In reopening restaurants and salons, L.A. County tests whether it can prevent 2nd wave of coronavirus

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Despite having the most serious coronavirus outbreak in California, Los Angeles County on Friday was given the go-ahead to reopen restaurants for in-person dining, and resume services at barbershops and hair salons in the biggest test of whether the state can reopen the economy without causing COVID-19 to spread more rapidly.

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a request by L.A. County leaders to begin the next phase of reopening and businesses could be up and running this weekend.

Many smaller counties across California already allow restaurants to start serving meals again with social distancing and other safety regulations. But those regions have been hit far less hard than Los Angeles County, and health officials said there is a clear risk that L.A. County’s move could fuel more outbreaks if rules are not strictly followed.

Over the past few weeks, California’s first-in-the-nation stay-at-home order has been rapidly loosened as Newsom and others said the coronavirus threat had eased. The order is credited with helping California avoid the huge death tolls of hot spots such as New York and New Jersey but has devastated the economy.

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