Historical & Unprecedented Times

By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

As we move into the summer season, I think we can all agree spring this year was not at all normal. We have been living through historical and unprecedented times. On March 17, the County Board of Supervisors voted to ratify a proclamation of emergency based on the prediction that the Covid-19 virus would hit our County and create a devastating health crisis. That proclamation gave our County Health Officer, Dr. Penny Borenstein, and our County Emergency Services Director, Wade Horton, the authority to enact a Shelter at Home order designed to prevent the spread of disease. A day after San Luis Obispo County enacted the order, Governor Newsom enacted a separate state order.

The Shelter at Home order, and later the County’s START plan, included lists of businesses that needed to modify the way they did business, and businesses that must close. The goal back then was to have people stay home to flatten the curve so we would not overwhelm the hospitals. The other goal was to build hospital capacity to address the expected need. San Luis Obispo has done an excellent job of meeting both goals. The number of Covid-19 cases has been manageable with hospitalization numbers low. The capacity for over 900 extra hospital beds was built on the Cal Poly Campus. We are prepared to address the disease.

Meanwhile, the hardship on businesses and families has been difficult. The County Shelter at Home order expired May 16th and with it all the County restrictions allowing some businesses to open and forcing some to remain closed. Governor Newsom’s state order remains in place. Governor Newsom’s order continues to restrict the ability for some businesses to open and some activities to take place.

The disruption to our economy has taken a toll on businesses, family incomes, and revenues to the state and county that provide important services to the public.

As we move into the summer season, the County Board of Supervisors will be working on a county budget with funding at an unexpected low. We need our businesses to be open to be able to provide services to meet the needs of our citizens, including police and fire, road maintenance, health services, parks, and the court system to name a few. I appreciate the service the Atascadero Chamber provides our local businesses and will continue to do what I can to work on getting San Luis Obispo County safely open for business!

It is an honor to serve as your 5th District Supervisor.


Atascadero City Big Cheese KL

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.