As your state senator, I have listened to people in our community voice their experiences and concerns on California’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In some instances, our community clearly agrees on an issue. In other cases, the community is split on how to tackle these challenging circumstances. Despite these divides, though, we must become more disciplined in our efforts to protect public health, responsibly restore our economy, and ultimately eliminate the pandemic so we can return to normalcy.

Environmental portrait of State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno)

Andreas Borgeas


In addition to anecdotal insights from community members, my office recently administered two online surveys to better understand public sentiment within the 11 counties of the 8th Senate District. We received over 15,000 responses. By no means were these surveys scientific, but rather were focused on receiving community feedback.

What We Have Learned

      • Masks: The clear majority of people support wearing a mask to protect themselves, others, and to help keep our local businesses open.
      • Government Mandates: Many believe the governor’s mandates are confusing. There is little transparency in the administration’s decision-making processes and the governor is prone to change existing laws without the involvement of the Legislature.
      • Local Control: The majority of people believe counties and cities should be empowered to tackle their respective public health challenges, as each region is different, and state intervention should only occur if there are failures at the local level.
      • Schools: Most parents would prefer in-person instruction for their children. Some parents are not yet comfortable sending their children back to school and prefer distance learning. Yet a majority agree it should be up to local school districts, after meaningful consultation with teachers and parents, whether to open or close.
      • Childcare: If children cannot return to the classroom, most would prefer and would benefit from childcare/daycare support when they need to reenter the workplace.
      • Employment Development Department (EDD): An overwhelming number of people have contacted my office regarding the agency’s gross unpreparedness as they have failed to deliver unemployment benefits in a reasonable fashion. This has imposed unbelievable hardship on working individuals and families.
      •  COVID Lawsuits: Business owners and employees in our community are concerned about the need for legal protections against foreseeable COVID-19 lawsuits.

Consensus on a Path Forward

      • We should defer to health experts and wear masks so we can keep each other safe and get our businesses and economy back open.
      • The Legislature must reliably reconvene to fulfill its constitutional role as a co-equal branch of government. To do so, the Legislature must remove archaic legal impediments that prevent it from using remote voting technology to conduct the people’s business. California cannot have an absent Legislature and by default allow the state to be run solely by the executive.
      • The governor and Legislature should empower local authorities with the necessary resources and medical support to succeed in fighting the virus, and only intervene if there are failures based upon identified metrics.
      • Local school districts should provide a hybrid option, consider outdoor and alternative learning environments to the extent possible, and take all available precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff, and parents. This should be done in meaningful consultation with all necessary constituent groups.
      • If the governor is going to continue mandating school closures, the state should devise a plan that would support working parents, which may include tax credits for the costs of child supervision.
      • The state’s unemployment agency must improve its functionality and capacity to handle large caseloads during a crisis. The EDD must reevaluate its procedures and staffing levels to efficiently assist individuals needing unemployment assistance.
      • Businesses and employees need legal protections from foreseeable COVID-19 lawsuits. I will be a principal co-author on Assembly Bill 1035, which will provide legal protections to businesses and employees on the condition they are in strict compliance with state and local health protocols.
Image of a hair stylist working outdoors so the shop can stay open during COVID-19p o

While the hot summer is not ideal for outdoor operations, businesses are able to serve customers while protecting public health, says state Sen. Andreas Borgeas. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

We Must Do Better If We Are to End the Pandemic

In addition to the recommendations above, local authorities should do everything in their power to allow businesses to expand their operations to outdoor or alternative facilities and remove any local regulatory impediments. While the hot summer is not ideal for outdoor operations, cities like Turlock, Clovis, and Fresno are implementing these types of measures to protect the public and keep our local businesses operating.

We cannot allow political discord on the pandemic to continue to divide us in destructive and irreversible ways.

