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California Could Start Reopening by Friday

Governor says requirements for certain businesses to reopen will be released Thursday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2020 12:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – With more local governments moving ahead with their own plans for reopening, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the state will begin gradually allowing clothing stores, florists, bookstores, and sporting goods shops to open their doors after a nearly seven-week coronavirus shutdown. Newsom said the threat of the virus spreading had leveled off to a point where certain retail businesses could again serve customers starting as early as Friday, but with curbside pickups and other restrictions. Requirements for operation won't be released until Thursday and Newsom warned that signs the virus has started spreading rapidly might force him to reimpose tighter restrictions, the AP reports. "I know this can sound confusing," Newsom said at one point, as he sought to explain various requirements in the state's evolving plan to emerge from the crisis.

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The announcement came days after a string of noisy demonstrations urging the state to drop orders that have left millions unemployed and brought the world's fifth-largest economy to a near-standstill. Newsom, a Democrat, last month unveiled a four-stage system for fully reopening the state. His Monday announcement means the state will enter Stage 2. The next stage could be months away and include opening hair salons, gyms, movie theaters and allowing in-person church services. Stage 4 would be the end of all restrictions and resumption of high-risk activities like concerts and sports competitions with fans. A key element for reopening is establishing a statewide tracing system to determine if a person who becomes infected has spread the virus. On Monday, Newsom announced a new training program for thousands of people who will be used as “tracers.”

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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