Some California businesses are only weeks away from being able to reopen, though other businesses like salons and theaters will likely have to wait months longer, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
The state is also considering reopening schools as early as late July or early August to make up for interrupted learning this spring.
Newsom unveiled highly anticipated details for a phased reopening of California’s economy, though his plans did not include dates for when those changes will come.
His plan includes four phases for allowing businesses and schools to resume operations.
While California is still in “phase one,” Newsom said the next phase is “weeks, not months away” if current trends hold.
Phase two includes allowing “lower-risk” workplaces to reopen as long as they can implement physical distancing and other health guidelines to keep workers and customers safe.
Those businesses include:
- Offices, when telework is not possible
- Schools and childcare
- Other public spaces
The governor said he hasn’t reached a firm decision on when to reopen schools, either. He has said earlier that may include some distance learning and staggered in-school schedules to accommodate smaller class sizes.
Dr. Sonia Angell, California’s State Health Officer, acknowledged that such changes are not without risks.
“As we move to this next stage, it’s not about removing the risk entirely. It’s about minimizing risk,” she said. That includes ensuring hospitals are able to care for patients if a surge occurs.
Phase three includes opening:
- Hair and nail salons
- In-person religious services and weddings
- Smaller entertainment venues like movie theaters
- Sports without live audiences
Phase four includes large entertainment venues and events like concerts, and will be the final restriction to loosen.
Officials say the third and fourth phases of the economic restart are still months away, though.
“We are not going back to the way things were until” there is widespread immunity or a vaccine, Newsom said.
An asterisk on Newsom’s plan includes reinstituting a stay-at-home order if the disease begins to spread quickly as restrictions loosen.
“If we pull back and we modify our stay at home order too early, and we start to see an increase in surge cases, hospitalizations and spread, then we have to have the ability to toggle back,” he said. “We have to have the ability to fix it.”
Watch live at 12 p.m. as California Gov. Gavin Newsom gives an update on COVID-19 in the state.
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