The state has taken its first steps towards the path of reopening by declaring that California will enter the second stage of the process. This entitles lower-risk workplaces including retail, manufacturing, and logistics to begin reopening with modifications in place.

”The goal is a safer environment for workers and customers. Businesses may use effective alternative or innovative methods to build upon the guidelines,” reads a roadmap guideline provided by the state.

The rollout of Stage 2 of the process is set to be implemented in two parts. The first part includes all of the retail business industries such as bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, florists, and manufacturing business and logistic sector supply chains. The county also permitted dog grooming services to resume by mobile or in-store. 

Stanislaus County has permitted retail businesses to reopen, provided they operate via curbside pickup and delivery. 

These orders went into effect as of 5 a.m. on Friday, May 8.

Businesses are being asked to meet the following requirements before opening. 

  • Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan. 

  • Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them.

  • Implement individual control measures and screenings. 

  • Implement disinfecting protocols. 

  • Implement physical distancing guidelines. 

Business owners are being asked to make an industry-specific checklist following these guidelines and post them in the workplace so that customers and employees can see that the business has taken necessary measures to reduce risk. 

The state released examples of industry-specific measures that will need to be in place. 

  • Retailers should increase pickup and delivery service options and encourage physical distancing during pickup – like loading items directly into a customer’s trunk or leaving items at their door.

  • Retailers should install hands-free devices, if possible, including motion sensor lights, contactless payment systems, automatic soap and paper towel dispensers, and timecard systems.

  • Manufacturing companies should close breakrooms, use barriers, or increase the distance between tables/chairs to separate workers and discourage congregating during breaks. Where possible, create outdoor break areas with shade covers and seating that ensures physical distancing.

  • Warehouses should minimize transaction time between warehouse employees and transportation personnel. Perform gate check-ins and paperwork digitally if feasible.

  • Warehouse workers should clean delivery vehicles and equipment before and after delivery, carry additional sanitation materials during deliveries, and use clean personal protective equipment for each delivery stop.

Businesses still on pause during Stage 2

Dine-in restaurants, destination retail including shopping malls and swap meets, personal services such as car washes, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening, office-based business, schools, childcare facilities, outdoor museums, and open gallery spaces will have to wait longer to reopen in compliance with state guidelines. 

The timeline for when these businesses will be permitted to reopen will depend on the county they reside in.

Gov. Newsom announced that the state government will work with each county to come up with a regional-based approach on how quickly or not they implement Stage 2. It will be up to each county to decide what best suits their community providing there is a framework of protocols in place. 

District 1 Stanislaus County Board of Supervisor Kristin Olsen commented on the topic during a Facebook Live meeting on May 6. 

“Our goal is to be able to safely reopen as much of our local economy as we can by or before May 18. That won’t include everything,” Olsen said. “We have to be smart, strategic and data-driven about the decisions we make, but we are hopeful that we can reopen many more businesses and activities under state protocols of social distancing, PPE, sanitation just as soon we can and hopefully before the 18th of May.” 

Each county will have to provide the state with an analysis driven by public health concerns and data showing that the county is in a place to advance at a quicker pace through Stage 2.

“Local health jurisdictions that meet the criteria set forth by the California Department of Public Health and follow the process in the Guidance to County governments may move through Stage 2 and reopen more businesses before the State as a whole,” stated the roadmap guidelines.

Chief Public Health Officers across the state will work with the California Department of Public Health to determine how each county can proceed.

Higher-risk workplaces still not permitted to open

Businesses classified as higher risk will have to wait until Stage 3 of the process to be permitted to reopen. 

Those businesses include: 

  • Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, and fitness studios. 

  • Hospitality services such as bars and lounges

  • Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, and professional sports

  • Indoor museums, kids museums, and gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries

  • Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas

  • Religious services and cultural ceremonies

  • Nightclubs

  • Concert venues

  • Festivals

  • Theme parks

  • Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism

Stage 4

The fourth and final stage will signal the end of the stay-at-home orders and will permit areas of highest risk such as concerts, conventions and sports arenas to reopen. 

A timeline on when the third and fourth stages of reopening will occur is unknown at this time. It will likely be driven by the progress the state makes in keeping the spread of COVID-19 from occurring, and the success of the current process of reopening up business has on public health metrics regarding the coronavirus.

PI reporter

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