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Imperial County Public Health Officer, Dr. Stephen Munday, speaks to the media shortly after 5 p.m. July 1, as Board of Supervisors' Chairman Luis Plancarte looks on during a press conference to announce Gov. Newsom has approved the county's 13-point plan to "toggle back." PRESS CONFERENCE SCREEN GRAB

State Approves Imperial’s Amended Roadmap to Recovery, County Officials Announce

Imperial County officials announced Gov. Newsom approved their 13-point plan to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in the Imperial Valley, something Newsom demanded during a June 26 press conference that the governor referred to as “toggling back.”

The announcement came shortly after 5 p.m. July 1 through county Public Health Officer, Dr. Stephen Munday, and county Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Luis Plancarte.

Newsom reportedly approved the proposed 13-point plan earlier in the day July 1 and had credited Imperial County during a live press conference.

“We had meetings over the weekend with state officials and received guidance, did research and used that to make amendments to our Roadmap to Recovery,” Munday said.

The major changes in the plan will impact non-essential retail businesses, churches, and parks, Munday said, highlighting the biggest modifications to the original plan that appear to be somewhere between the Stage 2A the county was already on in its roadmap and Stage 1.

Imperial County District 1 Supervisor Jesus Escobar characterized the proposal during a brief conversation with the Calexico Chronicle on June 30 as “a tweener” between stages 1 and low-risk 2.

In-store shopping of non-essential retail businesses will be ended and now limited to curbside pickup only; churches will be limited to outdoor services only; and all county parks will be closed, Munday said.

“Face coverings will be required, and they are not intended to replace social distancing. All non-essential gatherings of any size are not permitted,” said Munday, who encouraged all non-essential businesses to utilize telecommuting for its workforce as much as possible.

“The point we are trying to make here is, to avoid mixing and mingling as much as possible to limit exposure to COVID-19,” said Munday.

“It is tough times for all of us. I can’t tell you what it does to me to have to relay these feelings to you again and again,” Plancarte after Munday spoke.

County officials asked the state for more bilingual contact tracers and investigators, help in expanding testing capacity, to expand the “alternative care site” at Imperial Valley College and give assistance to local hospitals, Plancarte said.

“For our efforts to be successful, we require the support of all local city leaders. Restrictions related to COVID-19 have become necessary so we can protect our family, friends and neighbors,” Plancarte said, urging residents to wear a mask and avoid gather during the Independence Day weekend.

Plancarte encouraged residents to the “three Cs” to help remember how to be conscious about the risks COVID-19 poses and how to go about protecting themselves.

“Avoid gathering crowds, confined spaces and closed areas outside of your house,” Plancarte said.

The county’s complete 13-point plan includes:

  1. Reiterate stay-at-home order and face covering requirements through increased public messaging.
  2. Strongly encourage businesses to enforce face-covering requirements.
  3. Close all non-essential businesses to in-store traffic, allowing curbside pickup only.
  4. Increase educational activity with restaurants further clarifying curbside pick-up.
  5. Strongly encourage families to limit the number of people visiting a store to one person per family for each visit.
  6. Prohibit non-essential gatherings of any size.
  7. Continue encouraging faith-based organizations to conduct virtual religious services; indoor services prohibited, outdoor services will be limited to 100 participants, as long as can implement social distancing measures.
  8. Encourage telecommuting services, as much as possible, for all businesses.
  9. Close all county parks and recreational areas to public access.
  10. Strongly encourage cities to close their parks as well.
  11. Continue to collaborate and increase targeted engagement with local cities and law enforcement agencies regarding local health orders.
  12. Engage additional community-based organizations and faith-based groups in a reinvented outreach plan.
  13. Continue binational partnership with Mexicali to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 in both communities.

The story is developing.

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