YUBA CITY (KPIX 5) — A couple of Northern California regions started encouraging businesses to reopen earlier this week after health officials presiding over the Sutter and Yuba counties area set their own guidelines that gave more businesses greater flexibility.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Yuba City (which, surprisingly, is actually in Sutter County) could be called the capital of this small insurrection against California’s virus strategy. But as some business owners have found, it is not complete freedom from Sacramento.
“I’m treating our governor as King Newsom now,” said Henry Stueve. “And he sent the redcoats to my front door.”
Stueve tried serving alcohol on-site for all of one day at Krankin Hank’s Sports Bar and Grill when he got a visit from state ABC agents.
“They said, ‘We will remove your license from you and then you won’t have it back,'” explained Stueve. “And that’s a death kill to a sports bar.”
Also targeted by California regulators this week were a number of Yuba City salons.
Earlier this week, Gov. Newsom criticized the move by the two renegade counties, saying they were “making a big mistake” and endangering public health.
Yuba County is far less densely populated than other parts of California hand thus far has only seen a small number of COVID-19 cases. With over 2,000 residents tested as of Thursday, there have only been 51 total coronavirus cases and three deaths in the county.
“The biggest difference between us and them is I’m not licensed through the state,” explains Jake Hunter. “All my licensing is through the county. So if the county tells me it’s OK…”
Jake Hunter’s Heart & Soul Tattoo Parlor is open. It is operating within the county’s new rules and that’s good enough for him.
“I think it’s really cool of our community that we’re kind of taking that first step forward,” Hunter said. “But also I want to be part of the solutions.”
“We have our safety distancing marks set up,” said Tiffany Heryford, owner of Creative Interiors, Etc. “We’re trying to only allow four customers in the store at one time.”
Heryford doesn’t feel defiant. She says this is about being sensible.
“I think the shut down was right,” said Heryford. “But for our area, it was also right to start opening.”
The sentiment was much the same at the diner down the street.
“I just feel like the data doesn’t show that we ought to be closed,” one gentleman said while having a late lunch. “And people have been suffering. Small businesses have really suffered.”
One after another people here offered similar thoughts. They say they have considered the risk, and chosen to get to work. Not so much to spite the governor, but to do what they think is right.
“I think that’s where we’re at,” said Stueve. “Let people choose.”