California counties stuck in limbo as they await reopening rules from Gov. Newsom


Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared to deliver welcome news on Monday to counties that have slowed the spread of coronavirus and been removed from the state’s watchlist only to find themselves in limbo as they await his long-promised reopening rules.

The governor said counties must wait two weeks to reopen businesses after they come off the state’s list, a timeline that would allow Santa Cruz to open later this week and Placer and San Diego to follow the week after.

“There has to be a 14-day period between the application [and] implementation of not only schools but reopening any sector of the economy,” Newsom said Monday. “So, there’s no delay in that respect for these counties moving forward.”

But later an aide sought to recast Newsom’s comment and it became clear that he misspoke. The fumble only added to the confusion county officials across California are feeling about the directives — or lack thereof — coming from Sacramento since the pandemic began. While Newsom has preached the importance of local control, the state has taken the lead on California’s response and announced public health guidelines with little notice and less explanation for how counties should interpret the rules.

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