California Gov. Gavin Newsom says some businesses will reopen Friday, with conditions

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Gavin Newsom, governor of California, speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Rich Pedroncelli | AP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said that some of the state’s retail businesses could begin reopening with modifications by the end of this week if certain criteria was met. 

Newsom said that state officials will issue further guidance on Thursday to move into the state’s next phase of reopening, which will include specific guidelines that low-risk businesses must meet in order to reopen with modifications as soon as Friday. 

He said retailers, like those for clothing, books, music, toys, florists and sporting goods, would be allowed to offer curbside pick-up services if they institute guidelines set forth by the state. Associated manufactures that support the retail industry would also be allowed to begin production, Newsom added.

“We are entering into the next phase this week … with modifications, we will allow retail to start operating across the spectrum,” Newsom said at his daily press briefing. “This is a very positive sign and it has happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen.”  

His office later tweeted that the order does not include office spaces, restaurants and shopping malls. 

Newsom said the state would also allow some counties to begin easing social distancing restrictions even further if they can prove they have the ability to institute proper sanitation practices, ensure adequate testing and tracing and provide security to those who are most vulnerable, including the homeless community, older citizens and the incarcerated.

“We will allow additional movement through phase two, and that includes the prospect of restaurants with modifications opening, hospitality more broadly opening, again, with modification,” Newsom said.

Phase three of the state’s reopening plan includes businesses like hair and nail salons, movie theaters and events with live audiences, although the state is not at that phase yet.

Newsom’s announcement comes after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on April 27 that the city would extend its stay-at-home order through May. When asked about the order, Newsom said the city has guidelines that are “a little more strict” and they have the right to not come into compliance with the state’s guidelines. 

However, he said more rural parts of the state that meet the set forth criteria may want to go even further with their reopenings, which they would be allowed to do with conditions and modifications. 

Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell said that key data points have allowed the state to move forward with easing restrictions, including the stability of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 and the state’s ability to conduct more testing and contact tracing. 

Newsom said the state is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Los Angeles, which will begin offering courses in contact tracing to expand the state’s current ability to trace contacts of known positive Covid-19 cases. The state currently has 3,000 contact tracers, but this course will add an additional 20,000 throughout the next few phases of reopening. 

Angell said the state also has adequate levels of personal protective equipment, including over 18.2 million surgical masks and 5.8 million face shields, and an additional hundreds of millions of masks have been ordered. The state also has over 10,000 ventilators not in use and over 2,000 hospital beds ready to accept patients. 

“Our surge capacity is really in a good place,” Angell said. 

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