California allows in-store shopping across state with approval by county health officials

California

Retailers across California can now reopen their doors to shoppers as long as county health officials approve and the businesses follow safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, state authorities said Monday.

The move was only previously allowed in counties that have met the state’s criteria to reopen more businesses under the second phase of California’s four-stage recovery roadmap.

According to the state’s website on Monday, only 12 of 58 counties have not attested that they’re ready to reopen stores and malls for in-store shopping and restaurants for dine-in services.

That includes Los Angeles County, which has reported roughly half of California’s COVID-19 cases.

While Orange and San Bernardino counties received the greenlight to reopen more businesses over the Memorial Day weekend, L.A. County officials had not planned to follow their lead until at least July 4th.

But L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who has pushed for the reopening of small businesses, said Monday that the county will likely update its health order to allow retailers to open.

She tweeted after the state’s announcement: “ALL retail stores statewide will now be able to reopen for in-store shopping under the same rules Target and Walmart have been able to operate under throughout this crisis.”

In another tweet, Hahn thanked Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying, “As we continue to battle this virus, this policy will make all the difference to the small businesses in our communities that are struggling to survive this crisis.”

The L.A. County Department of Public Health later said in a news release that retail stores remain closed to public entry under the current health officer order, and public and private gatherings of any number of people outside of a single household are still not allowed.

The reopening of retail stores is “subject to approval by county public health departments,” the California Department of Public Health said in a news release.

Under the relaxed rules, retailers still must implement physical distancing, employee training and other measures to ensure the safety of workers and customers.

Employees should have facial coverings, and customers are highly recommended to wear them. Stores should be at no more than 50% of their maximum capacity and be prepared to have customers line up outside while maintaining social distancing.

More information about the guidelines for retailers can be found on the state’s website.

Hair and nail salons, deemed to be at a higher risk during the pandemic, are not included in Monday’s announcement.

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