Statement: The Onus is on California Department of Public Health

February 23, 2021

Lobbyists from KP Associates, Alice Kao of Sender One, Jeffrey Bowling of Touchstone, and Kristin Horowitz of Ascent Ventures / The Pad Climbing met with California senior business advisors Chris Dombrowski and Che Salinas today to discuss the status of our proposal to California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to reopen indoor climbing facilities.

Despite meeting with the CDPH back in November, there had been no follow up. We sent a letter to Dr Mark Ghaly, of CDPH, requesting movement or an update, and included previously suggested guidelines both to make minimal changes AND new in-depth industry guidelines to facilitate the process.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's Dr Pat Fidopiastis, virologist advisor to CICC, sent in a letter of support for our industry guidelines, "[I am] 100% confident in my support for opening climbing gyms in California. As a microbiologist with over 30-years of experience working with many types of human pathogens (including SARS CoV2), I would have no reservations taking my family to climb if gyms were allowed to open tomorrow."

Today's meeting confirmed that CDPH is the entity holding up progress. However, Dombrowski and Salinas informed us that the Governor’s office and CDPH are currently working on a revision to the existing, color-coded “tier” system that incorporates vaccination rates. 

Dombrowski provided no details about whether the revisions would benefit our industry specifically; or what the revisions would look like, but he added that he hoped it would make us and many, many others happy. He provided no definitive timeline, but implied the tier revision could be released in the coming weeks.

"It's positive news that we're on their radar," CICC founder Alice Kao said, "It was a bit more hopeful meeting than I was anticipating. The prospect of tier changes and their reassurance that our materials are being considered means something."

CICC Founder Kristin Horowitz added, however, "Now that we know where the bottle neck is, it's important we don't let up the gas the next few weeks. We need our community to let public health know that the science is good and this is call they can make that's a win."

CICC encourages all supporters to send a letter to California Department of Public Health, pursue press coverage, and reach out to to their legislators to request assistance in getting us heard.