Retail and other businesses deemed to be at a lower risk during the COVID-19 outbreak can reopen as soon as the end of the week if they implement the necessary safety measures, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.
That can mean curbside pickup as early as Friday at retailers such as clothing stores, bookstores, and in time for Mother’s Day, florists, as well the manufacturing and supply chains involved in those businesses.
The move marks the second phase of a four-stage reopening roadmap Newsom laid out at the end of April. Hair and nail salons, entertainment and sporting venues, religious services and weddings are part of the third stage, which will start in “months, not weeks,” the governor said at the time.
This week’s advancement will not include shopping malls, dine-in seating at restaurants and offices that can operate remotely, Newsom and California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell emphasized.
Local jurisdictions may keep rules that are more or less strict than the state’s, as long as they continue to help California’s goals in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Rural areas may reopen more businesses, for example, while some places like the Bay Area choose to impose limits more restrictive than the state’s.
Newsom also noted that customers may not be willing to come right away and underscored the need for businesses to prioritize safety.
State authorities plan to release further guidelines on reopening on Thursday.
The announcement came as three counties in Northern California have started to defy the statewide stay-at-home order and reopen businesses.
The state also just agreed to reopen Laguna Beach and San Clemente beaches days after Newsom ordered the closure of Orange County’s coast.
On Monday, California reported a 1.9% decline in its COVID-19 hospitalization rate and 39 new deaths—an improvement to the number of fatal cases that in past weeks reached the triple digits.
The losses nonetheless serve as a tragic reminder of the pandemic’s toll on many California families, the governor said. The coronavirus has killed more than 2,200 people in the state.
“This virus has not gone away,” Newsom said. “Let’s not develop amnesia. Let’s not forget why we’re in this position in the first place.”