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Ripon joins push for Newsom to allow reopening
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Ripon is looking to re-open.

The City Council took a step towards that direction Tuesday by unanimously agreeing to be part of a joint resolution with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, the County of San Joaquin, and the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, Escalon, Lodi and Tracy.

"My hope is that localization will be revived," said Mayor Jake Parks during the special online session. "The resolution will allow for more power to cities in making their own decisions."

Earlier, the Board of Supervisor voted in favor of the joint resolution -- scheduled to be forwarded to the offices of Gov. Gavin Newsom -- adding places of worship to the list of places to be reopened.

The joint petition will allow "individuals, businesses, and schools to resume activities in a manner that does not menace public health," under the direction and with the approval of public health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to approval, several business owners, church officials and community members — as part of their online public comments — were on board, saying, "it's time for Ripon to re-open."

Added Mike Scogna, owner of the Ripon Fitness Center, on behalf of businesses: "The lockdown has done more bad than good."

Longtime businesses such as Burgess Baking Company in downtown is one such casualty with plans of closing its doors on May 23.

This joint resolution points out that San Joaquin County, within its control, has met all of the same criteria as that as the recent reopened Butte and El Dorado counties.

The county has also exceeded the testing capacity prerequisite set by the State of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents and has more than exceeded the State criteria for providing more than 35 percent hospital surge capacity with plans to protect the hospital workforce with Personal Protective Equipment.

Scogna, for one, outlined a plan for re-opening of his gym, which has no more than six to 10 people per hour outside of the high traffic time, offering cleaning stations along with protective gloves and masks.

The local churches would also continue to social distancing while adopting a broad spectrum of safety measures.

City Administrator Kevin Werner said that Ripon has been on shutdown since March 19 while recently re-opening essential businesses, using education as an enforcement tool.

"The city has been reopened for business," said Councilman Mike Restuccia, referencing places that have been back in operation in recent weeks." We've met all the state mandates."