Finally, there must be a coordinated state and national procurement strategy for personal protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medical supplies so states and municipalities are not competing against one another in future emergencies. Improving vertical integration between federal, state, and local authorities is essential to protecting our economy, security, and public health. As a member of the Senate’s Pandemic Emergency Response Committee, I will continue to make these and other recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

We have learned painfully that the state of California and the United States must do better. The transmission rates in the U.S. are substantially higher than those of other countries, yet we are among the most advanced nations. We cannot allow political discord on the pandemic to continue to divide us in destructive and irreversible ways.

If we insist on productive solutions, based on reason, data and science, and the collective discipline to implement such solutions, we will emerge as a stronger state and nation. To do otherwise, would be a dereliction of our obligations as Americans.

About the Author

Andreas Borgeas, R-Fresno, is a state senator representing the 8th District. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @SenatorBorgeas.

41 Responses

  1. Cliff Smith

    What a refreshingly non-partisan response regarding a global health crisis. Thank you.

  2. Susan Greer

    Thank you! Now it remains to be seen if the Democrats who are disrupting the people’s needs will chose to come to the table to work together to a mutual resolution of the problems we all face today.

  3. Al Holborn

    Thank You Senator Borgeas for all the hard work. It must be very difficult dealing the Democrats.

    As a lifelong Californian it breaks my heart to see what the democrats are doing to this beautiful state. After 67 years my wife and I are moving to Idaho.

    Keep up the good fight.

    • Thomas Simmons

      We’re with you Al. We planned to leave years ago as we watched the inevitable demise.

    • Nora Nagy

      It’s the R’s that are against the science, wearing masks and resort to wishful thinking.

      • Catherine E.

        Nora, by your comment did you mean Rachel, Rebecca, and Roger? You just read what the majority of people in our Valley are concerned about so your comment makes no sense as they were bi-partisan results with no (R) or (D) having different concerns. Please stop baiting the issue with this type of response, because it’s not truthful.

  4. Bianca

    We still have nursing here is Stanislaus County saying they don’t have enough PPE. is one of the nurses, I too am an RN but currently not working.
    Also rumor but some nurses are saying due to having to reuse masks that legionaires disease is popping up ( have no 1st hand info on).

  5. Donald Swartz

    Masks do not prevent the spread of Covid 19. If they worked, business could be opened without the concern of spreading the virus. Stopping the spread at this point is not going to happen, and was never the intent! Let’s get back to work without masks and rebuild our businesses! Anything less is a political stunt to kill the economy!

    • Alfred Modahl

      I agree with you that wearing a cloth mask is going to prevent or even slow the spread of Covid19. The fact is there is no scientific study or evidence to support people are not going to be infected or transmit this or any other airborne/aerosol virus (CIDRAP and New England Journal of Medicine). Just because 3/4 of the population think if they “wear a mask” they will not be infected. The only true protection is when science develops a vaccine that induces or promotes the individual’s immune system to counter the virus (Polio, Measles, Chicken Pox, and others). I would like this Senator to step up and just not go along with the “popular” ideas on face coverings, and do some research and put the true facts and be a leader.

    • Morris Caudle

      I completely agree with you Donald. There has been no common sense nor logic on most all of the mandates, requirements and shut downs. Only Small Businesses are bad? Nail salons which usually wear masks cannot work? I will stop here as the stupiditing is too lengthy to continue. Forcing certain high risk facilities to take infected patients along with releasing inmates shows what little concern there is for public safety in California Government.

  6. Barbara Kyne

    Sounds like you’re blaming CA govt. If Republicans continue to believe that the pandemic is a hoax and an unconstitutional grab of their personal individual rights, you must lead, Senator. And please ask your GOP colleagues to do the same. Get some courage, loudly tell your constituents that they should not believe these conspiracy theories. I know that’s hard while you are enabling Trump, but please no finger pointing until you get your own house in order.

    • L

      Seriously? Enabling Trump to what? I WORK in a hospital! NO covid at all!!!!!!! 1 death in 6 months!!! YOU LIARS!

  7. Diana Lynn Worden

    Great article! Your words regarding the Pandemic are exactly how we feel.

