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Making sense of California's phased reopening during coronavirus

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When California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the plan to reopen the state in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency, he said recovery would take place over four phases. Weeks later, it can be easy to forget just where the state currently stands.

It was in April that Newsom announced California was in Phase 1, which involved the state building up stockpiles of personal protective equipment, training contact tracers and expanding its testing capabilities.

Now, California is working its way through the second phase of the reopening, though some counties are even further along in the phase.

So what’s Phase 2?

It includes the reopening of retail, modified to be curbside pickup, as well as manufacturing, offices (in cases where workers can’t telecommute) and child care services.

Phase 2 also governs the reopening of restaurants for dine-in services, and in-store retail shopping, as long as safety modifications are made.

However, those two categories are considered “late” Phase 2, only accessible to those counties which have achieved a variance from the state by demonstrating that they meet certain criteria, such as having fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days and a minimum of testing of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents.

Phase 3 involves the reopening of higher risk workplaces, including hair and nail salons, gyms, movie theaters and churches.

Newsom said in his Monday press conference that California is likely “a few weeks” away from hair salons, part of Phase 3, being allowed to reopen, and he likewise said churches would be allowed to resume in-person services in the near future.

Sporting events, without fans, are also a part of Phase 3’s reopening, and Newsom has said such events could be allowed to take place as early as June.

Phase 4, Newsom has said at past press conferences, is months away. That involves a complete reopening of California’s economy, including the return of conventions, sporting events with fans and music concerts.

The state recommends that higher-risk individuals stay home until then.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

Track cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world here.

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