State opening up as Newsom announces two counties qualify for Stage 2 of reopening

It’s no longer “essential” businesses that are open but now “lower risk” businesses that are allowed to operate as the state slowly opens up.

Governor Newsom announced today that Butte and El Dorado Counties have successfully advanced to the second phase of Stage 2 and that their attestations can be found online at covid19.ca.gov. Two other counties have completed their attestations, self-certified, and will soon open.

Twenty five other counties are actively collaborating with the state public health office to push through Stage 2 but that not all of them will qualify.

Kern County has been in a “spirited debate” he said, with state tech personnel in charge of aiding counties to write their attestations. Newsom said that some counties such as Kern are unique and hit 13 of the 14 metrics. Such counties that have a prison in their jurisdiction that they do not run are asking for an exemption of those facilities when calculating statistics.

“We are working in the spirit of cooperation,” and basing decisions on data and public health, said Newsom. He said the state will adjudicate the nuances and do as much as possible to get those counties open.

Newsom also said during his press conference that as of May 12, 70% of business and industry are open with modifications, though one reporter questioned the accuracy of that percentage.

What can open

Businesses that can open as of today are offices that cannot telecommute, malls, strip malls, and outlet malls for curbside pick up only, carwashes, pet grooming, dog walking and dine-in restaurants. The state guidelines for dine-in restaurants are not based on capacity but how many customers can be served while conducting proper public distancing.

On the state’s website Newsom said they have posted two sets of guidelines, one that is statewide and the other for counties that qualify for regional variances.

Newsome said opening up is a dynamic process that lets some harder hit areas of the state such as the Bay Area and Los Angeles decide not to advance to Stage 2. On the flipside he said that some counties are ready to move faster and are permitted to surpass the state guidelines.

More rural counties such as Kern and Kings Counties are hoping to qualify for the regional variances and fully adopt Stage 2.

Tulare County is currently experiencing a spike in infections and will take longer to meet the state metrics such as testing, contact tracing and deaths per day. Newsom reported that statewide admittance to ICU units is down while hospitalizations are up and acknowledges those numbers are different county by county.

Newsom concluded his press conference by saying that while we begin the process of opening up we need to do so while taking into consideration those most vulnerable, such as our seniors. The worst mistake we can make, he said, is allow ourselves to think that COVID -19 will take the summer off.

“This disease is ubiquitous and deadly,” Newsom said.

 

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