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Responding to feedback from businesses and farmers, Merced County Health Officer Dr. Ken Bird on Thursday suspended part of a recent order requiring businesses to develop COVID-19  social distancing and safety plans.

“Merced County will reevaluate … its requirements to better allow local businesses to improve their COVID-19 safety protocols without overburdening their essential operations. Additional guidance documents will also be developed and provided to businesses as they look to follow the updated Health Order.”Merced County news release

The order was to have gone into effect on Friday.

The plan called for limiting capacity (five people per 1,000 square feet), door monitoring, cloth face masks for employees and patrons, telecommuting options, and employee screening.

The rest of the order remains in effect, according to a Merced County news release.

119 Confirmed Cases, 3 Deaths

“Merced County will reevaluate … its requirements to better allow local businesses to improve their COVID-19 safety protocols without overburdening their essential operations. Additional guidance documents will also be developed and provided to businesses as they look to follow the updated health order,” the news release stated.

Through 4 p.m. Wednesday, the county had 131 confirmed coronavirus cases, of which 48 were active. Eighty people had recovered, and three deaths were attributed to COVID-19.

County Prepares to Open Parts of the Economy

In addition, county officials say they are evaluating preliminary options for reopening parts of the economy without putting our community at risk for a spike in cases.

As part of its most recent health order, the definition of essential services was expanded to include drive-up services for faith-based organizations, animal care facilities, drive-through automatic car washes, and pool maintenance.

Local jurisdictions in the state are required to follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive orders. However, local officials that have implemented stricter orders are free to loosen them as long as the orders adhere to the state’s mandates.

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