Newsom Threatens Defiant Counties With Loss of Funding

Counties that reopen prematurely against the guidance of the state risk losing disaster funding, Governor Newsom’s administration warned last week. The Los Angeles Times reports that Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, sent letters to Yuba, Sutter, and Modoc counties, which are already allowing high-risk businesses like bars and malls to operate.

The letter to Yuba says that “disaster assistance programs prohibit a jurisdiction from receiving funding for a condition caused by its own negligence” and that “should Yuba County experience a surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of hasty and careless actions, the county may be ineligible for reimbursement.” The letter also questions why a county needs assistance if it believes no emergency exists.

Forty-four states have already begun some form of reopening. If the nation experiences a surge in cases, experts say it won’t become apparent for at least another two weeks.