SAN DIEGO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday the state rapidly is approaching the second phase of its reopening plan with new modifications going into place this week for retailers, manufacturers and warehouses, among others.
Starting Friday, the state will allow retailers to increase pick-up and delivery options for customers while encouraging them to install hands-free devices to complete transactions, part of the state’s second phase in dealing with COVID-19. Newsom said modifications come with an eye on “turning the page” in hopes of moving into another phase of the state’s economic recovery.
The plan includes reopening manufacturers — now asked to close interior breakrooms and create outdoor break areas for employees — and warehouses, which are being called upon to provide employees sanitation materials and personal protective equipment for deliveries.
It doesn’t yet include dine-in restaurants, car washes or outdoor museums, but the governor said all are being considered as the next phases are implemented. A new direction from the state on dine-in restaurants could come as early as Tuesday, he said.
“We are moving forward, but we’re doing it always with an eye to be led by the data, the science and public health indicators,” Newsom said.
Asked about the potential for college and professional sports returning, Newsom said it’s difficult to imagine stadiums filled again without immunity and a vaccine.
He called it “a challenging question,” and one that’s being asked by league officials, too.
“Imagine what the leagues broadly do when one of their key personnel or players test positive,” he said. “Do they quarantine the rest of the team if an offensive lineman is practicing with a defensive lineman and they test positive? What happens to the rest of the line with a game coming up next weekend? It’s inconceivable to me that that isn’t a likely situation.”
The governor opened his Thursday news conference by calling on the federal government for more financial support to help California manage its coronavirus recovery. It comes as the past several months have ravaged state budget projections for the year, which in January included a roughly $6 billion surplus. Last year, the state recorded a $21.4 billion operating surplus.
Newsom said the state’s budget office now projects “tens of billions of dollars of shortfalls,” all of which he’s attributed to the fallout of COVID-19. He said the shortfalls don’t just impact the state, but many of its cities and county governments, which tend to employ police officers, firefighters and public health officials.
“We have to recognize this moment requires a historic effort of partnership, not just between a governor and a state legislature, but between states and the federal government,” he said.
Newsom praised U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump for their responses to COVID-19 — particularly for the approximately $2 trillion CARES Act enacted in March — but he also requested more of the federal government to “help us through this moment.”