The Clovis Chamber of Commerce hosted its Wake Up Clovis webinar Wednesday morning with special guest Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, who fielded questions from county residents about the impact that COVID-19 and the state’s stay-at-home orders have been having on small businesses.
Falina Mariheart, owner of 13 Prime Steakhouse located in Clovis, asked Magsig when he thought that restaurants would be able to open back up and resume normal business operations.
“We want restaurants to open now,” Magsig said.
Magsig said that he had met with the California Restaurants Association’s local chapter several weeks ago and worked with them to put plans together to protect employees at restaurants and customers who want to dine inside eventually.
He said that the Fresno County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom requesting more local control over regulations.
“The plan that was put together was very reasonable. Our health officer believes it’s reasonable and when we submit our plans this week back to the state, that will be part of our attestation on why restaurants should be allowed to open,” Magsig said.
“Really at the local level in Fresno County we are working to open up as many businesses as we can.”
The answer reflects a general tone of frustration Magsig had with the strict criteria that counties are required to adhere to in order to reopen sectors of the economy faster than the state does as a whole.
Those criteria include observing metrics including number of hospitalizations and the number of people being treated in ICUs for COVID-19.
Magsig also pointed out that the county especially needs to worry about those with underlying health conditions and senior citizens that are more at risk of complications from COVID-19.
Magsig said that there are 16 people currently in ICU in the county, with the youngest death being a person in their early 50’s who had underlying health conditions, while the majority of the rest were people in their 80s, also with health conditions.
“If we have the surge capacity of our hospitals, the state needs to give us the ability to open up more sectors of our businesses,” Magsig said. “I believe it is most appropriate for those orders and rules to be at the local level.”