Newsom visits small business as owners race to reopen

Coronavirus
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke Tuesday during a visit to a store in Sacramento, as business owners around the state race to reopen as early as Friday.

A limited number of stores in California can finally open their doors this weekend, but only in line with strict health and safety measures. This will include “lower-risk” businesses that sell things such as clothing, sporting goods, electronics, flowers, toys or books, the governor said.

The businesses will need to change their practices — for example, stores might not allow people inside, but arrange for curbside pickup for online orders instead. Owners will need to provide more spacious layouts for employees, keep up with strict sanitation measures and follow other guidelines.

Manufacturers and logistics operations that support the reopening stores will also be allowed to open with modifications.

Newsom said county and city governments will be critical in making sure businesses introduce health measures responsibly. For its part, San Diego County released detailed guidelines Tuesday.

The governor said practicing physical distancing and staying home whenever possible remain vitally important to avoiding a second wave of cases when restrictions are loosened. That would strain a recovering health care system, force officials to impose stricter guidelines and lead to more deaths.

Newsom said that eventually, vaccination, testing and treatment options will be so robust that businesses can open up more freely. Until then, he urged residents not to take the new measures as a sign that the pandemic has passed.

“We’ll get there, that’s coming, that will happen,” the governor said Tuesday. “The question is: ‘What will happen in between?'”

The state is entering “Stage Two” of California’s four-stage plan for reopening the economy and other elements of daily life that have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Stage 1Safety and Preparedeness
Angell said this is the current state of affairs in California: making essential workplaces as safe as possible, stockpiling the state’s medical resources and staying home.

Stage 2: Lower-risk Workplaces
Officials say the next stage will see the gradual opening of non-essential businesses where social distancing measures are possible to put in place. This could include retail businesses that set up curbside pickup for customers, in addition to manufacturing and office jobs where floor plans can be rearranged.

The second stage would also include the start of education activities, again, with a heavy emphasis on changing layouts to allow more distancing. Childcare facilities with modifications could also be opened during this stage.

Stage 3: Higher-Risk Workplaces
Next, the state will reopen “higher-risk” businesses and gathering places. This will include businesses such as nail salons and barber shops that require close physical contact. It will also apply to places of worship and other gathering places where people sit closer together.

Stage 4: Ending the Stay-at-Home Order
When state health experts are satisfied with California’s progress toward “herd immunity” and a vaccine, any remaining restrictions on how people move around in the state will be lifted. Large-scale events such as concerts and sporting events will be possible.

The governor has emphasized that lifting restrictions will not work like a “light switch” but instead like a “dimmer,” with measures being lifted and potentially put back in place depending on how public health data reacts.

There are also plans in place for areas with “different conditions,” likely referring to rural areas that have been pressing the governor to allow counties with lower numbers of coronavirus cases to move ahead with reopening more quickly.

Under a new set of guidelines, those regions would be allowed to “move further into Stage Two” — but only once they have proven they have the capacity to test and treat an adequate number of people if cases spike, and that they have measures in place to protect vulnerable people in their population, Newsom said.

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