In defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order, a small rural county on the northeastern edge of California plans to reopen businesses, schools and churches starting Friday, according to the county's Facebook page.
Bordering Oregon, Modoc County is the first in the state to openly reject Newsom's continued restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Modoc County is one of the least populated counties in the state with less than 9,000 residents. It’s Board of Supervisors approved the reopening plan earlier in the week.
The plan posted on the county’s Facebook page says “restaurants and bars may open inside dining but may only be at half capacity.”
The plan says residents must also adhere to social distancing guidelines and there can be “no large gatherings where proper social distancing cannot be maintained.”
Local officials say they feel comfortable with the reopening since there have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the county.
“We submitted plans and letters to the governor six days ago and we have not heard a word from him,” said Ned Coe, vice chair of Modoc County Board of Supervisors.
“Businesses will be proceeding to open tomorrow," Coe said.
Newsom hasn’t publicly commented on Modoc’s move and it’s unclear if the county’s reopening will cause any friction between state and local authorities.
Rural communities like Modoc are increasingly at odds with Newsom’s order. On Tuesday, business operators representing other rural parts of the state were joined by local politicians to publicly ask the Newsom to begin lifting restrictions.