California’s Newsom: ‘We’re Not Going Back To Normal’

Though California Gov. Gavin Newsom is allowing retail stores to reopen for “curbside pickup” on Friday, he emphasized to residents of the state this week that they are “not going back to normal” anytime soon. Instead, Californians must embrace the “new normal,” marked by continued social distancing measures, “until we get to immunity and a vaccine,” said the Democratic governor.

“We’re not going back to normal,” Newsom said during a press briefing Tuesday’s press briefing, as reported by SF Gate. “It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”

While Newsom announced on Monday that some retail sectors will be allowed to reopen for curbside service on Friday, among them sporting goods stores, clothing stores, book stores and flower shops, they must maintain certain new standards, including ensuring that all employees wear masks. Other guidelines are expected later this week.

The partial easing of the restrictions that begin Friday is part of Stage 2 of the governor’s four-phase reopening plan. As detailed by Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell and reported by ABC 7 last week, Newsom has laid out four stages for reopening the state, all contingent on various metrics and approval of health officials:

Stage 1: “Safety and Preparedness”

  • Making essential workforce environment as safe as possible

Stage 2: “Lower Risk Work Places”

  • Non-essential manufacturing (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.)
  • Schools
  • Childcare facilities
  • Retail businesses for curbside pick-up
  • Offices where working remotely isn’t possible, but can be modified to make the environment safer for employees

Stage 3: “Higher Risk Work Places”

  • Hair salons
  • Nail salons
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • Sporting events without live audiences
  • In-person religious services (churches and weddings)

Stage 4: “End of Stay-At-Home” Order

  • Concert venues
  • Convention centers
  • Sporting events with live audiences

While Newsom has not officially announced the statewide beginning of Stage 2, he is allowing counties to open some of the businesses and organizations listed in the second phase in some rural counties. Newsom is allowing counties to decide how much they loosen restrictions, saying, “We are not telling locals that feel it’s too soon, too fast to modify.”

The Bay Area is among the areas in the state which is choosing to maintain strict social distancing measures, including keeping most retail businesses shuttered, despite the governor’s new order.

“The modification to the state’s shelter-in-placer order allowing retail to open conflicts with a new mandate issued Monday in six Bay Area counties,” SF Gate notes. “The new Bay Area order prohibits most retail from opening through May 31. Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara have allowed essential businesses such as grocery stores to remain open during the pandemic and on Monday allowed outdoor retailers such as plant nurseries to welcome back customers.”

Related: California Man Arrested 3 Times In 12 Hours, Released Each Time Because Of Coronavirus ‘Zero-Bail’ Policy

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