Newsom says shopping centers, some offices can now partially open

Coronavirus

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced some further loosening of the state’s stay-at-home order Tuesday, including new opportunities for businesses to reopen.

Offices where working remotely isn’t possible will now be allowed to bring people back to work, with modifications to their floor plans and new safety measures, the governor said. Shopping centers, including traditional malls, strip malls and outlets, will also be allowed to reopen for pickup outside of individual storefronts, according to Newsom.

The state has posted online guidelines that will apply to reopening businesses statewide, and has also published guidelines for counties that want to work with the state to go beyond the current measures and loosen virus restrictions even further on a local level.

San Diego County may push for that variance: The mayor and other prominent local officials have called on the governor in recent days to provide “realistic standards” for large counties that believe they can safely reopen more quickly than the state has allowed.

In all case, the governor emphasized, the statewide guidelines simply tell counties “how far” they can go. If local governments choose not to loosen specific requirements, that’s up to them, Newsom said.

The statewide conversation comes on the day Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, testified to a Senate committee that the “consequences could be really serious” if the nation rushes to reopen too quickly.

Newsom also announced Tuesday that California has now tested more than 1 million of its residents for COVID-19, a milestone in the state’s efforts to track the virus.

The governor encouraged anyone still seeking a test to visit the state’s website to find a free screening near them. Newsom said while pop-up sites seen around communities may require insurance or have an out-of-pocket cost, California has vastly expanded the number of free, government-funded sites.

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