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Placer County pushes to reopen gyms, nail salons, tourist venues

Placer County resident Jerry O'Brien holds a sign as he joins other demonstrators in a rally protesting California's stay-at-home order on Friday.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

As wide swaths of California more fully enter the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, officials in Placer County are pushing to go even further.

The Board of Supervisors for the county, located northeast of Sacramento, voted unanimously Tuesday to petition the state for permission to move into Stage 3 — which would allow gyms, nail salons and entertainment venues to reopen, with modifications.

The county is also seeking to restart youth sports and other programs.

With the summer tourist season just around the corner — a key concern in the eastern part of the county, which borders Lake Tahoe — supervisors also are asking for “specific flexibility to reopen for tourism no later than June 1, and for the state to provide reopening guidance for the industry,” according to a statement.

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Placer County also is seeking to scrap the state’s recent guideline that subjects churches to a 100-person attendance limit for in-person services.

Trying to get a handle on how California is reopening and what it means for you? Our guide includes updates and tips for remaining healthy and sane.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Bonnie Gore said the county is “concerned about protecting the most vulnerable” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and “that’s what we’ve been doing now for the past two and a half months.”

“However, there is also a balance between protecting human life and protecting the other parts of life that are important — the economic and mental health of our residents,” she said in a statement. “As we open up, we anticipate a spike will happen. The good news is that we’re well prepared to address those surges.”

To date, Placer County has recorded 194 cases of COVID-19, and 164 of those people have already recovered. As of Wednesday, only five patients were hospitalized, with three of them in intensive care, according to county data.

The county’s overall coronavirus-linked death toll stands at nine.

Placer is one of 47 California counties that have already received state approval to move further into Stage 2 — allowing them to reopen restaurant dining rooms and retail businesses for in-store shopping with certain modifications.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that counties can reopen hair salons and barbershops as part of the transition to the third stage of the plan to ease the state’s stay-at-home order.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in California.

However, rural and less-populated counties have regularly pushed the state to allow them to more quickly and dramatically relax those restrictions — pointing out that they haven’t seen the same levels of coronavirus activity as their more urban counterparts.

“This is about community members who are dramatically suffering,” Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson said in a statement. “Some of our small business people are losing everything they’ve worked their whole lives for.”


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