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Two More Rural California Counties Set To Join Defiance of Newsom Order

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Two more rural California counties have made moves to reopen businesses in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.

Sutter and Yuba counties have joined Modoc County, which allowed schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and its only movie theater to reopen on Friday.

Among Modoc’s 9,000 residents in the far northeast part of “The Golden State,” there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s been a long haul. We’re a small community,” restaurant owner Jodie Larranga said. “It’s not that we’ve been given permission, we’ve just had a belly full. People are fed up.”

Local officials said that businesses must follow certain guidelines, including allowing half the number of patrons with people staying 6 feet apart.

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“Our residents were moving forward with or without us,” Heather Hardwick, the county’s deputy director of emergency services, said in an email to the AP.

The county had sent the governor a letter about their plans, but Newsom did not say whether he would stop the reopening, KCRA reported.

“Nothing would please me more than pleasing those local officials … but we’re not out of the woods,” he said at a news conference Friday.

“No part of the state, no part of this country, few parts of the globe have been immune to this virus.”

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An order for Sutter and Yuba counties is following Modoc’s lead and allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen Monday under “appropriate modifications.”

The neighboring counties are governed by one health officer, Phuong Luu, who said restaurants, malls, gyms, salons, massage parlors and tattoo shops can all reopen Monday if they allow for the physical distancing of their patrons.

The defiance of these three counties reveals some of the problems that have sprung up during Newsom’s statewide lockdown, which was imposed in the middle of March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Protests were held around the state on Friday calling for Newsom to lift the stay-at-home order and reopen the state, Politico reported.

Newsom said Friday that California could be days away from easing up on some of the restrictions, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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“We’re getting very, very close to making some announcements that I think will be very meaningful to people,” he said.

But for the people of Sutter and Yuba counties, that’s not soon enough. Yuba County spokesperson Russ Brown said their decision was based on science and the overall health of the community, not political pressure.

“The order recognizes the difference between what the state has and what we have, and we also advise our residents of that,” Brown told Politico. “We definitely understand that, but we’re still moving ahead.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith