A “region” with half the state’s population?

REACH is joining many Central Coast leaders in pushing back on the decision to include San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties in a Southern California region of 23.1 million people under new stay-at-home orders.

A growing chorus of prominent voices including elected officials, administrators, the Tribune editorial board and medical professionals argue that our two counties — where case counts and hospitalizations are relatively low — should not suffer the economic devastation of a lockdown driven by the situation hundreds of miles away. 
We join them in frustration that there’s no sound rationale in creating a Franken-region that covers far-flung locations such as San Diego and Mono County along with the Central Coast and encompasses more residents than the other four regions put together. 

“I fear that we’re losing track of what we’re trying to do, because what we’re trying to do is control a pandemic and not restrict people’s freedoms,” said Dr. Rene Bravo, a longtime local pediatrician who served on the California Medical Association committee advising the governor on reopening. “We must stop spreading the destruction of people’s lives as an effective mitigation tactic.” Read more from our conversation with Dr. Bravo.

One alternative that’s been floated is using the regions outlined by the state Office of Emergency Services’ mutual aid plan, grouping SLO, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

“The hospitals talk to each other here, and the public health departments know each other, and I think that would probably make a lot more logical sense,” Bravo noted.

Add your voice to those asking the state to reconsider the boundaries by signing a petition from a coalition of SLO County chamber and wine associations or contacting the Governor’s office directly. Join REACH in pushing back on the decision.


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