SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a much-anticipated address, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday laid out the guidelines for how businesses such as clothing stores, florists, bookstores and sporting goods shops can open their doors for the first time in nearly two months, as long as they follow certain rules and offer only curbside pickup.
He said the changes will be made in the retail, manufacturing and logistics sectors, in what he described as Phase 2.
Several businesses have already been following these practices of physical distancing and wearing protective gear already, but Newsom stressed that when they operate on Friday, they'll be doing it with the blessing of the state.
These new guidelines will not include other close-contact businesses, such as dine-in restaurants, museums, and hair salons.
"If anyone wants to move into a deeper part of the phase," Newsom said, they must check in with their health departments.
Counties must attest no more than one death per 4,000 people, and no deaths for two weeks, at least 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents as some benchmarks if counties wanted to reopen any earlier.
While saying he'd try to be flexible with the rules, Newsom added he'd be open to enforcing the laws if activities get out of control and too dangerous. As of Thursday, more than 2,500 people have died in California from coronavirus.
California Health and Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Ghaly the reopening will be gradual and this is "not a return to normal."
And he outlined some of the new guidelines:
Retail: Should increase pickup and delivery and encourage physical distancing.
Manufacturers: Should close break rooms, create outdoor break areas with physically distanced seating.
Warehouses: Should carry sanitation materials and use PPE for each stop.
The full list of guidelines will be posted on the California Department of Health website.
The allowances, which can begin Friday, will be a source of relief for a limited number of businesses in California, which have been at a near standstill since March 19.
That's when Newsom declared mandatory stay-at-home orders to flatten the curve of coronavirus.
Some areas, such as Yuba and Sutter counties, which have not seen a large number of coronavirus deaths, have already begun to open up their economies, despite not getting the official go-ahead.
Here in the Bay Area, the lockdown began three days earlier and may not let up even though Newsom has loosened the rules.
Only two North Bay counties this week told KTVU they're interested in following Newsom's lead. However, the other Bay Area counties said they were waiting for more data and science before lifting restrictions. Marin County said logistically, they might not be ready to open up curbside pickup until May 18.
The guidelines are part of Newsom’s four-step plan to reopen the state.
Phase 3, which could reopen salons, gyms, movie theaters and in-person church services, could be months away.
Phase 4 would end all restrictions and allow for large gatherings at concerts and sporting events.
The Newsom administration is tracking six indicators to determine when to ease restrictions. They include the state’s ability to test people for COVID-19 and trace who might have been exposed to it and the capacity of hospitals to handle a potential surge of new cases.
So far, Newsom has said the state is on track to meet its goals.
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.