Desert Sun: Updates: Riverside County debates reopening; East Valley students get help with internet access
Published: 10:24 a.m. PT May 4, 2020
As Riverside County reported 174 new COVID-19 cases and 20 new virus-related deaths on Monday, local officials battled over the future of the county-wide orders in place to contain coronavirus.
Several Riverside County supervisors, along with other elected officials and business leaders, made their case for reopening the economy to the public during a live-streamed press conference at MADE, a home decor store on Magnolia Avenue in Riverside.
Some rural California counties like Lassen, Modoc, Trinity and Sierra have no confirmed cases of COVID-19, while Riverside County has more than 4,000. Nevertheless, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said Gov. Gavin Newsom should consider Riverside County as one of the first to advance to “Phase 2” and limited reopening.
“We need our economy to reopen. We cannot afford to pay for the services we provide to residents today with a closed economy. It will not sustain itself. We will be encountering large layoffs and large cuts if we do not get this economy open,” he said.
Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey stressed the need to fight the economic downturn and coronavirus simultaneously. Although the city of Riverside had 767 cases and 50 deaths as of Monday, Bailey highlighted how roughly 60% of the cases were among nursing home residents and staff. With evidence that cases are concentrated in hotspots like nursing homes, Bailey said, it makes sense to allow businesses to slowly reopen.