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Officials say Kern County may stay on tier list until 2021

Posted at 4:47 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 12:49:01-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With things changing daily it's hard to know what businesses have the approval to reopen indoors, outdoors, or even reopen at all. Monday, county officials reacted to the new guidelines outlined by Governor Newsom last week.

County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said he expects the County to be on one tier or another into 2021 and likely into 2022. He also said the new tier system will be a slow and stringent process.

"There are some positive things about some of the changes that were made. There are also some concerning things about some of the changes that were made," said Alsop. "Given where we are we are quite a long way away from hitting and being able to get into the orange tier in likely months."

Businesses such as salons, barbershops, malls, and libraries were allowed to reopen indoors with modifications and a maximum capacity of 25%. However, bars must still remain closed and cannot operate indoors or outdoors and restaurants, gyms, and nail salons may only continue to operate outdoors.

"I don't personally understand why hair and barbershops may resume indoors activities. Obviously they've got a set of guidance. I don't understand why nail salons can't do the same," questioned Alsop. "Seems to me that there are a variety of protocols that nail salons have put in place that are effective in separating people from one another, public health best practices. I just don't know."

Under the guidelines, counties must wait 21 days before moving between tiers and must meet qualifications for the next tier for two straight weeks in order to move.

Alsop also addressed if Kern County residents should be prepared to be in one tier or another until next year, and his answer was simple, yes. He said the pathways for purple counties to get to the lowest tier is a long process.

"It's also quite possible there could be announcements made that dial back, dial us all back a bit or slow us down even more than they currently are. Relative to getting into the flu season and where we will be with as a state with COVID numbers in the weeks and months ahead. So, to answer your question, yes 2021 into 2022 likely."

The state created a website to provide "Industry Guidance to Reduce Risk" as well as a "Blueprint for a Safer Economy."