Modoc County Defies Stay-at-Home Orders, Opens Bars and Restaurants

Modoc County has re-opened early, despite an ongoing shelter-in-place order from the state. Modoc bars, restaurants and churches were allowed to resume operations on Friday, as long as they adhere to specific social distancing guidelines.

“We’re not in this at all to defy anything. We align with the plans. We’re just at a different phase in this because of where we are and how we live,” Deputy Director of the county's Office of Emergency Services Heather Hadwick told POLITICO.

That’s an artful use of semantics. Modoc’s decision to greenlight non-essential businesses at this juncture clearly conflicts with Governor Newsom’s order. But it’s unclear if the state has any appetite to go after the small, rural enclave, which has no confirmed cases of the virus so far.

As Hadwick noted, Newsom “didn’t say he was challenging” the county’s move in his remarks on Thursday. If the state does decide to go after Modoc, “we would work with him to try to figure something out that would work with our county,” she said.