May 18, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom relaxed rules that have kept the state under tight stay-home orders, a change that could open up most counties. Roughly 53 of California’s 58 counties are now eligible to choose to move into the second of four reopening stages. Newsom announced the changes on Monday during a visit to Napa.
The decision was based on additional data that suggested rates of hospitalizations and COVID-19 patients treated in intensive care units were stabilizing. Also, “encouraging progress as we move forward deeper into phase two in the state” according to Gov. Newsom, is the that fact that the state’s testing is increasing and there’s more protective gear available for healthcare workers, as well as a sophisticated tracing program is in place including 500 new tracers.
The progress and loosening of rules will allow restaurant dining rooms and shopping malls to open again in counties that meet the new criteria. There may be bigger changes in the works, too. Gov. Newsom hinted later stages of the state’s reopening may be coming in early June, including opening hair salons and possibly sporting events without spectators.
Gov. Newsom said, “This is an important period of time. We’re moving into an important few weeks ahead of us. We’re going to start seeing a lot more activity. Let’s just make sure we do it thoughtfully and very, very strategically.”
Newsom indicated 24 counties have self-attested that they’ve met the state’s criteria to move into Stage 2. Immediate changes are not expected for Los Angeles County because it continues to see increases in confirmed cases and deaths.
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