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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will begin phase 2 of its reopening plan by the end of the week. The announcement outlined new modifications to the state's stay-at-home order, which was put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
"About a week ago, I said we were weeks not months away from moving into a second phase," Newsom said in a Monday news briefing. "On Friday, I said we're days not weeks away from announcing that movement into the second phase, so today we are announcing our efforts to update our stay-at-home guidelines and begin the process of moving to phase 2."
Newsom said the specific details of the plan will be released Thursday, but retail businesses, including clothing stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores, and florists, can open for pickup as early as Friday.
"We will allow retail to start operating across the spectrum," Newsom said. "This is a very positive sign and it's happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen."
The governor noted that offices, shopping malls and seating in restaurants will remain closed.
Newsom acknowledged that as the state's economy begins to reopen, "modified impossible community spread" may occur.
"If that's the case and we do not have the capacity to control that spread, to trace that spread, to track that spread, to isolate individuals that may be in contact with COVID 19, we will have to make modifications anew," Newsom added.
In order to make customers feel safe enough to return to businesses, Newsom said that business owners need to continue to impose social distancing measures.
"It's incumbent upon the business leader to protect not only the customers, but their employees at the same time, because of the obvious concern that [we] all share in terms of having a safe retail experience despite these significant modifications," he said.
Newsom also announced that certain areas of the state may be able to go further into phase 2 than others.
"We are also allowing, with considerations of additional criteria, the ability for containment plans and protection plans to be put into place in regions and counties throughout the state of California, where we recognize there are different conditions and we believe different criteria should be put into place," Newsom said.
Counties will have to meet criteria established by the state based on their capacity for testing, tracing, physical distancing and sanitation, and their ability to protect the most vulnerable residents, including seniors and congregate facilities as well as incarcerated and homeless individuals.
"If those criteria can be self-assessed, self-certified by the local health official in concurrence with the county supervisors...we will allow additional movement through Phase 2," Newsom added.
There were 1,321 new coronavirus cases and 39 deaths in California, according to the governor.
There are more than 1.1 million confirmed cases and more than 68,000 deaths in the United States, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.