by Ally Hoogs

Graphic by Cael Hill

California Governor Gavin Newsom and state public health officer Dr. Sonia Angel started, on April 21, “phase 1” of a multiple step plan to reopen California, a state currently with  strict self-isolation policies for COVID-19.

The current phase includes, according to Nick Garber of the Lamorinda Patch, “creating a safe environment for essential workers and laying out plans for easing restrictions in the future,” which a planning phase for the months to come, in order to reopen as much as possible while still staunching the spread of COVID. 

According to Angell, whom Garber summarized, phase two will start when “a statewide modification to its stay-home order,” through the state reaching “sufficient testing and contact racing capacity, hospitalization and ICU trends must stabilize, and there must be enough personal protective equipment to meet demand.

In a press briefing on May 4, Gavin Newsom reported that phase two will enable “retailer[s] with the modifications and the guidelines…set forth on Thursday to begin to reopen for pickup….other businesses within that retail sector…and around those sectors will be allowed to move forward into this phase two.”

Newsom also mentioned that although the new state-wide phase began the week of May 4, city legislatures will still have to respond and create specific legislation for certain areas with higher risk, or more cases of COVID. For example, Newsom stated that if the Bay Area chooses to impose stricter limitations, “, [it has] that right.”

Angell stated that key metrics include “stability of our hospitalizations, personal protective equipment inventory, making sure that we have healthcare search capacity…testing capacity…contact tracing capacity and that we have public health guidance in place…with all of those indicators, we are on track” for getting the state into phase two. 

Other parts of phase two might include the possible early opening of schools in late July and early August. Newsom said that the social distance learning protocols are “inadequate” and therefore the new school year should make up some of the lost time.