Kern County could soon begin allowing dining in restaurants and retail shopping after Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed reopening criteria Monday.

Under state guidelines, counties can move more quickly through the second stage of the governor’s four-part reopening plan if they meet certain qualifications. Kern County officials had said the state’s qualifications — which required a county to report no novel coronavirus deaths in a two week period — were too harsh.

In a letter sent Friday to the governor, the county asked Newsom to reconsider the criteria counties must meet before loosening business restrictions. The letter was endorsed by 10 hospitals and other health officials.

The letter, along with efforts by other counties, apparently caught the attention of the governor's office.

The new criteria requires counties to keep a stable hospitalization rate over a seven-day period, as well as report less than 25 cases per 100,00 residents over two weeks or report less than 8 percent of COVID-19 tests return positive results.

Shortly after the governor’s announcement, Kern County wrote on Twitter the county was positioned to meet the new criteria. The county tweeted the Board of Supervisors could vote as soon as Tuesday to approve an attestation county officials must complete in order to move forward.

The state must then approve the county’s attestation.

“It is important to note, the County still must be approved before we’re allowed to move through the phases faster,” the county wrote. “We’re optimistic that we’ll be approved, but we need the community’s help to ensure we’re following the guidelines as they’re set now so that our (numbers) continue to hold.”

If the county is successful in attaining state approval, it will be granted a regional variance, allowing dine-in at restaurants and shopping in stores. A total of 24 counties in northern California have already received variances. The governor estimated 53 of the 58 counties in the state would be able to relax restrictions under the new criteria.

The governor also mentioned that if the rate of transmission held within the state, professional sports could return in June without spectators and retail restrictions could be loosened statewide.

“The only thing that will set us back is if we move too quickly,” he added.

Local elected officials praised the governor's decision.

"Over the last several weeks, I have worked with local leaders and submitted numerous requests to the governor to make critical modifications to the stay-at-home Order. The governor's original 'one-size-fits-all' plan unfairly places Kern, Tulare, and San Bernardino counties on the same spectrum as San Francisco and Los Angeles counties," State Sen. Shannon, R-Bakersfield, said in a statement. "I want to thank the governor for making such an important modification as it is necessary to revive our local economies, support businesses, and employ Californians." 

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, encouraged Newsom to approve the local variance.

"As a representative for the southern Central Valley, I’ve experienced firsthand the struggles that rural communities are currently facing due to the pandemic. Local leaders in the communities are grappling with an increase number of unemployment, closure of businesses and limited access to health care services," she said in a statement. "To address these concerns of my constituents, I am choosing to stand behind communities of Senate District -14 who are seeking additional resources to mitigate added on challenges. Working with the four counties in my district, I’m calling on our communities to stand united during this crisis to help find solutions together in creating policies that are in line with the diversity of California."

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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(23) comments


Someone in a political blog I participate in said “The Gav” looks like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants. I thought they were stupid until I saw this picture of him. LOL

Masked 2020

chase your Hydroxychloroquine with a jigger of bleach daily and all will be good.....

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Good to see you writing your own material again, Yorkies...


Failing that, just head to your nearest pot shop and give yourself a good stoning with weed.


Hopefully you will never find yourself in a bad situation where taking hydroxychloroquine could have saved the day for you like it did for this Michigan Democrat who caught a lot of flak for that:


We have had over 500 cases in the past 14 days. ( We as a county are allowed 225 to meet criteria). We have had 255 positive tests reported in the past 7 days. We would need to have conducted about 3200 tests in the past 7 days to meet the new criteria. (450 tests/day). Not sure we are meeting these testing numbers.


"Doctor" Governor "Nuisance" knows all about diseases and cures. Thats why he was elected. He is the Corona Doctor. ooh yeah!


So now Trump is trying to blame the CDC. Trump OWNS the CDC. It's his! He's been in charge of it for 3.5 years. He appointed the Director. Red field is HIS guy.

Maybe if he had not wasted so much time on things like his stupid idioctic wall, the CDC would have been prepared.

BTW, where is that wall that so much of our tax money went into building???

You own it Trump!

