Governor Announces Modifications to Gradually Reopen

A Ralphs employee, Marko, sanitizes carts to ensure the safety of customers. While Ralphs still maintains its normal operating hours as they are necessary for providing residents food and day-to-day essentials, they have implemented precautions that reduce risk of customers contracting the virus.

Bia Shok, Staff Writer

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced modifications to gradually reopen the state on May 12, dealing mainly with restrictions that industries and businesses need to follow. The update was a  follow-up to the initial plan introduction on April 28, according to ABC 7. 

While counties with larger populations, such as Los Angeles, will adapt to the reopening of businesses more gradually, other counties will start as soon as they are approved by the state. While local hair salons, sporting events without live audiences and dine-ins will slowly reopen, large gatherings, movie theaters and live audience sports will still be prohibited, according to The Mercury News. 

“There should be no pressure on local officials down in L.A. or anywhere to feel that they have to move into this space sooner because their conditions are very different from some of these rural counties,” Newsom said in a meeting with LA County’s Board of Supervisors.

For the county to be approved, the county’s hospitalization rates need to be less than 5% over seven days, have fewer than 25 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days, have the ability to conduct comprehensive testing and contact tracing, have a surge capacity infrastructure and adequate levels of personal protective equipment according to KCRA.

Counties need to follow a number of guidelines after their approval, including performing a detailed risk assessment, implementing a site-specific protection plan, training employees and teaching them to screen themselves for symptoms, according to the governor’s website.

As of May 18, 24 counties have been approved, including Orange County, according to Los Angeles Times. With this advancement, Irvine City Council has begun making plans to slowly open their facilities, starting with opening tennis and pickleball courts as of May 15.

The news gives hope to local business owners as well. With sophomore Garrett Lee’s mother owning a private optometry clinic, their family was highly impacted by the state’s stay-at-home orders.

“I think for both me and my mother the stress from worrying about not having any solid income for a month is being alleviated quite a bit,” Lee said. “I know it has been especially difficult for my mom before the legal opening of businesses because of all the extra work she had to put in. It was definitely all a massive headache for her because she had to go the extra mile just to maintain her quality of service and ensure that her patients and employees would come back. ”

In an interview with ABC 7, Gavin Newsom stated that out of the four reopening stages, stage three is in near proximity. Although stage two does not discuss the reopening of schools, principal John Pehrson hopes for positive advances in the future.

“My largest hope is that our community and our families are healthy,” Pehrson said. “Secondarily, I earnestly hope that we are able to start school as usual in August on campus. To begin the school year in an online format would be much more complicated than ending one.”