Kern Co. rescinds health order, previewing moves by Newsom

Kern County’s Public Health Officer announced Saturday that he was rescinding the county’s version of a shelter-in-place order issued one month ago.

The move sets the table for action by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who announced that changes to the statewide shelter-in-place order was “days, not weeks” away.

“In anticipation of the Governor’s transition of re-opening of the economy, we want the county to be positioned so we can quickly maximize our local response and clear the way for the changes ahead,” Kern County Public Health spokeswoman Michelle Corson said in a release.

Kern County Supervisor David Couch, speaking to KGET, noted that Kern County had successfully flattened the curve. By rescinding its own April 2 order, Kern County would no longer engage in enforcement and leave any enforcement up to the State of California.

“As a reminder, the governor’s order remains in place to stay at home, but how it will be enforced, we’re not so sure,” Couch told KGET’s Eytan Wallace on Saturday.

Kern County spent a significant portion of the past week battling with the City of Taft over its push to reopen businesses on Monday conflict with Newsom’s continued order.

However, local leaders see some signs of progress on the horizon, starting with Saturday’s decision.

“Tonight’s action is a first step to allow families to get out more while still practicing proper physical distancing and is also a critical step to ensure that our local businesses can gradually start to resume operations again,” State Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield) said in a statement.

“Local governments should have flexibility in the stay-at-home order so that they can begin to mitigate the psychological and economic consequences of this crisis.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at