  8. Inez

    I took this survey and this does not reflect my response. I will not be taking another Borgeas survey again just to simply add to his numbers so he can then turn it around to use towards his agenda

  9. Flora Castro

    I live in Fresno County…and there is NO WAY IN HELL that I would trust my Board of Supervisors to do the right thing, for the general population. With their ag/small town attitudes, they are most likely to decide what the majority of us should do based on the views of a handful of farmers. And given your minority status in the legislature, I would expect you to have the same mentality.

  10. Heidi Ordwein

    I appreciate the information. One of the things I’m concerned about is that in CA we do a county by county response regarding closures, public mask wearing, etc. I live in Tuolumne Cty and while we do not have as many cases as other counties. However, we are a vacation site and persons from other counties come here. If we do have a county mask wearing requirement, that is hit or miss. Many businesses still do not stop person without masks to enter even with notices at the door. Sales persons do not feel comfortable approaching customers and management is not active in protecting shoppers and their employees. A state wide mandate should be in place fining businesses who do not adhere to the protocols! That’s the only way to get them to do what needs to be done to protect all of us.

  11. Rocky Bayless

    Could you please have someone read this to Pelosi. It’s unlikely she will understand however!

  12. Salvador Garcia

    Keep politics out and I support
    Gavin is leveraging California’s strength. California needs to lead and create the model for our country and world. Lead by Central Valley, Apply science. Common Sense. Leave no rock unturned. California Strong. California Dreaming is what our nation once dreamt of.

  13. Jimmie Elzner

    Do you have any plans on implementation of your “should” and “must” statements?

  14. Suzanne Bauer

    Thank you for compiling this information. I really think that there is a lot of buck passing going on. Medical officers take their orders from Dr. Galey. He takes his from Gov. Newsom. Someone needs to take a stand. I am growing weary of following guidelines that affect other areas of California. I dont have confidence in the number of cases. We had a small outbreak here. Some 30 – 35 people went to test and two weeks later a spike….40 new cases. Really…I think 40 tests. I only know two of those people, they are older and RECOVERED.
    Sorry for the rant.

  15. Itzel

    Kids should not be able to go back to school. They should be given online classes instead to stop the spread of the virus.

  16. M. Jean Fox

    Our state allows protesting and riots and does nothing to enforce social distancing or face masks, then when the Covid 19 skyrockets especially among black and Hispanic groups they want to blame the small businesses and close us down. This insanity has to stop. We have all done everything businesses can do to protect the public and employees from this virus. Why not enforce laws evenly and quit blaming innocent hardworking businesses.

  17. Cristiana R Barsuglia

    Aside from gauging the effect of the news and social media on the public, I don’t really see the point of this Public Opinion Survey. Most of the respondents know only what is being said about Covid-19 on TV, much of which is politically motivated disinformation (primarily from the Left).
    Perhaps a thorough examination of the current science, to provide your constituents with a more balanced and realistic understanding of this issue would have been more useful.

  18. Lisa

    I hope Yosemite visitors that come from all over the world are reporting if they get sick after leaving Mariposa and visiting the park I would imagine this would be an important part of tracking cases…

  19. Elizabeth Castor

    I agree with almost all of the above recommendations for moving forward. However govenor Newsom is a loose cannon and needs to be restrained in his high handed dealings with the monies and people of California. Please help the citizens of California get out from under the high taxes and oppressive rule of this madman.

  20. Melanie Sanwo

    Why are the COVID-19 tests so inaccurate/inconsistent/unreliable, and why does it take so long to get the results back?

    Even with all of the science and data, local, state, and national leaders are not making rational decisions. There is other data to consider such as the rates of increased domestic violence, depression, small business closures when determining policies. We need leaders to look at the big picture, including how mandates are violating our Constitutional rights.

  21. Jerry Knapp

    +The governor, by allowing the mass demonstrations has shown that he is not fit to be in Sacramento. The Virus numbers in CA would be a lot lower if Gavin would let the law enforcement people do their jobs to protect and assist in ridding this state of this virus. We may never recover from this pandemic with leaders who are not looking out for the citizens of this state.

