Marin County Delays Reopening Some Businesses Due To Coronavirus

Kristina Houck

MARIN COUNTY, CA — A spike in cases of the coronavirus has prompted Marin County to delay reopening some businesses previously scheduled to reopen on Monday.

There has been a recent increase in COVID-19 activity in the county. On Thursday, Marin recorded 54 new cases — the highest single-day record in the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This corresponds to record-high numbers of people hospitalized and in intensive care.

As of Thursday, there were 1,068 confirmed cases — not including cases at San Quentin State Prison — and 18 deaths in Marin. Overall, 60 people have been hospitalized due to the virus since the county's first COVID-19 case was reported on March 8. Twelve people remained hospitalized Thursday.

Additionally, there has been a large outbreak at San Quentin, where more than 500 inmates have been infected in the past two weeks. The transfer of critically ill inmates from the prison has created stress on local hospitals, according to the county. More than 75 staff, some of whom live in Marin, have also been infected.

"Since the beginning of our reopening process in early May, Marin Public Health has committed to moving at a sequential rate, guided by local COVID-19 data and our progress indicators," said Dr. Matt Willis, the county's public health officer. "We're seeing patterns we need to pay attention to. We're not closing anything down. We're just slowing the pace in response to the data."

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Public health officials said the decision to delay some of the business reopenings comes after "careful deliberation" of the county's current COVID-19 situation. Officials weighed which businesses could move forward with minimal risk.

"We're all eager to move forward out of the shelter in place, but the pandemic is far from over," said Max Korten, director of Marin County Parks and acting coordinator for the Marin Recovers Industry Advisors.

The businesses and activities allowed to move forward with reopening on Monday includes indoor dining, as well as hair salons and barbershops. Campgrounds and RV parks, picnic and barbecue areas, and outdoor vehicle-based gatherings will also be allowed.

According to the county, reopenings have been paused for hotels, motels and short-term rentals, gyms and fitness studios, and other personal services, including body art professionals, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, electrology services, estheticians, skin care and cosmetology services, non-medical massage services, and nail salons. These industries will be considered for the next round of reopenings, according to the county, but a tentative date has not been established.

"We have a shared responsibility in this. Everyone in Marin County needs to wear a face covering, maintain social distance, and practice good hygiene," Korten said. "These are simple tools, and our ability to reopen further depends a lot on following these practices as a community."

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This article originally appeared on the San Rafael Patch