State of California to Loosen Restrictions
The Governor of California announced Monday that the state is ready to move to loosen some restrictions on its stay-at-home order as soon as Friday.
“Stage 2” of reopening will allow for curbside pick-up at businesses such as bookstores, clothing stores, sporting goods, toy stores and florists, if retailers follow additional safety protocols that will be released Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
More importantly, local authorities will have more leeway to set their own guidelines based on conditions in their communities. Key measures of local readiness to open more will include local capacity for testing and tracing, he said.
Newsom said the next phase does not currently include the reopening of offices, dining inside restaurants or shopping at malls.
However, local officials will have the authority to accelerate or slow down reopening at the county level, Newsom said, which is a big change from the previous state order. It also sounds like some beaches may possibly reopen soon, though no details were released today.
The changes come as protests and frustration from some businesses and counties around the state continued to grow. Several county leaders in different parts of the state had started to let businesses open, and individual businesses in other parts of the state decided to open on their own.
Two of the industry’s most high profile retailers opened their doors for business this weekend despite state orders mandating closures.
Both Jack’s Surfboards and Huntington Surf & Sport in downtown Huntington Beach were open for business on Saturday and Sunday, though they do not appear to be open today. However, HSS’s coffee shop inside its store is open.
Aaron Pai, the owner of HSS, sent us the following statement about opening last weekend.
“Technically we are not open yet. A job is essential. We need to get back to work. Making a living and providing for our families is essential. Putting food on the table is essential. We have families to feed. We love Huntington Beach and Huntington Surf & Sport is essential to our community! We saw a lot of smiles this weekend and we can feel their love!!”
Before Newsom’s announcement Monday afternoon about the coming loosening of restrictions, Orange County had already released general guidelines that businesses should be thinking about now in anticipation for a coming opening.
The guidelines include:
- Maintaining six feet of distance between customer-facing employees and customers if possible
- Allowing customer-facing employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes or wear gloves
- Masks should be worn by both customers and employees
- Employers should take the temperature of employees before a shift and they should not be permitted to work with a temperature of above 100.4 degrees
- Physical barriers between employees and customers are preferred if possible.
- High-risk people over 65 or those with a chronic illness should stay home.
- Offices should continue to allow telecommuting by employees when practical. If employees need to come in, six feet of distance should be maintained between workspaces. If that is not possible, employees should wear masks.
“As we transition back to business as usual, we must do so in a manner that is conscious of the public health but also addressing the needs of businesses and their employees who need to put food on the table,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel. “When we talk about the business impact of COVID-19, we’re not just talking about money, we’re talking about people and their ability to provide for themselves and their families. These guidelines were put together over many long meetings to ensure that all industry representatives, medical professionals, and our legal counsel had input in order to best reflect business needs while simultaneously keeping in line with public health recommendations.”
Other states have begun easing stay-at-home orders, including Florida, a key state for the industry. The state began a partial reopening Monday allowing restaurants and shops in most of the state to open at 25% capacity. Some counties in the south of the state did not re-open, however because the outbreak is worse in those areas.