Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 8

California Has Slowly Been Easing on Restrictions

by Mateo Requejo-Tejada

As we approach our third month under a stay-at-home order, many counties, including ours, have started easing up on restrictions as we approach phase 2 of Governor Newsom’s four-phase plan. This plan’s purpose is to safely transition California to a position where it can eventually reopen the economy. According to ABC 7 News, the plan is as follows: In Phase 1, everyone is either following stay at home orders or they’re part of the essential workforce. Phase 2 opens up lower risk workspaces “like childcare facilities, some office spaces with a minimum number of people, retail stores offering curbside pick-up, and schools.” Phase 3 involves “reopening higher risk workspaces like gyms, hair salons, nail salons, movie theaters, sporting events without a live audience, and in-person religious services (churches and weddings).” Lastly, Phase 4 would end the stay at home order “which would allow for the reopening of concert venues, convention centers, and sporting events with live audiences.”  Although we are in Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan, we are only in its early stages,  only allowing the opening of florists, car washes, outdoor museums, curbside retail, manufacturing, logistics, childcare for nonessential workers, open galleries, and other open spaces, with restrictions. These restrictions on open spaces like parks and beaches can include no access to parking, limited time at a location, face masks, being 6 feet apart from others, and locations closing on weekends. Once the State further ensures a comeback in overall public health and met some of Gavin Newsom’s requirements, Contra Costa and the rest of California can proceed with the rest of Phase 2. According to Mercury Newsm in order to qualify for the rest of phase 2, “Any county that wants to accelerate its reopening must submit a 12-page application, called a ‘local variance attestation,’ plus supporting documents.” The criteria of these applications goes as follows:

  • 1 or fewer cases per 10,000 residents the past 14 days
  • No deaths for the past 14 days
  • Minimum daily testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents, with recommendation of 2 per 1,000
  • Testing sites within 30 minutes of 75% of urban residents and 60 minutes of 75% of rural residents
  • 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents
  • Temporary housing available for 15% of population experiencing homelessness
  • Hospital capacity for 35% surge in COVID-19 patients
  • A “robust” plan to protect hospital workers and provide personal protective equipment
  • A 14-day supply and a documented supply chain of PPE for skilled nursing facilities

Once a county meets these requirements it will be able to slowly reopen schools with safety precautions, allow dining in restaurants, shopping in retail stores, and the opening of shopping malls.