Serving the community since 1970

Restrictions revived as cases spike

Non-essential businesses shuttered again

For the second time in three months, Shafter has shut down its city buildings, as well most of the businesses in town, because the governor has placed Kern County back on the state’s watch list during the coronavirus pandemic. With the spike in new cases in Kern County, the region was forced to close all non-essential businesses and services. Restaurants with outside dining areas are allowed to serve customers, as well as offer take-out and delivery. Other businesses, such as hair salons, movie theaters and gyms, are being shut down.

Although city buildings are closed to the public, business is being conducted over the phone, online, or through a window in the back alleyway of City Hall.

As of Monday, July 27, Shafter has had 601 confirmed cases of covid-19, with a little over 200 of those cases recovered. Wasco has similar numbers, with 637 confirmed cases and 179 of those recovered.

Businesses that remain open are being cautious, with customers having to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while inside.

With the school year set to begin in a little more than a week, teachers, administrators, students and parents are preparing for the many changes. After planning to integrate in-person attendance reopening their plan, the Richland School District had to change their master plan to full-time distance learning. This will last at least until the end of the first quarter, which is October 9.

One uncertainty when it comes to school is the status of the Shafter branch of the Kern County Library system. With recent budget cuts, there is no guarantee that local branches, including those in Shafter and Wasco, will reopen. Currently, there are only seven branches that are open throughout Kern County. Those are offering curbside pick-up, allowing residents to select books from their inventory and then pick them up at curbside. According to Ethan Picman, director for the Shafter branch, , there is a chance that Shafter and Wasco may not lose their libraries. He also encouraged residents to contact their representative on the Board of Supervisors, David Couch, to plead the case for keeping the library in Shafter open.


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