May 19, 2020 Moonshine Minutes
That didn’t take long.
Just days after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the state of California was entering the beginning of stage two of the reopening of nonessential businesses, counties throughout the state began to petition for variances to take opening a step further. El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer counties all gained approval to proceed into the latter phase of stage two; reopening 2.2 if you will.
I’m Becca Loux, editor/reporter for Moonshine Ink with today’s Moonshine Minutes. Today’s report on further steps local counties are taking toward reopening comes from a breaking story written by my co-editor Juliana Demarest, live this morning on moonshineink.com. Keep our coronavirus tab open for part two, coming to you there and on the KTKE airwaves later this week.
With its formal paperwork submitted to the state May 9, just two days after Newsom announced that California as a whole would enter stage two, El Dorado became the first of two counties statewide permitted to progress to a more advanced phase of stage two. To date, 20 counties have received such approval.
The former part of Newsom’s directive, announced May 7, paved the way for the reopening of some retail entities to operate with curbside pickup and delivery only, something many local businesses had all along been doing on the down-low anyway as a means to try to maintain some flow of income. The approval for this group of counties to enter the latter part of stage two relaxes restrictions in retail, as and permits the reopening of some childcare facilities, lower-risk offices, limited hospitality, some personal services, and dining in at restaurants.
Hair and nail salons, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, bars, gaming areas, public swimming pools, and playgrounds among other closer contact-type facilities are not to open until phase 3. The opening of smaller group gathering sites like movie theaters and religious gatherings, will also be part of stage 3, while stage 4 will open up large gathering sites like stadiums, arenas, concert halls, and convention centers. High-risk individuals are encouraged to stay home until all restrictions have been lifted.
Stay-at-home mandate remains in effect. Social distancing, personal hygiene precautions, and the wearing of face masks when in public spaces continue to be strongly advised.
Alibi Ale Works owner Kevin Drake is a proud optimist, looking forward to the day his customers can sit outside and relish in the “pure enjoyment of drinking a beer outside.” Fortunately for Alibi fans, that day will arrive sooner than later, as the Incline location opened for in-house dining last Friday and outdoor dining scheduled to open this week.
As is required of food and drink establishments in stage 2, Alibi opened with a limited number of tables — about half of the norm — and has plans to adhere to strict social-distancing and sanitizing guidelines. So while Alibi is reopening with fewer tables, Drake is having to hire more staff to oversee these measures. He’s now created the position of full-time sanitizer. And despite less revenue coming in, he does not foresee the cost of labor following suit. Labor, in fact, is the reason the Truckee location did not open in line with Incline, although he noted that the Truckee Public House is set to open in the coming week with approval pending for an outdoor beer garden there as well.
“We’re competing with unemployment,” said Drake, explaining that he could not get enough employees to come back to work because with the additional $600 per week in unemployment from the federal government, many people are making more money collecting than if they were working. “I never expected to be competing against the government, but here we are.”
Drake said that throughout the closure, the community has been nothing short of supportive, demonstrating such through ordering takeout. Despite opening for in-house dining, Alibi will continue to offer takeout at all locations, from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays, with the dining room open until 9 p.m.
“We appreciate the community rolling with us as we reinvent our business model,” he added.
As more businesses reopen, it means more people are going to be needing care for their children as they return to work. I’m Mayumi Elegado, publisher of the Ink.
Stage two means that childcare facilities may reopen, albeit with restrictions on the number of children per teacher and, of course, mighty strict sanitizing and hygiene guidelines, including face masks for workers.
Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks Department staff members were hard at work at the Community Recreation Center Friday morning, prepping classrooms for the return of their little charges. Under the current guidelines, TDRPD may run the Grasshopper and Butterfly preschool programs as well as a childcare program for school-age children in kindergarten through fifth grade because they were fortunate enough to already have in place a pop-up waiver from the state, which allows them to start up emergency childcare provisions.
State licensing approval was granted earlier Friday, enabling the preschool to be up and running today with a student-teacher ratio of 9 to 1, which is lower than the state-mandated ratio. Care for school-age children through grade 5 will be held at the Community Arts Center in downtown Truckee. Register online at tdrpd.org.
Preschool director Kristin Henry has gone into the classroom several days a week to hold livestream singalongs and story readings for the little ones since their school was abruptly closed in late March, and told Moonshine the preschool is ready to open safely.
According to Henry, both facilities will have extra teachers on hand to cover break times and assist with extra sanitizing measures throughout the day. Use of playgrounds — which will remain closed to the public — will be on a rotating basis with structures and equipment disinfected between groups.
TDRPD director Sven Leff said the district has worked hard to meet and maintain health requirements set forth by the state and will continue to let the programs grow in numbers and offerings as permitted. Summer camps are full-speed-ahead at this time, although they will start off with fewer campers. Trudaca, for instance, which is open for kids entering first through fifth grades as well as those who this year were in transitional kindergarten, will have 45 kids per day rather than the usual 70. If things continue to trend positively, the number will be increased throughout the season.
It’s unlikely that residents will see the opening of amenities like the Aquatics Center, fitness facilities, and West End Beach at Donner Lake. Another sure bet is that athletic sports will remain a no-no. As such, there will be no AYSO soccer camps this year.
Leff reassured parents hesitant to sign-up for summer and other programs that if the offerings are canceled on account of any future mandated closures that they will receive a full refund or opt for a full credit, particularly in the case that a child begins showing coronavirus symptoms.
“We’re not going to do a money grab for something people can’t control. We are sensitive to [people’s] personal fears when it comes to being comfortable with risk.”
Lastly: have you picked up the May-June print edition yet? On the other side of the poignant cover by artist Jeremy Collins is a poster reminding us, as a community, how we can keep it real during this next stage of the novel coronavirus. Cut out and hang up. Rainbow included. Because it’s only together that we will stay safe, sane and able to find moments of zen.