As California businesses gradually reopen, OC official urges faster action

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel says healthy people who are low risk should be allowed to go back to work and pay their bills.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Some Orange County businesses are getting ready to open Friday under Gov. Gavin Newsom's Stage 2 guidelines.

Those include clothing retailers, sporting goods stores, florists - businesses that were not considered essential, but are low risk.

But some Orange County leaders believe it's too little, too late.

"We in Orange County lost 13,200 jobs in March only," said Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel. "It is because of this drastic increase in unemployment, that we must begin the process of safely allowing businesses to reopen."

Steel says healthy people who are low risk should be allowed to go back to work and pay their bills.

Orange County beaches allowed to reopen for active recreation
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All Orange County beaches operated by the county were allowed to reopen effective Thursday for "active recreational use," officials said.

Newsom says certain counties may be able to reopen faster if they can achieve certain milestones.

"If they can't meet it on the basis of data and facts, on trend lines, on hospitalizations, on ICU data, on death data and positive data, then we're not able to accommodate that," Newsom during a briefing on the coronavirus.

As of Thursday, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick says the county doesn't meet all of the criteria just yet. For instance, one mark is no COVID-19-related deaths in the last 14 days.

"We will be looking at those benchmarks and working towards those every day and so that is sort of a rolling goal," Quick said.

But County Executive Officer Frank Kim believes there are unique conditions and circumstances in the county proven with local data, like the hospitalization rate of everyday residents, compared to those who live closely with others in skilled nursing homes, jails and homeless shelters.

"We absolutely would like to expedite our movement into Stage 2 sooner and we absolutely will be making that argument to the state," Kim said.
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