Kern County prepares to move into next phase of Governor’s plan to reopen economy, County officials say

May 7, 2020 /

Kern County is prepared to move into the next phase in the coming days of the Governor’s plan to reopen the economy, County officials said Thursday at a press conference.

The Governor’s plan to reopen the economy is made up of four stages, and Kern County will enter into stage two Friday, said Matt Constantine, the director of Kern County Public Health Services.

“Information is changing very rapidly,” Constantine said. “This is no longer a Public Health Department issue. This is a county-wide issue, and it affects all of us.”

Kern County is will be exiting the first stage, the safety and preparedness stage, and will enter into stage two, which addresses lower risk work places.

“We will move together as a state on Friday,” Constantine said. “This allows us to address lower risk sectors.”

Stage two includes two phases. The County will enter the first phase of stage two Friday. This first phase will allow some retail businesses, such as flower shops and sporting good stores, to reopen for curbside pick-up and delivery only.

Other types of businesses, such as offices and shopping malls, will be addressed in phase two of stage two of the plan, according to Constantine.

Stage three addresses higher risk work places, and the final and fourth stage will end the stay-at-home order, “where we can expand the work force to the highest risk areas.”

Although there are plans to slowly start moving forward, county officials emphasized the Governor’s orders are still in place.

“I want to be very clear and very specific. The state of California and Governor Gavin Newsom is calling the shots on this pandemic,” said Ryan Alsop, the County Chief Administrative Officer. “He is calling the shots on the stay at home order. He is calling the shots on the limited activity on businesses. He is calling the shots on how State and how Counties will reopen.”

County officials also announced two more COVID-19 related deaths and 60 new COVID-19 cases in Kern County.

Featured photo: Tina Brown has kept her restaurant, Tina Marie’s in downtown Bakersfield, open for her customers and staff. They prepare meals for take-out. As people in Bakersfield are told to observe isolation and distancing precautions because of the Coronavirus pandemic effecting the United States and the world, the streets in Bakersfield are much less crowded during peak hours. Some businesses can remain open if they provide essential needs of the population. While many have closed doors. Photos by Henry A. Barrios for Kern Sol News

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.