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California Reopening During Coronavirus Pandemic: Gov. Newsom's Plans for Counties

2020-05-20 01:44:56
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“This is an important period of time,” he said. “In the next few weeks we are looking at a number of significant milestones.”

Already, though, 24 counties had been allowed to reopen more businesses under the prior criteria, he said. And the statistics the state has been tracking — including hospitalizations and Covid-19 cases requiring intensive care — have been promising.

Still, as The San Francisco Chronicle reported, even within the once-united Bay Area, paths are starting to diverge county by county, and the patchwork of rules has become a little confusing.

Mr. Newsom emphasized that local considerations would continue to drive his conversations with county health leaders.

Here’s what to know:

The governor said 53 out of 58 counties meet the new criteria. So does that mean they can all reopen?

Not yet. Mr. Newsom said that number was a rough estimate that would become clearer in the coming days.

And each county will have to file documentation showing that it meets the criteria and that officials have plans in place to help ensure restaurants keep customers apart and to reinstate restrictions if necessary.

Which counties have already been allowed to loosen restrictions?

So far, the bulk are smaller counties in far Northern California, but the list is expected to grow. You can find the list of counties, along with the documents officials filed with the state, here.

Did we get any more information on when other kinds of businesses can reopen?

Yes. Mr. Newsom said that in the next few weeks, stores may be open not just for curbside pickup. In the first week of June, sporting events may start taking place, although they’d still be without fans.

And for those of us feeling a bit shaggy, haircuts could be on the way somewhere in that same time frame.

I live in the Bay Area or Los Angeles. Does that change anything?

Yes. It’s important to remember that all the so-called regional variance also allows counties to keep stricter orders in place than the state’s, if local leaders say that’s appropriate.

Tell us how reopening is going in your community.

If you live in a county that has been allowed to reopen more quickly, we want to hear about your experience. If you’d like to share for potential publication, please email us at [email protected] with the answers to the following questions:

1. What is your name and age, and what county do you live in?

2. What was the first newly reopened business you visited?

3. What precautions, if any, did you take?

4. How did it feel to be out? Did you feel like you had a clear idea of how to manage risks?

Thanks for reading, and for your help.

We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times coverage, but we also encourage you to support local news if you can.

According to the governor’s office of emergency services, medical staff members from the Mercy will stay in the L.A. area to help at skilled nursing facilities and other sites.

  • Within minutes of opening up, phone lines crashed as calls flooded in for California’s landmark program to provide aid to undocumented workers — who pay taxes but have been left vulnerable. (The New York Times)

  • A federal judge ordered Los Angeles to move more than 6,000 unhoused people living near freeways into shelters. He said that the freeways and on- and off-ramps were particularly dangerous. (The New York Times)

  • A vaccine remains the most elusive and potentially effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19. Researchers in the Bay Area may have a leg up. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

  • If you missed it, Atwater, a small community in Merced County, declared itself a coronavirus “sanctuary city,” meaning its leaders are refusing to enforce state orders to keep some businesses closed. (Merced Sun-Star)

  • Disney’s top streaming executive quit on Monday to become the chief executive of TikTok. (The New York Times)

  • Can Airbnb survive the coronavirus pandemic? It’ll be difficult. (CityLab)

  • Trying to figure out where to hike or ride your bike in the Bay Area? Here’s a guide. (The San Francisco Chronicle)


Not to be corny, but if there is one thing I genuinely hope I will take with me once this is over — once life returns to something like normal — it is the ability to find joy in small things.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.


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