PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — Placer County reached a sought-after benchmark this week. The county was taken off the state’s watch list, meaning schools can reopen if they stay off the list for 14 days.
But many were surprised to learn that doesn’t apply to businesses.
There is no estimated time for businesses that were ordered to shut down indoor operations to fully reopen because the governor’s order has not been updated since July 13. That order outlined reopening options for schools, but not businesses.
When employees at The Place in Roseville heard Placer County was removed from the watch list, they were excited and ready to get people back inside. Customers were also excited and calling to make indoor reservations, but then they learned the watch list meant nothing for them.
Falling off the county watch list is giving many residents emotional whiplash as Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson shared the good news at a board meeting on Tuesday, immediately followed by the bad news.
The state’s website clearly states once a county appears on the list indoor operations shall remain closed even when a county is removed.
Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler said he was extremely disappointed to learn businesses would not be able to reopen.
“We knew that, unfortunately, it would be meaningless for our businesses. Now, what we’ve had to deal with is all of the businesses saying, what about us? And we agree. We want our businesses open,” Uhler said.
Dr. Sisson told the board on Tuesday she’s been lobbying the California Department of Public Health to allow businesses to reopen along with schools after the county has been off the list for 14 days. She noted that otherwise there is little incentive for people to actually follow the health orders.
Placer County is not alone. San Diego, Santa Cruz and Calaveras counties are all in the same situation, off the watch list with no timeline for reopening.
“You’re on the watch list, which means you’ve done something bad. You’re off the watch list, which doesn’t mean anything good. What’s the point of the watch list?” Uhler said.
On Monday, the state’s website said they would provide updates in the coming week, but when we reached out again on Friday, they specified in the coming weeks, adding they are “actively reassessing the July 13 order in light of evolving scientific evidence regarding disease transmission.”