  22. Patricia E Cerda

    I like that you are engaged in concerned about California as a whole, that you care and understand PPE’s are vital for the country as a whole to withstand and overcome this pandemic.

    I just hope you can find a way to help “all” people understand and comply with these important issues at hand, the longer people don’t have a agreeable solution the longer it’s going to take for the US to get better and overcome this problem.

    Find a way for everyone in every State including the President to help those who still don’t believe PPE’s are necessary and to refuse the use of needed masks, good hand hygiene and distancing, until officials can find a way to achieve this goal we as a country are going to continue seeing more deaths and unnecessary consequences.

    P Cerda

  23. Aaron Acevedo

    While I appreciate your attempt to gather some information by sending out surveys, I was very concerned with the lack of nuance in each situation, or dilemma posed to your constituents. I would have liked the ability to type a response, if I felt the need, or have a more nuanced answer. For example, while I agree that it would be nice to have a more localized approach, I agree with what the governor did, simply because my local government didn’t seem to believe the science. I think the threat of the virus could have been short-lived if it wasn’t for American ignorance and exceptionalism, propagated by leadership that was short-sited and worried about politics and optics. I am very much a centrist that believes in the concept of keeping government out of my day-to-day, but what is government if it’s not aligning for the better good of the governed? A short and painful shutdown is much better than a long drawn out battle of politics and confusion. Again, I appreciate the attempt, but it now, more than before, seems like a very passive-aggressive backhand toward a governor that has done nothing more than have a different political view than you do. This is a time to set politics aside, and come to the table to discuss and learn, not point fingers.

  24. Victor Sevilla Jr.

    I believe everyone should wear mask to help defeat this virus

    • Michele

      Where are the bio hazard bins for deposing the masks. I personally feel masks are dangerous for our health.

  25. Berl Jay hubbell

    I am deeply distrbed that there is no questioning of the validity of the two tests being used to supposedly detect COVID19. Both tests are notorious for rendering a huge false positive rate becasue they can not distinguish between one Corona Virus and another. The common cold is a Cornoa virus. Our bodies are rife with benign Corona Virus that render the tests dangerous because of the infererance of contagion and the consequecial legal eequestration and suspension of basic rights and liberties. Also there should be legislation requiring that any tests pass rigorus scientific protocol and peer review. Also, requiring mask-wearing MUST be based on regoruous scientific protocol. The same goes for the idea of social distancing which lacks any basis in science. Fthermore, the idea of quarentine of asymptomatic people on the basis of a faulty testing regimen constitutes unlwful detainer.

  26. Meri Rosenwinkel

    I feel if you would bring God back into our community and school we would be a better place in our work place. I think you are trying to open up everything to soon and make sure the business are going by the health rules to keep the public safe by making sure everybody ware there masks before coming into the store, restaurant or just in the public. We all need to do our part because where all in this together.

  27. Kathy Swanson

    Thank you for providing us this information. I still wonder why day-care/childcare is acceptable but attending school is not acceptable. I would think that the same concerns would apply regarding transmission of COVID 19

  28. Sandie

    I have heard so many conflicting announcements regarding what we have to do to stay healthy. Most scientific views I’ve heard state that we are not protected by wearing masks and that this will pass like all the other flues and illnesses. I can’t understand why people are not given the right to think for themselves and fight this in a civilized way. It seems that the more our rights are taken away the more our economy and the virus get worse. At this point I’m not sure the America as we know it can survive. That scares the life out of me.

  29. Michele

    Please explain to me how doing business outside versus inside both while wearing a mask is safer.

  30. Maurice

    Overall it seems that you are trying to lead. Thank you. I wish all Americans would put the name calling and finger pointing aside and address. Let’s be fair and respectful to our fellow citizens and tell the truth always.

  31. Melinda

    It does seem unreasonable to expect EDD to handle the largest increase in unemployment claims in the history of this country without any hiccups. There were more than 1 million new claims per week during this pandemic. How can you blame the EDD for not being able to handle that? If we increased your workload by a factor of 10, you might get a bit behind as well….


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