Tulare County business owners excited to return to work after new vote

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Vintage Press, family-owned for 54 years, has had its doors closed since March 17th.

"The place is empty," said Co-Owner David Vartanian. "We are doing a little bit of take-out but for the most part, things are pretty much shut down."

But Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to allow small businesses within the county to reopen despite not meeting new guidelines from the state to advance to the next stage of reopening.

RELATED: Tulare County supervisors clarify that Tuesday vote means businesses can reopen

The County wants the state to grant an exemption, removing death rates from nursing facilities from the county's overall count.

Officials don't think it's fair the county be punished for factors out of its control.

"You look at what's going on with the skilled nursing facilities, the county doesn't regulate, we don't license the skilled nursing facilities," says Peter Vander Poel wth the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. "We don't even inspect the skilled nursing facilities. The state does."

"I'll feel comfortable when my suppliers will tell me, 'You know what, everybody is opening up, go ahead, do it. The governors in on it, the city's in on it, the county's in on it; the ABC's in on it,'" says Joe Vaccaro, owner of Little Italy.

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors says the county sheriff or Department of Public Health will not prosecute any businesses that choose to reopen under these new county guidelines. That will be up to the state.

Until then, restaurants like The Vintage Press will look forward to welcoming back its valued guests.

"We'll sit them in the parking lot if we have to," Vartanian said.
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