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Public Policy Newsletter Article

COVID-19 Public Health Orders Updated in Regions throughout the State

  • 2020-05-21T13:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Melanie Cohn

As we enter the third month of many of us sheltering in place, the policy team has adjusted to daily (and sometimes hourly) updates of public health orders and recommendations being released by local governments throughout the state. We are continually communicating these updates to our members and sharing their feedback and questions with local government and regulatory representatives.

In the Bay Area, counties are easing restrictions at different degrees according to Governor Newsom’s multi-phased plan to reopen California:
Phase 1: Safety and Preparedness Make workplaces safe for essential workers.
Phase 2: Lower-Risk Workplaces Early stages allow retail to reopen with only curbside pickup, childcare, manufacturing, and logistics. Later stages relax retail restrictions, adapt and reopen schools, offices and limited hospitality, personal services.
Phase 3: Higher-Risk Workplaces Adapt and reopen movie theaters, religious services, and more personal and hospitality services.
Phase 4: End of Stay-at-Home Order Reopen areas of highest risks: concerts, conventions, and sports arenas.

Solano, Sonoma, and Napa counties began a slow reopening on May 8th, allowing retail with curbside pickup and some manufacturing. On May 18th, a core group of Bay Area counties released a joint statement reporting significant progress on COVID-19 and a plan to begin the early stages of Phase 2. The counties include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Clara. Orders take effect in these counties between May 18th and May 22nd. Counties are releasing lists of businesses permitted to operate (e.g. Alameda) and are examining options to progress further through Phase 2 to allow things such as limited reopening of dine-in restaurants.

In San Diego, May 19th brought a unanimous vote by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to accelerate through the Phase 2 reopening plan, which allows for in-store shopping and would let dine-in restaurants reopen. The vote came as a result of San Diego County’s COVID-19 Response Team confirming the county has satisfied new state metrics for phased reopening. Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten noted that if the health care system becomes strained, the county could pull back easing.

The board also voted to send Governor Newsom a pilot program plan for Phase 3 of the county’s reopening. If approved, it could allow for the reopening of certain facilities like sports and fitness clubs, salons, and outdoor religious services. Supervisor Fletcher was the only dissenting vote for Phase 3; Newsom said the state would likely not advance into Phase 3 for several weeks.

Late on May 20th, San Diego County received word that the state approved the county to move further into Stage 2 of reopening. This allows restaurants and retail businesses to have in-person customers with modifications to their operations.

Los Angeles County expects to be among the last in progressing through the governor’s reopening phases due to its dense population and large outbreak. Face coverings are now required for anyone within 6 feet of someone outside their household. But reopening is underway, with active-use access restored to parks and beaches and some stores allowed to open for pickup and delivery orders. On Tuesday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger expressed a goal for reopening on July 4th.