Supervisors' vote creates confusion for Tulare County businesses and cities

VISLIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero isn't happy about his fellow supervisors' decision to move through stage 3 of the state's reopening plan for businesses-without state approval.

On Thursday, Valero posted a letter on Facebook, titled, 'I Am Sorry, Tulare County.'

"I am sorry we didn't engage in or consult with our cities and communities in the process," one apology said.

Another said, "I am sorry some of my colleagues think we can bypass the state...for our money..."

This is a reference to a letter supervisors received from the state after the vote, which claims the county is at risk of losing COVID-19 disaster funding and federal recovery funds allocated by the state.

"Clearly the actions Tulare County has taken would render it and the cities within the county ineligible for this funding, as they are in direct contradiction of the state's stay-at-home order," the letter says.

That statement is becoming a growing source of concern for Tulare County cities like Tulare.

"I know a lot of the mayors are talking about what impacts did the board of supervisors' actions have on our cities?" Tulare Mayor Jose Sigala said. "(Is) there any jeopardy toward some of the funding that we sorely need? But more in particular I think, a lot of us are very disappointed that the board of supervisors, the leadership of the board did not reach out to cities."
Hours after the supervisors' vote, Tulare city councilmembers voted unanimously to continue following state and federal recommendations, telling the state in a letter that they do not plan to defy state stay at home orders, realizing it puts reimbursement funds and public health at risk.

The owner of VIP Pizza in downtown Tulare says she'll follow city rules by not reopening for dine-in, but continuing to offer take-out and delivery.

"There's a part of me that says do it," Gloria McCauslin said. "There's another part (of me that is) just concerned about it. I'm just going with what is best for the people's health."

It remains to be seen what kind of funding cities could lose as a result of the county's vote.

On Thursday, the county posted the following message listing five essential actions it said residents can do to minimize the risk of COVID-19.

Five Essential Actions are recommended to help minimize risk, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and safely maintain Tulare County's reopening efforts. It is imperative that community members continue to implement these actions through every phase of the reopening plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Social Distancing: Continue to maintain space of at least 6 feet or greater between persons; avoid gatherings of any kind; practice physical distancing.
  • Cloth Face Coverings: When outside the home, the wearing of cloth face coverings (masks) is strongly encouraged to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 if someone is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Avoid touching your face and eyes.
  • Hand Washing: Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Disinfecting Surfaces: Regularly disinfect high-traffic surfaces to prevent transmission from droplets that may have settled on surfaces or have transferred to commonly used surfaces through touch.
  • Stay Home If Sick or You Are Instructed to Isolate/Quarantine by a Medical or Public Health Professional: If you are sick or have been instructed to stay home by a medical professional, stay home. If possible, ask others to deliver needed supplies instead of going to the store. If you live with others, follow CDC guidance for caring for someone who is sick at home.

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