By Elizabeth Klinge

FOLSOM (CBS13) — Businesses in Folsom are demanding a change in coronavirus restrictions. They say some pandemic protection measures are giving an unfair advantage to neighboring cities, and now their customers are being forced to cross county lines.

The candy store John Snook founded more than 50 years ago is just one of the Folsom businesses trying to cope with COVID-19 restrictions that are not in effect in neighboring El Dorado County.

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All of Sacramento County, including Folsom, remains in the most restrictive “purple” category with El Dorado is in “orange,” two tiers lower.

“It’s unfair,” Snook said.

Rosario Rodriguez’s restaurant, Sutter Street Taqueria, has reduced staff and she’s forecasting a $200,000 loss in revenue by year’s end.

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“Folsom has had very low covid impact yet here we are closed or limited to open our businesses,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t operate my business as a hobby, I need to be able to make money.”

Now Folsom’s Chamber of Commerce sent a letter asking health officers for more precise pandemic protection tiers based on the number of cases in communities, instead of county by county.

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“I would love the state to be able to move to a zip code level so we can get places like Folsom open,” Rodriguez said.

Sacramento County currently lists the number of coronavirus cases by zip code, and Folsom has some of the lowest for an urban area.

See the number of cases in Sacramento County by ZIP code.

Moving into a lower tier would allow the city to reopen movie theaters, indoor gyms and indoor dining at reduced capacities, which El Dorado County has been allowed to do for weeks.

“That would eliminate a competitive disadvantage that’s happening today,” John Gagliardi, CEO of the Greater Folsom Partnership, said.

It’s something they want to happen before the busy holiday season when dining outside in the cold weather is longer feasible.

“The fourth quarter of the year is where we generate a big chunk of our money,” Rodriguez said.

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The Chamber of Commerce says some local politicians support their efforts, but the current restrictions are set by the governor’s emergency order, and any changes would have to be made on a statewide level.

Elizabeth Klinge