California’s governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday outlined six key indicators to guide how and when the golden state will reopen for business as it begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even as lockdown measures are set to be lifted, Newsom said that life would be “anything but” normal.
Mass gatherings that involve hundreds of people, such as major sporting events, community events, or concerts, will likely still be banned at least through summer, and people may need to wear face coverings in public for months, he said on Tuesday.
“You may have dinner where the waiter is wearing gloves and maybe a face mask, where menus may be disposable, where your temperature is checked as you walk into the restaurant,” Newsom told a news conference in Sacramento.
California was one of the first U.S. states to issue mandatory social distancing policies with Newsom announcing a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19. The order is in place until further notice.
Newsom’s office said in a statement that there is no precise timeline to modify the stay-at-home order, but the framework for making that decision lies in the six indicators. The six factors must be met before restrictions can be lifted, including on mass gatherings, business activities, and school attendance.
They include the ability of the state to perform widespread testing and carry out contact tracing, which will enable authorities to isolate individuals identified as being most at risk of contracting the virus. The remaining five factors are:
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
“As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before,” Newsom said in a statement.
School start times may be staggered, so children are not crowded together, and times for lunch and physical education may also change. Restaurants will likely have fewer tables, and big celebrations such as for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July may have to be postponed or canceled for the year.
Newsom’s office said that until the state can “build immunity,” measures will be in place to ensure that hospitals can care for the sick and that people who are at high risk of severe illness do not become infected.
In the 24 hours before Tuesday morning, 71 people died of the COVID-19 disease in California, Newsom said, a record number that brought the state total to 758. Los Angeles County reported 40 new deaths since Monday, also a record.
The death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, has exceeded 25,900, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
More than 608,000 infections have been reported, and more than 3 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the United States as of late Tuesday.
With reporting from Reuters.