Marysville City Council member Stephanie McKenzie has encouraged business owners and residents to attend a rally in support of reopening Northern California businesses later this week. In some cases, that might run counter to orders from the governor’s office and/or local health officials.

McKenzie is also a director of the Yuba-Sutter Community Task Force, and has expressed interest in running for mayor of Marysville.

 She said the response to the coronavirus pandemic should not impinge on people’s rights under the Constitution and that people do not need to be ordered to employ social distancing.

“These are my personal views, but I know I represent a large number in our community who share similar views,” McKenzie said via email.

McKenzie shared a flyer on Facebook for the rally to be hosted by the Church of Glad Tidings in Live Oak this Friday at 7 p.m. KrisAnne Hall, an attorney specializing in constitutional law, will be speaking about government overreach in response to the pandemic.

On Thursday night, the Yuba-Sutter Community Task Force’s Facebook page shared a post from McKenzie, encouraging people to send a “notice of non-consent” to their elected representatives asking them to vote against a congressional bill that would increase contact tracing for the coronavirus and have some tests done at people’s homes.

The Yuba-Sutter Community Task Force is made up of stakeholders from different sectors of the community organized to identify needs in the community and come up with solutions by using charitable and educational methods, according to the group’s Facebook page. The Yuba-Sutter COVID-19 Relief Task Force is one of the group's projects, according to McKenzie.

McKenzie said the virus should be taken seriously but not to the level that it has gotten to. She noted the high rate for recovery and treatments available that are effective. (There are no drugs or other therapeutics currently approved to prevent or treat COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.)

She said the guidelines set out by public health officials about hand hygiene and staying home when sick are adequate ways to deal with the situation. People’s right to earn a living by working, running a business, moving about freely, exercising religion and gathering with no size restrictions are all protected under the Constitution, and any steps taken that impede those rights are on overreach, McKenzie said.

“I think all businesses should be reopened, and they should be free to choose the accommodations best suited to their circumstances to provide a healthy environment for their employees and their customers,” McKenzie said.

 When it comes to social distancing guidelines, McKenzie said people are capable of assessing the risk of their own behavior and should be able to choose how to manage their personal space.

“We don’t need orders or tape to enforce showing consideration for others, and people are quite able to keep their distance from others if they so choose,” McKenzie said. “What I’ve seen happen in this distancing requirement and virus scare [is] that it has made people afraid of each other.”

McKenzie said the government’s role should be providing education, information and help to vulnerable populations, the medical system and in getting supplies. She said the programs to provide meals and prescriptions for seniors and making sure the hospitals have adequate capacity are examples of what governments should be doing.

“Government should be a support to the people, not a controller of the people,” McKenzie said. 

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