California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said some of the state's retail businesses could begin reopening with modifications by the end of this week if certain criteria are met.
Newsom said state officials will issue further guidance Thursday on the state's next phase of reopening, which will include specific guidelines that low-risk businesses must meet in order to reopen with modifications as soon as Friday.
He said retailers of such items as clothing, books, music, toys and sporting goods, as well as florists, would be allowed to offer curbside pickup services if they institute guidelines set forth by the state. Associated manufacturers that support the retail industry would also be allowed to begin production, Newsom added.
"We are entering into the next phase this week ... with modifications, we will allow retail to start operating across the spectrum," Newsom said at his daily press briefing. "This is a very positive sign, and it has happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen."
His office later tweeted that the order does not include office spaces, restaurants and shopping malls.
Newsom said the state would also allow some counties to begin easing social distancing restrictions even further if they can prove they have the ability to institute proper sanitation practices, ensure adequate testing and tracing and provide security to those who are most vulnerable, including the homeless community, older citizens and the incarcerated.
"We will allow additional movement through phase two, and that includes the prospect of restaurants with modifications opening, hospitality more broadly opening, again, with modification," Newsom said.
Phase three of the state's reopening plan includes businesses such as hair and nail salons, movie theaters and events with live audiences, although the state is not at that phase yet.
Newsom's announcement comes after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on April 27 that the city would extend its stay-at-home order through May.
When asked about the order, Newsom said the city has guidelines that are "a little more strict" and they have the right to not come into compliance with the state's guidelines.
However, he said more rural parts of the state that meet the criteria set forth may want to go even further with their reopenings, which they would be allowed to do with conditions and modifications.
Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell said key data points have allowed the state to move forward with easing restrictions, including the stability of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 and the state's ability to conduct more testing and contact tracing.
Newsom said the state is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Los Angeles, which will begin offering contact tracing courses to expand the state's current ability to trace contacts of known positive Covid-19 cases. The state currently has 3,000 contact tracers, but these courses will add 20,000 throughout the next few phases of reopening.
Angell said the state also has adequate levels of personal protective equipment, including over 18.2 million surgical masks and 5.8 million face shields, and hundreds of millions more masks have been ordered. The state also has over 10,000 ventilators not in use and over 2,000 hospital beds ready to accept patients.
"Our surge capacity is really in a good place," Angell said.