Desert Sun: Newsom OKs quick reopening for two California counties, offers restaurant guidelines

By: , Palm Springs Desert Sun

Published: 8:39 a.m. PT May 12, 2020

As the first two California counties received state approval Tuesday to more quickly reopen some services, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration also issued recommendations for restaurants once they reopen to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The California Department of Public Health posted documents from Butte and El Dorado counties on its website with a note that “These counties can move more quickly through Stage 2 opening sectors once state guidance is posted for that sector.”

Both are located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Health officials in each county attested that they have had little local impact from the pandemic.

California will allow counties to go beyond the state’s plan for reopening, but only if they meet strict standards that include no coronavirus-related deaths and no more than one confirmed case per 10,000 residents in the past two weeks.

State officials said Tuesday additional sectors may reopen as part of Stage 2. The sectors include office workspaces where teleworking is not possible, outdoor museums and limited personal services, including car washes, dog-grooming and landscaping.

Riverside County health officials on Tuesday reported 59 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional virus-related deaths. A total of 225 people have died in the county since the pandemic began.

In neighboring San Bernardino County, health officials on Tuesday reported 63 new coronavirus cases and 5 additional virus-related deaths. A total of 120 people have died in that county due to COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began.

The developments come as many local governments continue pushing for a swifter reopening, and as restaurants rushed to prepare for serving fewer customers at tables separated to minimize the chance of spreading the coronavirus.