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California Threatens Disaster Funding Of County That Voted To Reopen

   DailyWire.com
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Several hours after Tulare County voted 3-2 in favor of allowing businesses to reopen ahead of the state public health guidelines, the California Office of Emergency Services threatened to pull millions of dollars in disaster funding for defying the governor.

In a letter sent Tuesday evening, the office said that Tulare County’s actions were endangering public health and could signal that disaster funding was no longer required, reports The Visalia Times Delta.

“These problematic and concerning actions jeopardize public health and safety, not only within the county, but beyond, through community contact and spread,” said the governor’s office of emergency services in the letter.

“If Tulare County believes there is no emergency, such that it can ignore the Governor’s Executive Orders or the State Public Health Officer’s directives, the county would not be able to demonstrate that it was extraordinarily and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” wrote the office, noting that the move “could jeopardize” Tulare County’s disaster funding.

The decision to skip into phase three of the governor’s reopening plan means that Tulare County voted to resume life in “higher risk workplaces,” such as hair salons, gyms, and churches, in defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s public health order.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Newsom singled out Tulare County, which has a population of over 400,000 people, as an example of one of the five counties not allowed to go deeper into stage two of the reopening plan. A database operated by the Times shows that Tulare County has had 1,552 confirmed coronavirus cases, which the news agency notes is one of the highest infection rates for any county in the state.

ABC-30 reports that Tulare County has also not passed the state mandate requiring counties to have less than an 8% positive test rate for a week, even after factoring out “skilled nursing facilities.” The Times notes that Newsom recently cited these facilities as an example of why Tulare County was one of the five California counties not allowed to proceed into stage two of the governor’s reopening plan.

“I don’t want to be a county or one of two counties that the governor can actually mention in a press conference as being one that’s going to be restricted,” said Supervisor Pete Vander Poel, reports ABC-30.

“I mean, we have communities that live right on the border,” said Supervisor Kuyler Crocker. “You live on one side of the road, you can’t do that. But I’m going to drive across the street and I can do that, so how is that keeping our county safe? It’s not.”

While the governor has long maintained that the California public health guidance supersedes county directives, he has largely declined to take action against counties that defy his order, opting instead to publicly shame them for reopening.

“They’re making a big mistake, they’re putting their public at risk. They’re putting our progress at risk,” Newsom said in early May, in reference to Sutter and Yuba counties moving ahead of state orders. “The overwhelming majority of Californians are playing by the rules, doing the right thing.”

But as The Daily Wire previously reported, state regulatory agencies were also targeting individual businesses in early May for operating outside public health guidelines. These agencies included the California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, which reportedly visited individual restaurants in the Sutter and Yuba counties and threatened to pull their liquor licenses for resuming dine-in services, and the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, which threatened to “pursue disciplinary action” against barbers and salons defying public health orders.

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