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

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday on a plan that would allow businesses to reopen earlier than allowed by the state.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday on a plan that would allow businesses to reopen earlier than allowed by the state.

According to the Press Enterprise, the plan would allow shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses to resume indoor operations as soon as Wednesday -- without restrictions for how many people can be inside.

However, it's not clear whether businesses would be required to enforce rules for masks and physical distancing.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has not publicly addressed the situation. But in May, he threatened to pull disaster funding from counties that open in defiance of state orders.

The California Department of Public Health updated the county's current tier standing last week, and though the county remains in the most restrictive -- purple -- tier under the governor's "Blueprint for a Safer Economy'' guidelines, it will qualify for the red tier if case rates hold at or below current thresholds. That would mean additional businesses would be permitted to reopen.

According to the latest data, the county has averaged 5.8 cases a day per 100,000 population in the past week, but because COVID-19 testing volumes are below the state median required for a large county, Riverside County has been given an "adjusted rate'' of 6.7. That still puts the county below the 7-per-100,000 level needed for tier reassignment. What's more, the testing positivity rate is now 6.4%, below the 8% threshold for re-assignment.

"We must meet the metrics for the red tier for two weeks before the state will move us into the red tier,'' Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service on Tuesday.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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