Inyo County Supes & Bishop City Council Want More Local Control in Covid-19 Restrictions

Inyo County and the City of Bishop officials want more “local determination” in restrictions as applied to local businesses

Both the Inyo County Board of Supervisors and Bishop City Council are trying very hard to regain some local control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a glimmer of hope as cases stabilized state-wide. But case numbers ratcheted up dramatically and Governor Gavin Newsom reversed his decision to roll-back restrictions. So, we’re back where we were a less than a month ago. The Board and City Council are hoping Newsom’s commitment to “local determination” can be applied to local businesses in Inyo.

The first move, Tuesday, was a resolution by the Supervisors to ease the process for local shops and particularly restaurants to conduct business outdoors. Normally, a Conditional Use Permit would be required, but with the unanimous approval of the Board, restaurants can set up eating areas outdoors on property owned by the business or with the permission of the landowner.

County Counsel Marshall Rudolph’s explanation: the enforcing codes are discretionary, to an extent. There is no change in the regulations, we’re just choosing to exercise our discretion.”

On Thursday, the Board approved a request to the California Departments of Public Health and Health & Human Services to allow Inyo County to exercise its local determination over business openings and closures. Bishop City Council also met Thursday morning to approve a similar letter to Newsom and State Senator Andreas Borgeas.

“We want to use our own metrics to determine what we do,” was Inyo’s HHS Director Marilyn Mann’s explanation. One of the metrics Inyo identified during the attestation process was five unrelated cases in a week would generate a pause in the County’s opening procedures. That number, in essence, would indicate a broader community spread.

While the number of cases has risen to 41 (now 42, as of July 23), that specific metric has not been reached. In addition, staff maintained there is an increase in compliance with required masks and social distancing. The County is logging complaints and reaching out to businesses. “There are civil or criminal options,” said Meagan McCamman, HHS’s assistant director, “though we don’t want to go down that path.”

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Scott Pfuhl
Scott Pfuhl
2 years ago

Schools should remain closed during this pandemic. Opening them is a death sentence for anyone with a compromised immune system.

Frankly, I don't trust them
Frankly, I don't trust them
2 years ago

Wouldn’t the state and the public need to have some confidence and trust that the county is a reliable partner in enforcing the health protocols in order to allow them authority to make local decisions? So far, it appears that the health officer and the health department in Inyo County… Read more »

JKB
JKB
2 years ago

Remember in the beginning the advice for a long time from the experts was to not wear masks? Village Witch, just put big signs out on both ends of town saying ‘Keep Moving,You Are Not Welcome In Bishop’ People believe that when a gas station and store is open that… Read more »

Charles James
2 years ago
Reply to  JKB

There are two things that argue against following your advice: 1) Wearing masks was ‘deliberately discouraged’ at the beginning of the pandemic to make sure that vital medical personnel had access to them as they were in very short supply. The CDC and other medical authorities have admitted as much.… Read more »

VillageWitch
VillageWitch
2 years ago

Charles, thank you for the article.

Good bye
Good bye
2 years ago
Reply to  VillageWitch

I would love to help you with the signs. Let’s get this done!!>

VillageWitch
VillageWitch
2 years ago

JKB, you act like I’m not already implementing these precautions. I never would consider going to Schats, let alone during a pandemic. I always wear a mask and gloves when out. I haven’t been to Mammoth in months! You mean you think, not “know” that most tourists are passing through… Read more »

Charles James
2 years ago
Reply to  VillageWitch

VillageWitch, thank you for your comments. Just a note on use of gloves when out. You might find this article interesting: Should You Be Wearing Gloves During COVID-19? The recent general advice appears to be to not wear gloves. In the end the choice is always yours based on your… Read more »

JKB
JKB
2 years ago

Maybe ; do not go into town except to grocery shop early , wear a mask and gloves, do not go to Schats right now when tourists are lined up, protect yourself, stay away from Airbnb rental next door-they will leave, stay away from locals unwilling to wear a mask,you… Read more »

Earl Duran
Earl Duran
2 years ago

Shut down Mammoth for at least 14 days. 395 has been no stop from Pearsonville to Bishop all week.

eric h.
eric h.
2 years ago

Just drove by the guest house next to Schats and there was a large group all packed together, if you want local control you might want to show you are capable of making responsible decisions.

eric h.
eric h.
2 years ago
Reply to  eric h.

Sorry, I forgot to mention I didn’t see a single mask.

VillageWitch
VillageWitch
2 years ago

What a sad community we live in when our leaders and council members are more concerned about the almighty dollar then the health, safety and lives of the residents. We will remember this come Election Day! Main Street looked like fishing opener today. The line at Schats bakkery wrapped around… Read more »

big dice mcgee
big dice mcgee
2 years ago

There were three responses but Inyo can’t handle facts

Art La Cues
Art La Cues
2 years ago

I agree with Harold. The local governmental agencies are weak and will cave to political and economic pressure to re-open recklessly regardless of public health concerns.. I hope the state puts its foot down and says NO!

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
2 years ago

The “one size fits all” approach of the first “closure” failed in many respects, not the least of which was the insanity of an open highway with almost every public toilet in this part of the county closed. Common sense should have been dictated by the fact that thousands of… Read more »

Harold
Harold
2 years ago

Because they’ve done such a stellar job? No faith in any of them to do what’s right.

Whatever
Whatever
2 years ago
Reply to  Harold

It is oh-so-easy so be a critic. Fun fact – no one’s ever dealt with a pandemic before. I think they’re doing the best they can to protect residents and businesses given the circumstances, and moreover, given their control over anything outside of Inyo County. Let’s hear some of your… Read more »