I just heard he announced he's been taking hydroxycloroquine for 2 weeks. He's lying of course. 18,000 confirm lies since he took office. What's one more. I hope he is taking it. By the handfuls! Lol!


Glad you asked, Moardweeb. Feast your eyes on the progress of the wall, which is expected to span 500 miles sometime next year. Bet that will go a long way toward ensuring that folks with the Wuhan virus won’t sneak in here.


You just cant fix STUPID...And you are STUPID Moardeeb!

Inconvenient Truth

Governor Newsom (aka: "The Man who would be King") has learned his lesson: When they're going to run you out of town on a rail, get out in front of them and turn it into a parade.


Governor Newsome on the other hand is being heralded around the world for his quick action and saving thousands of lives.

Y'all head out there. I'll be watching movies, playing cards, cooking delish meals, paying with the dog. You can be my guinea pigs, we'll see how it goes. Party on!

Independent Voter

LOL! Governor Newsom owns Los Angeles. How is that hot mess working out? Besides, it's pretty clear The Guv is caving with looming lawsuits threatening to tear away his draconian orders. Perhaps the light can finally be seen at the end of the tunnel, closing this very dark, ugly chapter in American history. Unfortunately, it has taken too long for both the courts and a gullible electorate to recognize the damage done.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Your "Guv" is now groveling at the feet of POTUS trying to get the Feds to bail this failed "nation state" out of the red ink he put us in.

But don't mention that part Dweeb...

OBTW- heading out of my house now- I'll think about your hiding under your dining room table...

Independent Voter

We should head out, Gene, and dine at Riverwalk Park - sitting perhaps three feet from one another. When done, let's tear the caution tape off the playground and happily slide down the slides, passing our hands deliberately over the plastic and metal. After that, we can heartily shake the hands of friendly passersby and chat about cancelled plans and missed vacation trips. Then we can attend a local face mask burning outside the Sully's on Buena Vista... Later, we can enjoy some tasty Dewar's milkshakes - again, to go, of course - while laughing about Dweeb in his parent's basement! And we'll go home having avoided the evil Corona - because we WASH OUR HANDS. Repeatedly. Simple hygiene. That's the secret. Most people already social distance - I make it a point to avoid hovering about in the face's of others. I don't go out sick, sneeze or cough on others. I have been known, however, to pass gas in mixed company, but all in good fun.


The Florida’s and Texases better not bail out California. The Democrats in this state made their beds. Now they should stew in the mess of their own making and ponder the wisdom of the high-speed rail.


Poor ‘deeb, you can’t even spell your hero’s name right. It is Newsom, not Newsome. Heralded around the world? Maybe in your dreams but not in reality. Did you know that it has been proven that the first Covid-19 death in Cali was in the San Fran area back in late Dec ‘19. And your “boy” knew about it, but didn’t act in any capacity until roughly 2 1/2 months later. Quick action, I think not. But you keep on singing that tired song.

Independent Voter

I had read a bit earlier - wondered if anyone else had heard - that the Guv spent some time in Montana recently getting fitted for a new cowboy hat. Is that true? First off, we filthy valley dwellers are NOT welcome at the beach per San Luis Obispo county orders - but The Guv can dash off to Montana? We are constantly reminded to wear masks and social distance - but I have yet to see The Guv in a mask. Do you think The Guv social-distanced while being fitted for his new hat? Elitism in action. Do as I say, not as I do. By the way, the folks in San Luis Obispo says we San Joaquin Valley residents are "covidiots". No joke. Look for it at San Luis


And yet SLO hotels are campaigning hard for CV residents to come to the beach. Not sure who the bigger ‘covidiot’ is in this case...


Guess the SLO wimps don’t want valley folks kicking sand in their faces at the beach, not with the Wuhan virus in their midst.


P.S. I can see why liberal control freaks don’t want others doing anything other than provide them with the essentials like making movies or playing cards, growing things to make delish lunches with or producing items to pamper their pooches with, and in the case of Nancy Pelosi, stuffing her fancy fridge with gourmet ice cream bars. Nice things for me, they say, but not for thee!


Does phase 2 end lines outside stores where many still can’t figure out how to stand on a piece of tape?

Independent Voter

Probably not, Bako, but WE sure can if we choose to...

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