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Modoc County becomes first Northern California county to open non-essential businesses

Modoc County is the first county in California to reopen after the stay at home order.

Posted: May 1, 2020 8:33 PM
Updated: May 1, 2020 8:44 PM

MODOC COUNTY, Calif. - Modoc County is the first county in California to reopen after the stay at home order.

After weeks of being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, essential and non-essential business in Modoc County are back in business. But not without precautions and people are happy.

“I think we have to be open if we stay closed much longer it's just going to be devastating for our economy,” said Chad Wilson of Alturas.

But even though Modoc County is open, it’s not business as usual. People must still follow specific guidelines, such as staying home if you’re sick, keeping six feet, and no large gatherings.

Wilson, a longtime resident, says even with those restrictions, opening up is worth it.

“For our community that is tight-knit we need to start opening back up,” said Wilson.

Gerry Gates, the owner of Gates Gallery and Trading Post in Alturas tells Action News Now, he closed his store up for several weeks and didn't see any money coming in. But after all that time, he made his first sale today and says it's good to be back.

“We are all trying to stay safe as possible,” said Gates. “All the businesses that are open have on their front have a COVID-19 precaution statement and we are all trying to stay safe.”

Action News Now reached out to the Modoc County Sheriff's Office. The agency says it's not defying the governor's orders. But are working with the governor's office and adds it submitted a plan to the state public health officer.

“We needed to put out some guidelines,” said Tex Dowdy, Sheriff of the Modoc County. “Businesses were going to start opening with or without our blessing and we needed to ensure the health and safety of our community.”

The Modoc County Sheriff's Office says even though businesses are back open, it's still going to keep its Emergency Operations Center open and will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic.

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