COVID-19 in CA: State reverses decision to allow Marin County to reopen

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Marin County planned on moving from Tier 1 status to Tier 2, which would have allowed several businesses to reopen. But late Monday night, the state reversed their decision.

The county released this statement: "The decision comes after the state reanalyzed its data and applied a new method for determining a county's position on the four-tiered monitoring framework. The new approach includes a different timeframe for calculating a county's case rate and a new adjustment for counties testing more than the state average, which CDPH plans to introduce this week."

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Laine Hendricks, Public Information Officer for the county of Marin said when they announced Friday that they would be moving into Tier 2, that was in consultation with the state.

"Up until this point, we were in the understanding that our data was looking good - we were all signs go- only to learn last night things had changed," Hendricks said. "The state effectively changed its decision and that's a huge blow not only to us but our economy and so many businesses that planned on reopening today,"

"They've also changed how they were holding counties accountable to what they define as a testing rate. It used to be how a county was testing in relation to what the state standard was and so they've redefined that standard," Hendricks added.

Hendricks said they're asking the state to re-evaluate the decision. She said local epidemiologists will work with state epidemiologists. She said the goal is to get to Tier 2, but ultimately they want clarity as to why they're getting held back.

Jeff Flannery owns Hand and Stone, a massage spa located near Terra Linda that's been closed for six months. He flew in from Arizona where he's expecting former employees and new hires to come -- even trainers from out of state.

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"I have a bunch of employees coming in here today - I don't even know what to tell them. They all thought they had their jobs back - I thought they had their jobs back - we hired new people and the state keeps jerking us around," Flannery said.

Hand and Stone is a corporation. Flannery said of 700,000 that have gotten massages, there's been two related COVID cases.

"We have maybe 10 people at a time in their own rooms and they're telling us we can't open but go to Starbucks and there's 30 people in the lobby right now. How is that safer that what we're doing? It just feels unfair," Flannery said.

"You guys have these ridiculous rules you keep changing the goal post. Right you keep moving the goal post, you said we could reopen and then at the eleventh hour you completely change the rules," Flannery said.

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Flannery feels like those making the decisions at the top don't know what it's like to run a small business.

"They think that we can just close and open. Like we can't survive if they keep doing this to us," Flannery said.

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