During Monday's meeting, held online via Zoom, the council voted 4-1 to enter “Phase 2” of the county's plan once it is approved. They discussed a desire to see residents following guidelines such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Once Gov. Newsom and Siskiyou County make a move to reopen the economy, Mount Shasta will follow suit, although the city council may alter some of the guidelines as they see fit.

During Monday’s meeting, held online via Zoom, the council voted 4-1 to enter “Phase 2” of the county’s plan once it is approved. They discussed a desire to see residents following guidelines such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Councilor Barbara Wagner cast the sole “nay” vote.

The county’s plan, if approved, details how businesses in Siskiyou will gradually begin to re-open their doors, while still maintaining social distance practices and keeping employees and patrons safe.

Phase 1 stipulates that residents continue with basic guidelines such as social distancing, washing of hands, staying home if sick, not gathering in large groups and the wearing of masks while in public. It also recommends that those over 65 or with underlying health conditions continue to self-isolate.

Some parts of Phase 1 and Phase 2 have already happened, even without formal approval from the governor. Elective surgeries have resumed and the county has seen hospitalization and ICU trends stabilize. Hospitals have capacity to meet a possible surge and they have sufficient Personal Protective Equipment.

To officially move to Phase 3, the county plan proposes that there should be sufficient testing capacity to meet demand and contact tracing capacity should be available countywide. In addition, businesses should have individual plans in place to meet guidelines. These plans must be available upon request and employees must wear a mask, according to the plan.

The council said they hope to make a plan that will not only follow CDC guidelines and satisfy Gov. Newsom, but will also assist those who are feeling the sting of not having their businesses open.

At this point, “The governor has not granted permission (for businesses to reopen),” said city manager Bruce Pope. “Other counties have taken action directly and they have been issued letters asking them to cease and desist,” including Modoc County.

“I think they are trying to open up as fast as they can, as an attempt to essentially create a better business environment,” said Mayor John Stackfleth.

Some members of the council agreed that while the county and city are feeling pressure to re-open, there is still the matter of enforcement and the lack of readily available testing within the county in case of a COVID-19 surge.

“I’ve noticed ... that nobody is wearing masks, workplace or clientele. We have no way to enforce this ... I’m frustrated,” said councilor Paul Engstrom.

Mayor John Stackfleth noted that there is “a certain degree of an honor system here, there’s no manpower with Public Health to enforce this like many people would like.”

Pope noted that the governor’s mandate to “shelter-in-place” and the suggestion to wear a mask while in public are simply that: suggestions.

“The governor is relying on people putting social pressure on others to see compliance,” added councilor Barbara Wagner.

To move to the final phases of the reopening plan, citizens would need to make the conscious decision to fall in line with the suggested recommendations, the council noted.

Mount Shasta City Council meetings are now being held remotely through Zoom. Meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Public comment can be submitted through the city clerk by email or over the phone.

The county’s plan for reopening can be found at this link: https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/public_health/page/1401/siskiyou_county_reopening_plan_final_5.6.2020_full.pdf.

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