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Solvang Council Wants the City to Reopen


By Jana Baltazar

During the Solvang Solvang City Council meeting, Council Members discussed possibilities to reopen establishments amidst the pandemic. Solvang leaders voted 4-1 to ask Governor Gavin Newsom to consider letting the tourism-driven Danish city reopen some of its establishments to the public.

Despite Councilwoman Karen Waite disagreeing with the notion, the majority of City Council members agreed to send a letter to state officials to let the city decide when and how to operate again.

Since most of the city’s industry relies on tourism, most of the business has been suffering since the shelter-at-home order took effect. This is also one of the reasons why the City Council wants a phased reopening of some establishments in order for the economy to still thrive.

Council Member Chris Djernaes – a supporter of reopening – also stressed that despite the order, a lot of people in Solvang are disobeying the governor’s orders: “Have you noticed the streets of Solvang? People aren’t paying attention to the governor’s orders anymore. They’re going out. They’re done,” he said. Djernaes also suggested that the city consider reopening places that have “wide open spaces” because social distancing will still be properly followed here.

Additionally, IDK Events is organizing a “Crawl, Walk, Run” marketing plan to help develop a safe return to business for the tenants in Solvang.
“What can we do, how can we set that up?” Asked Attorney Chip Wullbrandt, lawyer for the City of Solvang. “Can we have tables, you know, perhaps in the streets to provide social distancing? Should restaurants redesign in some way such as grocery stores have?”

As of this writing, no new positive cases have been reported for COVID-19 in the city, and residents continue to hope to flatten the curve so life to go return to normal. For now, the Council members emphasized that they cannot reopen anything unless the governor modifies his orders.

Some of the local merchants are planning to get together this Friday, May 1st at the Solvang Park from noon to 2:00 pm for a peaceful rally to show their support and demand for Solvang’s reopening.