Will Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County Go “Rogue” on state Covid-19 Public Health Orders?

A recent posting on social media from a local newsletter, MP Mono County Weekly, there were startling revelations made under the headline: Mammoth Lodging and Restaurants Propose Reopening Plans Despite State Health Orders.  The implications as reported by the local journalist, Monica Prelle, are that Town Manager Dan Holler and Mayor Bill Sauser are working with local businesses on an unwritten agreement, or “handshake” deal for non-enforcement of state mandates.

If the report is true (and it appears that it is), there may be serious issues of legal jeopardy involved, including negligence, and possibly civil liability for both business owners and the Town of Mammoth, and Mono County should any serious illnesses or deaths result without some protection from the state. And there are also serious implications for all the counties and communities surrounding Mono County, especially Inyo County, which does not appear to have been consulted and does not appear supportive of the idea.

Sierra Wave News sent a message to the town manager and council members in Mammoth Lakes. One county official said that the description of what happened in “the reporting is solid” and went on to say that “This is an extremely difficult situation, no good options The Town has been very supportive of public health efforts to control pandemic virus transmission to date, but the leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to withstand pressure from furious business owners.”

Sierra Wave did hear back from Town Manager Dan Holler. He sent us two attachments:  A copy of the letter to the governor to change the Stay at Home Order’s regional status of Mono County and another separate letter on TOML and Mono County’s request for modification of the current restrictions imposed under the Order for businesses. It is a respectful and well-written letter.

Many local TOML and Mono County business owners feel that they cannot take it anymore and are on the verge of losing their businesses. They are angry and scared. There’s also some resentment that Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort is allowed to open, and according to several local residents, not exactly following all the rules. Another irritation is that  businesses considered “essential services” that have been allowed to stay open such as hardware stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and so on, are not necessarily any more capable than the smaller businesses to enforce health orders.

Local politicians are caught between a rock and a hard place. They have to balance the needs of many against the needs of a few…a few that just happen to hold a lot of clout when it comes to political support.

The timing of making the recent request for relief from the state could not be worse. California is under a state-wide siege from the pandemic. Record numbers of COVID-19 cases and increasing deaths are being broken daily, including locally.

Again, it does not appear that Mono County has consultation with Inyo County (or other surrounding counties) on what they have proposed to Gov. Newsom. Any experiment, with or without the rules being changed for Mono County, will have a seriously negative impact on Inyo County and other surrounding counties. Inyo County just reported an increase of 65 positive COVID-19 cases just last Friday. Mono County’s numbers have been regularly increasing as well.

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Bishop Plaza
Bishop Plaza
1 year ago

Outdoor dining saves lives. When the gov closes outdoor dining people get together indoors and spread Covid19…. Keep our businesses open!!!

Oldtimer
Oldtimer
1 year ago
Reply to  Bishop Plaza

Or….folks could learn to cook….
And if they are that socially dependent all cook the same thing and watch each other eat via zoom

Stewart
Stewart
1 year ago

Open your restaurants, kill your residents. A person dies yes dies of covid every 6 minutes in LA county. You want to open up lodging and restaurants with that type of spread going on with your biggest fan base?? The mayor and any one else included in this rogue move… Read more »

sugarmags
sugarmags
1 year ago

other states are providing pie charts showing ‘potential infection locations’ by type of establishment. Why don’t we have that here in California? Let’s keep places closed that have high transmission rates, based on factual data, and open others. Where is this inforamation? Why isn’t it being shared??? We know they… Read more »

Noam
Noam
1 year ago

It’s simple. The state needs to pay businesses who are losing money because they are forced to stay closed or operate in a limited fashion. It won’t be cheap but it will save both lives and our locally-owned, small businesses.

David Dennison
David Dennison
1 year ago
Reply to  Noam

Noam My opinion on your above statement,maybe in some cases,but not all. I know if it came down to “saving my life”,as you put it,or living on the street,with the money I do have I’d take a trip to Home Depot and buy myself a lawnmower,a weed-wacker and a rake….and… Read more »

HellForSure
HellForSure
1 year ago

H*ll no!! So now we just give in to screaming business whose whole survival is based on travel from over 300 miles? All season long, you made your money and now for one winter, you can’t adapt or see the writing on the wall. Meanwhile So Cal is spiraling out… Read more »

Pam Mitchell
Pam Mitchell
1 year ago

The suggestions in the responses to this article – and the “handshake deal” for non-enforcement of state mandates. between the Mammoth Lakes Town Manager, the Mayor, and local businesses – guarantees more spread of covid – locally in Mammoth and Bishop, and in southern California. Since summer, tourists and locals… Read more »

Tinner
Tinner
1 year ago

I was thinking of how we can safely open small businesses in Mammoth and Mono County and the song “Let It Flow” written by Run-D.M.C. (covered by Beastie Boys) came to mind. “Let it flow, let yourself go Slow and low, that is the tempo Let it flow, let yourself… Read more »

David Dennison
David Dennison
1 year ago
Reply to  Tinner

Tinner Problem with that is,many people lack the common sense to “let it flow”. And it seems especially the crowds of visitors that come up from the south And that is where the vast majority of COVID cases in the whole Country are being recorded. So let’s hope they don’t… Read more »

Tinner
Tinner
1 year ago
Reply to  David Dennison

David, let business FLOW, give business owners the credit they deserve to run their business safely. I hope you’re not referring to business owners of not having common sense. Let the fear GO, the only thing a business owner fears more than spreading this virus is losing their business, laying… Read more »

David Dennison
David Dennison
1 year ago
Reply to  Tinner

Tinner As a matter of fact,I am talking of some business owners lacking common sense,as well as making “political statements” and ignoring safety for those going into their establishments or business.. In my town,I can think of two,not mentioning names,that not only allow customers to enter and do business without… Read more »

Tinner
Tinner
1 year ago
Reply to  David Dennison

David, not sure what town you live in but I haven’t see anyone inside any business without a mask in Bishop or Mammoth in roughly 9 or 10 months. Also unsure of how many pizza joints there are in Big Pine but well aware of how big Big Pine is.… Read more »

Mono Person
Mono Person
1 year ago

They finally grew a pair!!! Doing the same thing for 9 months and not changing the dial at all!! Let’s try it!

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

Shutting down business in Los Angeles clearly isn’t stopping the spread. Bureaucrats are in the ear of politicians. It’s easy for people to say “shut it down!” when you are not on the brink. These financial repercussions will affect people for the rest of their lives. Bankruptcy and ruined credit.… Read more »