Newsom: Most counties around state can now reopen further

Coronavirus
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom said most counties around the state will soon be free to lift the stay-at-home order further, allowing things such as dine-in at restaurants or shopping inside stores with modifications.

When and exactly how each county reopens will be up to local leaders, but they will be free to make those decisions once they meet a set of requirements set out by the state, Newsom said.

“Bottom line is: People can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials that understand their local communities and conditions,” Newsom said.

The new criteria he outlined applies to counties that want to reopen faster than the state. While retail may be open for curbside pickup statewide, restrictions on dining-in at restaurants and other services remain. Now counties can move faster if they win state approval.

Twenty-four counties in mostly rural Northern California have already won approval under an older, more strict set of guidelines. The new criteria eliminates requirements that a county have zero deaths and no more than than one case per 10,000 residents over a two-week period.

Instead, counties must have no more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents or no higher than an 8% positive rate among people testing for the coronavirus. They also must have no higher than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over a 7-day period or fewer than 20 hospitalizations total over 14 days. The latter will ensure small counties don’t get penalized for just one or two extra hospitalizations.

Newsom said counties will soon be able to allow hair salons to reopen. He also suggested professional sports could begin in June without spectators, and suggested the reopening of churches could begin within weeks.

The governor estimated 53 of the state’s 58 counties would be eligible under the new rules.

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