Reopening is slow going in Tulare County, but some are happy it’s happening at all

News
February 07 2021 03:30 pm

VISALIA, California (KGPE) — Tulare County is the last county in the Central Valley to move into Stage 2.5, with the state approving its variance attestation on Wednesday. This lets it move further into reopening.

Reopening has been a careful process in the county, as it still leads the Central Valley in COVID-19 cases.

Anyone can agree it’s been a long two months. Tomas Centeno, owner of Centeno’s Barber Shop on Lovers Lane in Visalia, has been dying to reopen.

While local leaders have given him the greenlight, the state still isn’t letting any barber shop or hair salon in Tulare County operate without consequences.

“I don’t want to jeopardize my license and I have people under me that depend on that,” Centeno said.

It’s been confusing for his clientele.

“They’ve been saying, ‘Reopen, supervisors said you can reopen,'” he said. “I said, ‘That’s the county, not the state.'”

Over in Downtown Visalia, there’s a slow buzz on the streets, as more businesses have opened their doors. The Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency reminded all retail businesses and places of worship on Wednesday the state guidelines issued earlier this week to operate safely.

Right now, the county has 1,796 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those, 723 people have recovered while 79 have died.

“We still have a risk of COVID-19. We want to have protocols in place to protect our high-risk and vulnerable populations,” said public information officer Carrie Monteiro.

The owners of Marcela’s Home Store in Visalia heard that loud and clear. They’ve been taking cues from Tulare County HHSA and the state.

To enter the store, you have to wear a mask. No worries if you don’t have one, the shop will have some on-hand. Hand sanitizer is also readily available.

So far, customers don’t mind it.

“Everybody’s been very happy. They’re like, ‘We’re just so glad we can walk into a store once again,'” owner Marisela Rodriguez said. “We appreciate them taking the time to come in.”

To see Tulare County HHSA’s guidelines for retail businesses and places of worship you can click here.

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