Note: California is continuously certifying counties to speed up the Stage 2 reopening process. Find the state's list of certified counties here.
California has certified at more than a dozen counties to reopen additional businesses, including allowing dine-in restaurants to open with restrictions, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
The counties (see map below) have self-certified that they passed state guidelines released last week for allowing additional industries to reopen. On Friday the state moved into what officials term Stage 2, allowing for curbside retail, manufacturing, and childcare for those not working for essential businesses.
Additionally, all counties can reopen offices for those who can't work remotely, malls for pick -up only — including outlet malls and strip malls — and services such as car washes and pet grooming.
"Over 70% of our economy in California is open with modifications," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his Tuesday press briefing. "... I hope that's an encouraging sign both from a health perspective and an economic perspective."
Butte and El Dorado were the first counties to be certified. Butte County Supervisor Tami Ritter said that while the county has had two recent cases, overall its numbers have remained low, with 20 total confirmed cases and no deaths related to COVID-19.
"A lot of rural communities are seeing these low numbers, and because of the immediate shelter-in-place I think our numbers have stayed low," Ritter said. "The one piece we are being told is that in the event we have a surge this could go in the other direction and we could close things back up."
Ritter said Butte County chose to go through the certification process instead of reopening sooner to avoid a potential loss of state funding. Modoc, Sutter and Yuba counties reopened some businesses last week, but received a letter from the California Office of Emergency services saying the state could withhold disaster funds.
While there is a fear residents of other counties could come to Butte now that it has opened sooner, Ritter said businesses will have to meet criteria set down by the state to reopen, including requirements for personal protective equipment and social distancing.
"Those businesses will be responsible for self-certifying," Ritter said. "They are not supposed to open unless they can meet those mitigations."
Overall, 27 counties have applied for a variance, Newsom said. But he said that counties must continue to follow the statewide stay-at-home order until its variance is approved, though the new guidelines aren't static.
"We are not ideologues," Newsom said. "We are in the spirit of collaboration and want to address those issues and do what is possible. There are some unique characteristics within counties where they are hitting 13 of the 14 guidelines and they have a unique circumstance."
Even after counties are certified, restaurants must meet criteria set out by the state Tuesday, including temperature checks, asking customers to wait in their vehicles, and ensuring physical distancing of at least six feet between customers and workers.
Newsom said California is now conducting around 35,000 tests a day, though the governor's goal is to get to 60,000 to 80,000 tests per day. Tuesday he announced a new executive order allowing pharmacies to do testing.
Newsom says the State Board of Pharmacy will oversee the rollout with help from the Department of Consumer Affairs.
"There are protocols and procedures, appropriate protective gear, making sure that we isolate folks that may be symptomatic, may be asymptomatic, but our concern, we obviously have to work through all those, that will be done on each site," Newsom said.
There are 6,492 pharmacies licensed in the state, though he acknowledged not all will be offering the tests.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Tami Ritter. She is a Butte County Supervisor.
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