California’s Office of Emergency Services has given notice to three counties that the state will withhold disaster funding if they continue to defy Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Newsom said Thursday that Yuba, Sutter and Modoc counties have “gotten ahead of themselves” by allowing some businesses to reopen in violation of his orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comments came as the state announced criteria for counties to move into Stage 2 of its plan to allow some businesses to reopen.
On the same day he made the comments, Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services threatened the counties by promising to withhold disaster funds if they continue to stray from the state’s plan.
If a 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 Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci.
He went on to say the counties may not be eligible for reimbursement if they have a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Yuba and Sutter counties had been at 50 cases for several days, but now report 52 positive results. Modoc County has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 following 104 tests.
Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown confirmed it has received a letter.
“As always we will do what is in the best interests of the health of the community and will continue to work with the governor’s representatives to achieve a balance with his orders as we move to the next phase of reopening California’s economy,” Brown said.
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