Just this week, San Luis Obispo County officials announced that eight specific activities were allowed to reopen under certain guidelines including houses of worship, housekeeping services and dog grooming, but some said it's not enough.
The gradual reopening has sparked both protest and support from community members across the county. Some chose to protest the restrictions outside the government center Sunday.
“People that are month-to-month, people that are trying to still be generous and pay their employees and be generous to the people that they’ve had to lay off, they are now struggling," said Nathan Glazebrook, a local grocer at the protest. "It is very concerning, the economy is going to take a long time to recover and the longer we wait, the longer it's going to be for people.”
Others said they understand people need to work in order to support families and the economy, but worry a second COVID-19 wave could hit if restrictions are lifted too soon.
“Opening up prematurely really is a catalyst for disaster," said Sandee Hunt-Burns, a San Luis Obispo resident. "Do we really want to have to do this again in a couple of months because we were too eager to get back to work?”
Last week, in a letter sent to Governor Newsom, San Luis Obispo County leaders asked that the county be allowed to "exercise local authority to implement phased reopening of our local government over the next three weeks" due to "the COVID-19 numbers and the healthcare capacity of the county."
County officials reviewed the shelter-at-home order on April 17th and extended it until at least May 16th when it will be reviewed again.
“This is not an issue about whether you are a Democrat, a Libertarian, an Independent or a Republican. These are fundamental issues as an American. Shortage of food, not being able to work when you are healthy and having censorship,” said Allison Bowen, a professor at Cuesta College who attended Sunday's protest.
According to county officials, they expect to release a plan for re-opening the economy this week.