Riverside County approves reopening plan as region may slide back to purple tier

Riverside County supervisors removed specific dates tied to a proposed reopening plan and ended up asked staff to continue to work with the state on reopening guidelines.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 today in favor of a self-directed public health deregulation plan that provides avenues for Riverside County economic sectors to reopen, but adheres to state guidelines on coronavirus mitigation and requires working with the California Department of Public Health on criteria for safely reopening some venues.

On its face, the proposal by Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt would have signaled that certain activities, hotel meetings and wedding receptions, for example, would have the county's blessing to reopen later this month.

But even though the item passed 4-1, Hewitt ended up voting against it. Because not only did the other supervisors remove the specific dates tied to proposed reopening, they ended up asking staff to continue to work with the state on reopening guidelines.

RELATED: Riverside County to vote on rejecting state's COVID-19 reopening framework in favor of locally controlled plan

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries pointed out that the county doesn't have the power to reopen businesses anyway.

"For those of you who want us to reopen, and for those of us who feared that we would lift restrictions, the bottom line is we can do neither," Jeffries said.

"These restrictions come straight from Sacramento," Jeffries said.

RELATED: Riverside allows gyms, churches to utilize space at city parks for free

Meantime, Riverside County's Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser had bad news as far as COVID-19 numbers go.

"There is no good way to say it, but both our positivity rates and our case rates are still rising," Kaiser said.

Health officials say the trend has less to do with Labor Day gatherings and more to do with people not following COVID-19 guidelines.

Consequently, officials warned of the state possibly moving Riverside County away from the less restrictive red tier back to purple some time next week, meaning many businesses would once again be ordered to close.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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