Amid increased challenge from local governments, California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that some companies may reopen on Friday with restrictions to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The second phase of the governor’s four-point reopening plan allows retailers such as clothing stores, sporting goods and florists to resume operations with sidewalk pickup.
It did not immediately include dining in restaurants and the reopening of offices, which were on the previously established Phase 2 plans.
Newsom said a key consideration for entering Phase 2 is the ability of health authorities to assess and track contact infections.
The announcement came when businesses reopened in two other northern California counties. Yuba and Sutter counties followed last week’s initiative in rural Modoc County amid pressure to restart California’s economy, even as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue.
Newsom’s six-week order required nearly 40 million residents to stay primarily at home.
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Sutter and Yuba counties allowed the reopening of restaurants, retail stores, shopping malls, gyms, salons, libraries, and even tattoo parlors, but only if they limit the number of people inside and enforce physical distance.
Sutter County Supervisor Dan Flores said the decision was made by the county’s shared health officer, Dr. Phuong Luu. Flores says county leaders have tried in vain many times to have the Newsom administration review its plan.
More than 2,200 Californians have died from the coronavirus, and nearly 55,000 have been confirmed to have it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of infections is believed to be much higher due to a lack of evidence.
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On Monday, the Newsom administration approved the reopening of beaches in the cities of Laguna Beach and San Clemente in Orange County. The state’s Natural Resources Agency said cities submitted plans with measures to avoid overcrowding and allow physical distancing.
The approvals came days after Newsom ordered all Orange County beaches closed due to large crowds flocking there during a heat wave late last month. Some people still tried to go to the forbidden beaches last weekend.
In Northeast California, Modoc County Sheriff Tex Dowdy said the zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the 9,000 county residents was a deciding factor in allowing a “phased and safe” reopening last Friday.
Yuba and Sutter counties, north of Sacramento, are much larger with a combined population of approximately 175,000 people, many of whom travel to jobs in the capital region. Counties have seen 50 confirmed cases of the disease and three deaths.
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