Bay Area workers in 'gray area' confused over CA's new shelter-in-place rules

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Confusion about who can work, who can't during Marin closure
Some workers in Marin County say they're confused over California's new coronavirus shelter-in-place regulations. Some are in a gray area, where the rules aren't so clear-cut about whether or not they can still go to work.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- While most Californians understand the basics of these new coronavirus shut-downs, there are devils in the details, or more specifically, the absence of them.

This has already led to confusion in Marin County for people who work in the gray area, which the state describes as limited services, where workers may not come into contact with customers.

INTERACTIVE MAP: What's shutting back down, still open during Bay Area stay-at-home orders

"Gray feels pretty uninformed," said Blake Johnson.

He runs Toscalito Tire and Automotive, where they flew the flag at half-staff today in honor of Pearl Harbor.

Tomorrow remains a mystery.

"We have not received any notice from the county," Johnson said.

For good reason.

"Right now we are trying to interpret some of these gray areas," said Marin County Spokesperson Lainey Hendricks. "This is a different order from what we saw last March."

VIDEO: CA could vaccinate 1 million people against COVID-19 this month

The governor announced the state would receive a little more than two million doses of the vaccine this month between Pfizer and Moderna.

Marin County is in an unusual position because it is closing down voluntarily.

That means it may not have to follow state guidelines to the letter. These apply especially to limited services like auto repair shops, dry cleaning services, or pet services, which include Ziggy's Pet Grooming.

"Rents are high. It would be scary to not be working," said owner Elena Orellana.

"We have two people working," she said.

RELATED: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under stay-at-home order

As the county studies options, Elena still doesn't know her status for the stay-at-home, but can ill afford to not work. COVID-19 shut her down last spring. Such a move made no sense to her then, and wouldn't now.

"Supposedly dogs cannot get sick and they can't transmit it," she said.

With that, she resumed her work on a shaggy 16 year-old-dog named Doyle, who needed his nails trimmed.

"That's what I describe as essential," said Michael Clagett, who has owned the dog since childhood. "Getting stuff like this done does not interfere with health. There is plenty of room inside. People can keep their space."

But will they be able to continue working?

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