By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
As we approach the fall months, we find ourselves still faced with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 virus. It has been months since the original and sudden mandatory shelter at home order. Businesses that were deemed essential were less affected and continued to do business. Those businesses that were ordered to close were much more affected, and after months we have seen many businesses close permanently. Other businesses remain in a holding pattern or have been able to modify their operations enough to continue. The difficult part for many businesses is the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds.
The proclamation of emergency remains in place at the county level, however, most decisions related to COVID-19 are made by the Governor. Our hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 patients remains manageable. Of the 18 total deaths, 13 were 85 years old or older, 3 were 65 years or older, and all were over 50 and had underlying medical conditions.
San Luis Obispo County is following the State’s Resilience Roadmap for reopening businesses and schools and we are currently in stage 2. The Governor also has a list of six criteria that determine which businesses the counties are allowed to keep open. San Luis Obispo County was placed on the County Monitoring list by the State on July 16th based on the number of cases per population, which is one of the six criteria. That resulted in some businesses that had been allowed to reopen having to either close again or modify to operate outdoors only.
As your County Supervisor, I have been in contact with many constituents who have questions or need resources. The Board of Supervisors is still meeting to take care of the business of permitting projects, approving contracts for county services, addressing budget issues, and performing other duties of the Board. Most of the decisions that are made regarding COVID-19 fall under the authority of Dr. Penny Borenstein, the County’s Public Health Officer. The County continues to provide up to date information on the Readyslo.org website. Information specific to businesses or schools can be found at sloemergency.org.
This time of year is usually bustling with children of all ages preparing to go back to school. This year the Atascadero Unified School District is starting the school year with distance learning, which will result in less activity downtown. I get a lot of questions about when children in this county will be allowed to go back to school.
The State allows local health officers to grant a waiver to allow elementary schools to reopen in-person instruction under certain conditions. Information on which schools are open for in-person learning or when schools can expect to resume in-person learning can also be found at emergencyslo.org.
Fire season is well underway, and we have seen several fires in the North County.
My thanks to all the firefighting agencies who are working hard to keep the County safe.
I urge everyone to support the local businesses and non-profits who are struggling to comply with COVID-19 mandates while continuing to provide a service. Please do not hesitate to call my office if you need information or assistance.
It is an honor to represent the 5th District,
5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
Debbie Arnold moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, she fell in love with both her husband, Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than 5 generations. While raising two children, she owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years. She then had the privilege of advocating for local families as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate. During these years, she worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. Debbie Arnold now serves as the 5th District Supervisor for San Luis Obispo County.