California county to defy statewide stay-at-home order, allow businesses to reopen

Modoc County, Calif. — sparsely populated and located in the northeast corner of the state — is planning on reopening schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and its lone movie theater on Friday, in direct defiance of Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomLos Angeles police officers attended party at bar against state order: report California's reported decline in infection rate may not be accurate, official says California: Dual threats of wildfire and COVID-19 underscore need for prevention MORE's (D) statewide stay-at-home order.

The county has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, and after consulting with health officials, the county's board of supervisors voted to reopen Friday.

“Just as our physical health is vital for our citizens, so is the mental health and the economic health of our citizens,” Ned Coe, a county supervisor, told Sacramento's NBC affiliate.

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Coe said that the county wrote to Newsom last week, explaining how its plan follows the guidelines to reopening that Newsom previously released, but that the governor had yet to respond.

He noted: “The governor himself has indicated that it is time to start opening in a staged and safe manner, and that will be different for different areas of the state."

When asked about the county's planned reopening at his press briefing, Newsom replied: “Nothing would please me more than pleasing those local officials … but we're not out of the woods. No part of the state, no part of this country, few parts of the globe have been immune to this virus.”

He didn't indicate if he would take legal action to stop Modoc County.