Former California GOP chair criticizes Newsom’s Coronavirus response

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Former chairman of the California Republican Party Tom Del Beccaro pushed back on the state’s stay-at-home order criticizing Gov. Gavin Newsom on Fox News.

“California is a big place and treating northern California or the eastern counties the same as L.A. makes no sense,” Del Beccaro said on “Fox & Friends First” on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of rumblings, a lot of lawsuits, a lot of counties that are fighting back.”

Del Beccaro joined Good Morning San Diego Sunday to discuss California’s stay at home orders amid COVID-19

Modoc County moved Friday to reopen hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county’s only movie theater. There haven’t been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among 9,000 residents, but the reopening came with strict social distancing limits. Businesses could only have half the patrons, and customers must stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart.

The county is an outlier in every sense of the word. It is tucked into the far northeast near the Oregon border, hundreds of miles from the capitol of Sacramento and even further politically from the Democrat-controlled state; it’s a place where seven in 10 voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

At the Brass Rail in Alturas, two neon signs beamed “OPEN” and about a dozen customers were at the bar — the only portion of the Basque restaurant open so far. After a six-week shutdown, people were eager to be back among friends and neighbors.

“It’s been a long haul. We’re a small community,” owner Jodie Larranga said. “It’s not that we’ve been given permission, we’ve just had a belly full. People are fed up.”

Residents were putting their faith in local officials, not the state.

“Tex would never say it’s OK to be out in public if he didn’t truly feel it in his heart,” said Amber McCandles, 41, referring to Sheriff Tex Dowdy. He “has done a great job keeping us healthy. He shut the town down and kept us isolated, in quarantine, and kept us COVID-free.”

Local officials stressed the reopening followed Newsom’s phased plan to reopen the whole state, albeit earlier than he has approved.

“Our residents were moving forward with or without us,” Heather Hardwick, deputy director of emergency services, said in an email, adding that residents needed guidelines to do it safely.

At Country Hearth Restaurant and Bakery in the small town of Cedarville, manager Janet Irene served up breakfast orders of biscuits and gravy, sausage, hash browns, omelettes and chicken fried steak.

Irene said she’s been following “the guiding light” of county officials in keeping the small eatery she’s run for 35 years closed except for takeout during the lockdown and was relieved to welcome folks back inside.

“People were constantly asking to be able to sit in the restaurant, and it was really, really difficult during this time to deny that,” she said. “It’s like the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, because part of that time we had inclement weather, rain and — no snow — but cold outside.”

Irene agreed that it was difficult for a law-respecting person to figure out what should be done when different levels of government are giving out different instructions.

Newsom has declined to address Modoc County’s move directly and has not responded to a demand from six other rural Northern California counties to also be allowed to reopen.

He said Friday during his daily coronavirus briefing that he is paying attention to their pleas.

“I’m looking forward to answering your call, addressing your anxiety,” he said, adding: “We’re not turning our back to those concerns.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Good Morning San Diego, Politics