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SLO County: Phase 1 of reopening plan can't begin Friday without local control from state

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Posted at 6:51 PM, May 05, 2020

San Luis Obispo County says it won't be able to begin implementation of its START Guide on Friday, even after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would likely move into Stage 2 of its reopening plan.

The START Guide is the county's three-phased approach to allow businesses to reopen and other activities to resume.

The county says it cannot implement this plan until the following three things occur:

  1. The state lifts or modifies its shelter-at-home order
  2. The state allows for local control
  3. The county issues another executive order moving to Phase 1

County officials say the state has not yet afforded local control, even with its announcement for "regional variation" to reopening on Friday.

"It's unclear whether the State will give us the latitude to move forward in our own measured way with the approach outlined in our START Guide," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Public Health Officer. "This is very disappointing because our community is ready to move forward. We continue to advocate and plan for local control and will revise our START Guide, as promised."

Gov. Newsom said Monday that retail business would be allowed to open with curbside delivery beginning as soon as this Friday.

However, county officials say it's unclear if San Luis Obispo County will be allowed to go further.

"We had hoped we could enter our START Guide's Phase 1 to allow for more openings, namely faith-based services, salons, and parts of our gyms, but we can't do that yet," Borenstein said. "We will continue to reconcile our Executive Order with the State's proposed plan and actions as more details become available."

"We appreciate the State's efforts to move toward reopening, but we would like authorization to move forward with our approach as outlined in the START Guide," said County Administrative Officer and Emergency Services Director Wade Horton.

Gov. Newsom is expected to release more details about the state's reopening protocols on Thursday.