, and the county staff went to work drawing up a plan and letter requesting a variance.

On Tuesday the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved the letter requesting the relaxed rules, and 24 hours Newsom agreed.

Tuesday night, Taft City Manager talked about safety measures being considered.

Jones encouraged local restaurants to think creatively about finding ways to accommodate customers, using parking lots or other areas, even outside tents.

"If you a restaurant owner, go ahead and talk with us," Jones said. He said the city is following steps taken by the county to find ways to help businesses.

Even exterior tents could be feasible once they get approval by the the Kern County Fire Department, Jones told the City Council.