This morning Rebecca & I headed over to the Ventura Promenade for our exercise walk & jog. Given the news of escalating restrictions around COVID, we stopped by the Ventura County fairgrounds to get tested. Out of a sense of responsibility, we do get tested routinely and understand the need for the increasing restrictions. Still, we can’t help but feel concerned for local businesses struggling to survive. It seems that they are bearing the brunt for the rest of us. But a bit more about that later.
As of yesterday, November 16, Ventura County is among 41 California Counties to have dropped back to the more restrictive Purple Tier due to the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases. Ventura County falls from the red tier to the most restrictive purple tier as numbers of positive cases that began to rise in late October leaped even higher in early November.
This escalation was noticeable at the testing site because having been there before, the number of people getting tested had increased dramatically. Though a little startling at first, their efficiency was impressive.
As of this writing, 1,046,271 people have been reported to have COVID-19 in California, and 18,306 have died. COVID activity in the county climbed to 14 cases per 100,000 people for the week ending November 10 compared to 7.9 cases per day over the last week of October. For the second week in a row, the county’s case rate fell outside of the red tier, meaning a slide into the purple tier seemed inevitable.
Under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and its four-tiered, color-coded system for reopening, the State can tighten restrictions based on emergency situations.
Here is a somewhat abbreviated list of conditions we will operate under in the Purple Tier.
• Hair salons, Nail salons, etc.: Open indoors with modifications
• Retail Stores & Malls: Open indoors at 25% capacity but food courts inside the mall are closed.
• Churches, Restaurants, Gyms, and Family Entertainment centers: Outdoor only.
• Schools: Must stay closed
• Theme Parks: Must remain closed.
There were also some new rules added Monday to the tier system dictate that:
• Counties will now move tiers after one week of increased COVID-19 cases instead of waiting two weeks.
• Some counties will move back multiple tiers if they are experiencing a significant increase.
• Businesses must shut down within 24 hours instead of 72 hours when counties move tiers.
• The State will announce tier changes twice a week, instead of once a week. The announcements will not come every Tuesday, but in real-time as necessary.
Which brings me back to my initial point.
Local businesses are naturally feeling a great deal of frustration over this latest development because they believe they are doing everything they can to follow the guidelines to keep their doors open. They’ve played by the rules but are paying the price for residents that do not. The State has blamed the spike in cases mainly on people who have grown fatigued coping with the virus and have ignored public health warnings to not socialize with friends and family members. And even with more forceful warnings in advance of Thanksgiving next week, they have seemingly been ignored. Hence the escalation to the Purple Tier.
Rebecca & I believe in masks and social distancing. Period. It’s an inconvenience, and we hate that the restrictions limit our business and threaten others that may even lose theirs. We don’t like having to “mask up” before meeting clients or when we head into the grocery store or that going out to dinner has been so compromised. We have guidelines in place handed down by the California Association of Realtors for our business, and we follow them because we want to continue to work. But even more important, we do not want to risk the welfare of our clients, friends, or family, which makes it easier for us to deal with those inconveniences. We do believe that we are all in this boat together. Which brings me to a great analogy we heard the other day.
If 10 of us were in a lifeboat and a couple decided to take their chances in the water, would it be fair if the couple started drilling holes in the boat?
We have the right to agree or disagree with what the State of California is doing, but it seems that if we want to save lives and help our local businesses survive, we need to do our part. For Rebecca & me, that means deal with the inconvenience of taking every precaution. Wear a mask-keep our distance-pay attention to the recommendations regarding social gatherings.
And finally, just a reminder. There is free Covid testing at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The people working there couldn’t be more helpful and friendly. It is well signed, well run, and extremely efficient. As I said, when we were there this morning and while operating at what appeared to be maximum numbers, we were through in about 30 minutes. We recommend getting tested for so many reasons, not the least of which, testing provides the State with more accurate information to manage the virus.