Imperial, California - Earlier this evening, the City of Imperial City Council voted to essentially allow all businesses within the City of Imperial to reopen immediately.

The County of Imperial greatly sympathizes and understands the hardship many small and independent businesses and their employees in Imperial County have endured over the past five months as a result of the restrictions due to COVID-19.  However, it is important to remember that both the State of California and the County of Imperial’s health orders remain in effect. 

The County of Imperial puts the health and safety of our residents first.  To help stop the spread of COVID-19, we have taken a proactive, collaborative approach conducting regular status update meetings with City Managers and Mayors of local cities for the past several months on how to effectively respond to this pandemic.  It is essential that County and City government work together during this crisis to avoid confusion and to be more successful in serving the shared needs of our residents. 

We hear the concern of our businesses and individuals that have been impacted as a result of the pandemic – the 188,000 residents that make up our community.  The County of Imperial is committed to taking action that prevents further spread of COVID-19, while also finding ways that allow our businesses to reopen responsibly and safely, which is why we have worked hard to decrease our testing positivity rate, increase hospital capacity, and meet the state’s metrics that empowered Public Health Officer, Dr. Stephen Munday, to submit a COVID-19 Variance Attestation Form to move forward to Stage 2.  The County is currently awaiting endorsement of our variance report from the California Department of Public Health.

For our community to continue with the progress we have made and overcome this pandemic, we need the full cooperation of every city to adopt policies that are consistent with County and State health and safety guidelines.  Any city that fails to follow these guidelines and fails to work in unison with the County and the rest of the cities in this community can potentially put us all at risk.  County of Imperial Officials stated from the beginning of this emergency that we are here for the long-haul because the residents of our County deserve nothing less.

As an arm of the state, we are obligated to enforce the laws and regulations set for by the State of California, including the health order established by our local Public Health Officer.  Enforcing these laws is a duty and responsibility of all local governments to ensure the health and safety of its residents and constituents.

Imperial County Public Health has the Division of Environmental Health that regulates a number of businesses within Imperial County.  We are committed to working closely with our businesses to make sure they have the information necessary to make informed and responsible decisions moving forward on how to reopen safely and responsibly, in compliance with State and County Health Orders.  Our focus is the overall health of all individuals and businesses in Imperial County and any form of reopening our economy should be in a coordinated, accountable, and responsible manner.