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California relaxes some criteria for reopening

California governor relaxes some criteria for reopening; says most of the state may be able to reopen more quickly.

Posted: May 18, 2020 12:37 PM
Updated: May 18, 2020 12:59 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed county reopening criteria on Monday, a move he said will allow most of the state’s 58 counties to begin allowing dining in restaurants and other services.

“Bottom line is: People can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials that understand their local communities and conditions,” Newsom said.

The new criteria he outlined applies to counties that want to reopen faster than the state. While retail may open for curbside pickup statewide, restrictions on dining in at restaurants and other services are still in place statewide. Counties can move faster if they win state approval.

The new criteria eliminates requirements that a county have zero deaths and no more than than one case per 10,000 residents over a two-week period. Instead, counties must have no more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents or no higher than an 8% positive rate among people testing for the coronavirus. They also must have no higher than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over a 7-day period or fewer than 20 hospitalizations total over 14 days. The latter will ensure small counties don’t get penalized for just one or two extra hospitalizations.

Newsom also said counties will soon be able to allow shopping in stores and hair salons to reopen. He also suggested professional sports could begin in June without spectators. He said the reopening of churches could begin within weeks.

Twenty-four counties in mostly rural Northern California had already been cleared to move faster under the old standards. Butte, Shasta, Glenn, Yuba-Sutter, Colusa, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity are all a part of the approved list from the state.

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