Under mounting pressure to relax coronavirus restrictions, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that a partial reopening of California’s economy could start this week.
The Democrat said Monday that some businesses and manufacturers could start up again with some regulations in place as soon as Friday, CNBC reported.
Newsom: partial re-opening starts Friday
Like other Democrat governors, Newsom has been cautious about opening his state before rigorous testing and “contact tracing” criteria have been met. Newsom vowed to make “science” his pole star, and he made sure to note on Monday that a partial re-opening is only possible because “the data says it can happen.”
Still, his statement is a remarkable shift: the Democrat announced that California will begin to cautiously move to “stage 2” of the state’s lockdown, which will allow some retail businesses and manufacturers to open, as long as they follow guidelines that Newsom will roll out on Thursday. Dining in is still forbidden.
Businesses like bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists, and sporting goods stores can open with curb-side pickup, but offices, restaurants, and malls will remain closed for now. At stage 3, hair salons, movie theaters, and churches can open, and stage 4 will mark the return to normal.
Newsom said that he will let counties decide how quickly to proceed, and hinted that some parts of the state could lift restrictions more rapidly, provided they meet the right criteria.
“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.
Protestors demand lockdown end
While Newsom credits health data for the changes, the prospective easing also comes as Newsom faces increasing protests from residents of the Golden State over his stay at home order. It’s a dramatic change, as California was the first state to implement a lockdown in mid-March.
Newsom had vowed Friday to ease restrictions as thousands of demonstrators gathered in cities around the state, demanding an end to the lockdown.
Over 4 million people in California have lost their jobs over the lockdowns, and the Golden State became the first this week to take out federal loans to keep paying unemployment insurance, the Wall Street Journal reported, as states all over the country plead for federal bail-outs to help with expanding deficits.
“We’re getting very close to making very meaningful augmentations to that stay-at-home order. We said ‘weeks, not months’ about four or five days ago. I want to say ‘many days, not weeks,'” Newsom said. “As long as we continue to be prudent and thoughtful in certain modifications, I think we’ll be making some announcements.”