Newsom: Counties can chart their own path through Phase 3 reopening

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom touted the importance of “localism” in his coronavirus media briefing Friday, saying counties around the state now have control over how quickly they move through Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.

The third recovery phase includes reopening services that require some level of close contact, such as retail stores, restaurant dining rooms and barbershops, if those businesses take significant precautions and modify their spaces.

Some regions have been moving more quickly into Phase 3 than others, including San Diego County, by applying for variances to the state’s stay-at-home order. Now all California counties will be clear to chart their path forward, Newsom said Friday.

That freedom ends when counties reach Phase 4 — which includes large gatherings such as concerts or sporting events, the governor said. There is no set date for when California will begin issuing guidelines for resuming those gatherings.

In addition to herd immunity and the race for a vaccine, a significant milestone for further reopening the state will be contact tracing — the process of following the path of the virus from one person to another in order to find the source of outbreaks and head off COVID-19’s spread through a community.

The governor said California will have 10,000 people trained to make the outreach and investigations necessary for a widespread tracing effort by July 1.

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