Restaurants, shopping malls open for business Thursday, county officials say

May 21, 2020 /

After Governor Newsom granted Kern County approval Wednesday to move through Stage 2 quicker, Kern County officials said Thursday morning restaurants and shopping malls can begin to open as early as today. 

These businesses will have to adhere to strict guidelines issued by the State of California once they open. These guidelines include employees using masks and gloves, frequently cleaning, enforcing social distancing rules, and limiting the number of customers.  

“By following these guidelines, our County can safely and responsibly reopen our society and get people back to work,” said Supervisor Leticia Perez. “We will now be able to kick-start our economy and move people close to financial stability we are all yearning for.”

Other businesses included in Stage 2 are distribution centers, outdoor museums and some offices.

Kern County is in the second phase of the Governor’s four-stage plan to reopen the state, eventually ending the shelter in place order in the fourth stage.

Public Health officials also confirmed at Thursday’s press conference 39 new COVID-19 cases in Kern County, bringing the total number of active cases to 515.

Of these cases, 38 people are being hospitalized, while the remainder are isolating at home.

Governor Newsom last week announced that he will allow counties to reopen if hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients have stabilized. This means the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized can’t increase by more than 5 percent over a seven-day period or can’t have more than 20 hospitalizations in one day.

Ryan Alsop, Kern County Chief Administrative Officer, said Kern’s attestation that the Governor approved comes with an agreement that would have Kern County take a “step back” if it’s hospitalizations rates were to spike after the reopening of the economy; however, there would have to be a pretty big increase in hospitalizations for Kern to consider taking action, Alsop said.

“Our hospitalization rates have been trending about the same week end and week out for a long period of time,” Alsop said.

Alsop said he hopes to move through Stage 3 by the end of the month; however, county officials are waiting on the Governor to give approval to counties to move through Stage 3.

Kern’s COVID-19 Ad-Hoc committee is working with businesses that fall in the Stage 3 category to prepare them to reopen with the Governor allows them to. Some of these businesses include hair and nail salons, gyms, bars, entertainment venue, public pools, religious services, and hotels.

“We are making sure we do a good job and thinking through best practices,” Alsop said.

Featured Photo: Tina Brown waves goodbye to one of her regular customers Tuesday morning. “ I did it for them, my people,” says Tina Brown, left, owner of Tina Marie’s restaurant in downtown Bakersfield of keeping her place open for takeout meals during the coronavirus pandemic crises. “My people,” she explains are her regular customers who continue to come by for take-out meals and her staff who she continues to employ knowing they need their jobs and income. “You’ve heard of, ‘Bakersfield strong,’ that’s who we are, we take care of each other.” Photo by Henry Barrios

Elizabeth Sanchez

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