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Sonoma County looks to further pass Phase 2

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SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Sonoma County is already in phase two of reopening but officials are now looking to go further.

That would include opening up more businesses that includes wineries, hotels and outdoor seating at restaurants.

But the county has to get permission from the state first.

Sonoma County has not met all the criteria for moving past the state’s timeline, but county leaders believe the science proves otherwise.

18 counties in California got the green light from Governor Gavin Newsom to further ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Sonoma County is hoping to make that list.

“The criteria is not developed by a scientist or doctor in the CDC, it’s developed by the state and the governor is basically trying to accommodate a lot of very diverse counties,” Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane said.

According to the governor, two of the criteria to move the past the state’s timeline include: no deaths from COVID-19 in two weeks and just one new case per 10,000 people for two weeks.

While the county has not met those criteria, Zane believes a request to further relax restrictions is reasonable because Sonoma County’s infection rate remains low.

“We also felt like that we’ve been so conservative in terms of our approach and keeping sheltering in place and closing down our businesses and we had very few infections because of it,” Zane said.

Last week, Sonoma County implemented Phase 2 of the state’s guidelines, allowing retail businesses to reopen but for curbside pickup only.

Supervisor Zane plans to ask the state’s permission to reopen manufacturing primarily at wineries, as well as tasting rooms and small hotels, and outdoor seating at restaurants.

Tre Coles worked at a tasting room downtown that is currently closed.

What he’s looking forward to:

“Going back to work,” he said.

But Sonoma resident Ally May is concerned about the county’s request to reopen additional businesses.

“I think as soon as we open it back up, the tourists are going to come back and that’s going to bring a lot more opportunity to our small community to be exposed to the virus,” May said.

Supervisor Zane says the mandates will stay the same.

“We have to practice social distancing, no large events and to be really really careful but we feel we can do that,” she said.

The County Board of Supervisors will meet Monday to decide if they will send a letter of support to Governor Newsom.

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