The Coast News Group
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was expected release approximately 400 inmates without bail Wednesday and Thursday in compliance with a state order to reduce prison populations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Courtesy photo

Supervisors request authority to reopen county sooner

REGION – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has sent a request to Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow them to reopen facilities such as gymnasiums, hotels and cultural venues closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The board voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve sending the request, which also includes seeking more leeway to allow the reopening of wineries, breweries, churches, theme parks, youth sports facilities, charter and fishing boats and public swimming pools.

County public health officials reported 120 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven additional deaths on Tuesday, raising the county total to 7,674. The deaths reported Tuesday — the first reported in two days — raise the county’s death toll to 276.

The deaths were five men and two women who ranged in age from 46 to 94, and all but one had an underlying health condition.

Public health officials also recorded 3,939 coronavirus tests Tuesday, and said the 120 positive tests comprise 3% of the total number. The county’s 14-day rolling average of positive tests is 2.9% of the total number of tests.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, 17.5% of those testing positive have been hospitalized and 5% have spent time in intensive care units.

The Board of Supervisors also voted Tuesday to extend a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses for another month, through June 30.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, along with board Chairman Greg Cox, made the request, which was unanimously approved. The board first approved an eviction moratorium in late March.

“By extending the moratorium, we are giving families and business owners another tool to assist in their recovery from the pandemic,” Fletcher said.

Cox said: “This is not an effort to provide free rent. It’s really an encouragement for tenants, landlords, to work together on a payment plan.”

Fletcher added that people who qualify for the moratorium have to prove economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

Passive recreation was allowed at county beaches beginning Tuesday.

A few restrictions remain, however, as the county still has a ban on team sports such as football and volleyball. Additionally, beach parking lots and piers remain closed.

Reopening of boardwalks is up to each coastal city, and as always, social distancing and facial coverings are the rule when near people who aren’t a member of the same household.