Re-opening begins Friday

Gov. Newsom outlines ‘slow and safe’ approach to loosen restrictions

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Re-opening begins FridayBased on promises made by Gov. Gavin Newsom during a Monday press conference, restrictions on “non-essential” operations will be relaxed for eligible regions and sectors, beginning today.

Newsom outlined last week a four-stage plan, which will be subsequently broken into phases for each stage, that authorized re-openings provided that all safety requirements have been met and that no outbreaks follow.

In Stage 1, California’s initial level of restrictions, the emphasis was on building out capabilities for testing and contact tracing, along with maintaining an adequate supply of personal protective equipment and healthcare capacity to weather a surge.

That stage also includes continued efforts to make essential workers as safe as possible while preparing to safety guidelines for an expansion, sector-by-sector, in the workforce.

Stage 2 will see the gradual re-opening of what Newsom’s office deemed “low-risk” workplaces — retailers that allow for curbside pickup, some office and manufacturing sectors and some public spaces.

Stage 3 will reopen “higher-risk” workplaces such as those offering personal care (stylists, salons, gyms), entertainment (movie theaters, sports venues without live audiences) and in-person religious services (church, weddings).

Stage 4, the final step, will reopen large venues including those for concerts, sports and conventions.

“We are also allowing, with consideration of additional criteria, the ability for containment plans and protection plans to be put into place in regions and counties throughout the state of California where we recognize their different conditions and we believe different criteria should be put into place,” said Newsom.

“So we are also announcing today the capacity for these other counties and regions to move further into Phase 2 [of Stage 2] that need to be locally certified,” he said. That certification will evaluate testing capacity, adherence to physical distancing, enhanced sanitation protocols and plans to protect vulnerable residents.

“If those criteria can be self-assessed and self-certified by county health officers, with the concurrence of county supervisors,” the state will allow accelerated movement into the phase.

He said that phase includes restaurants, hospitality institutions, book stores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting-good retailers and more. However, he said those businesses must operate by curbside pickup or delivery.

“It has to be done in a very thoughtful and judicious way,” he said. “It is a health-first focus.”

Newsom noted that many regions have already begun the groundwork. That includes Kern County, which met Tuesday to put plans in place to prepare for the actions. However, county officials noted that the governor’s office will not release guidance documents for the Stage 2 reopening until Thursday evening.

See related article for the Board of Supervisors discussion.

Pictured: A screen capture from Governor Newsom’s Monday press conference

Story First Published: 2020-05-05