BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Mayor Dave Noerr of Taft held a special City Council meeting Monday evening to discuss expanding the cities essential business list. The mayor telling 23ABC he wants to bring a sense of normalcy back to the community and help with financial distress on small businesses.
“I believe it is time. I believe we have learned enough about social distancing, about PPE, about additional hygiene, disinfecting... that we can take those lessons that we’ve learned and we can apply them to modify their businesses plan to build a hybrid businesses plan,” said Noerr.
The online meeting is the city’s first time addressing the issue of reopening businesses. Gyms, barber shops and hair salons are some of the businesses being considered by City Council to reopen as early as next week.
The council members stressing their belief that the non-essential list of businesses are some of the most financially vulnerable. Adding the closures have also had an impact on residents personal and mental health.
“We’re talking about people going into depression. Asking for medicine from care takers. We need to address those things and I think we can do this in a responsible manner. I think it’s time,” said Noerr.
During public comment various opinions from residents about how and when to safely reopen the city were read out loud by various members of council. Some stating it’s too soon to reopen and other saying the city is ready.
In the end, City Council unanimously agreed it was necessary to begin putting measures in place to reopen businesses. They will be sending a letter to the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Vince Fong and Congressman Kevin McCarthy among other officials requesting their help.
The Mayor said he wants residents to have a choice.
“If that business opens and you as patron of that business say, “I’m still not comfortable going into public, even if I wear something over my mouth and nose or if that person providing the service wears gloves...” well that's okay because you will now have that choice,” said Noerr.
The move would come with guidelines such as social distancing and personal protective equipment.