When Will California Go Back to Work?

Parks, restaurants, and retail stores are slowly reopening as part of the state’s 4-phase plan to reopen the economy.

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California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus. Other states who followed suit are now beginning to reopen their economies.

For Californians, some rural areas are starting to ease their shelter-in-place restrictions, but more populous regions are extending stay-at-home orders. Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area have been ordered to stay at home through May 31, and Los Angeles County extended its orders well into summer.

But there’s been a big push in recent weeks to reopen the state’s economy. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled new protocols that would allow some non-essential retail stories and offices to reopen.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about reopening California.

When can California reopen?

Newsom introduced a 4-phase plan to reopen the state:

Stage 1: Everyone stays at home unless they are an essential worker

Stage 2: Lower risk workplaces reopen, including:

  • Non-essential manufacturing
  • Schools
  • Childcare
  • Retail for curbside pickup
  • Offices where working remotely isn’t feasible

Stage 3: Higher risk workplaces reopen, which include:

  • Hair salons
  • Nail salons
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • Sporting events without an audience
  • Religious services

Stage 4: End the stay-at-home order, which would include:

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

What stage is California in now?

The state is between Stage 1 and 2. Some businesses have been allowed to reopen, but the rollout has been slow.

What is closed, and what is open?

The state has shut down all non-essential businesses. This includes hair salons, gyms, nightclubs, and movie theaters.

On May 8, Newsom modified the state’s stay-at-home orders to allow some additional businesses to reopen.

These include

  • Retail and shopping malls can re-open for delivery or curbside pickup. These businesses include bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stories, and florists
  • Offices, if teleworking is not feasible
  • Pet groomers
  • Dog walkers
  • Car washes
  • Appliance repair
  • Residential and janitorial cleaning
  • Plumbing
  • Outdoor museums, with social distancing guidelines

Restaurants are mandated to serve take-out or delivery orders, only.

Essential businesses, like hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, and banks remain open.

When will California move into the next stage?

It is unknown when the state will move into the next stage, but Newsom announced 6 indicators for modifying stay-at-home orders. They include:

  • Hospitals have capacity to handle surges in COVID-19 cases
  • Protections in place to prevent infections among high-risk groups
  • Requiring schools and businesses ensure students and workers can maintain a safe distance from each other
  • Ability to test, contact trace, isolate, and support those who’ve been exposed to COVID-19
  • Creating clear guidelines to know when to reinstitute certain measures, like stay-at-home
  • Have enough therapeutics to meet demand

What about the Bay Area and Los Angeles counties that have stricter regulations in place?

The state’s orders do not supersede local mandates.

San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties have announced that they will allow nonessential businesses to reopen for curbside service.

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