On Friday, California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Gahly announced that schools, campgrounds, movie and tv productions, zoos, gyms, bars, and professional sports could reopen under strict rules and alterations beginning on June 12th.
Advanced Phase 3 reopenings
The advanced Phase 3 reopenings would also include updated rules for already partially reopened places such as hotels, museums, and casinos.
According to Dr. Gahly, counties will only be allowed to move up to the advanced Phase 3 if coronavirus cases remain low, adequate testing is done, and that counties have shown that they are prepared for a greater number of re-openings, as well as being prepared for upticks in the number of cases in case of another outbreak. As of this Friday, most of California’s counties have met those standards and could reopen on June 12th.
Each service and business will have tailored restrictions. For example, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, schools will be a “hybrid model” of traditional in-school teaching and at-home remote work. Schools themselves will have no-touch thermometers, mandatory masks, hand sanitizer, and face shields for teachers.
“We’ve had discussions on what it will look like this fall,” noted Orange County elementary school teacher Louisa Carroll. “We’re starting to figure out ways to arrange classrooms for proper social distancing and find ways to express more since faces will be more covered up.”
“Teachers haven’t had to teach like this in 100 years since the last bad pandemic, so this is all uncharted territory on how this can all work out right now.”
Pro sports will also look different. Besides radical changes on how teams and players would interact and operate, stadiums would have either no fans or a severely reduced number of available seats to allow for social distancing
The return of Major League Baseball and other leagues would largely be contingent on league approval to restart, compliance from all other US states and Canadian provinces, and county approval from slower to open Los Angeles, Alameda, San Diego, and San Francisco counties for such events.
Movie and TV production, originally expected to resume in late May, would also have to follow rules with a maximum number of people on sets, near-mandatory face coverings, and other similar common sense measures. Film and TV shoots would also need individual county approval to begin production.
Nail salons would not be included in the advanced Phase 3 plans despite hair salons and barbershops previously being approved for reopening in May.
Health officials remain cautious, warn against more re-openings
“It makes every health official nervous since we’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, we’re seeing more cases more than anything,” explained Dr. Michelle Thomas, a doctor in Long Beach who has worked on coronavirus cases. “There is a second wave of COVID-19 is coming, and already striking. People out on Memorial Day to now with protesters out there. That’s a few weeks without proper social distancing happening in some places.”
“I want normal back again as much as the next person. All health care workers do. But we need to see this to the end, not allow for another wave to come.”
“I think this is a mistake, but if you’re going out, wash your hands, wear a mask, and take proper precautions. Don’t just assume it’s over. I understand it’s a personal choice and freedom, and I understand it will help the economy out too. And spirits too with sports coming back. Keep it safe, social distance, and be respectful of other people’s well-being during this time if you go out.”
Total statewide reopening isn’t expected for some time as it would require a large immunity among the populace or a successful vaccine but additional re-openings, including sporting events and concerts with fans and nail salons reopening, may be seen during the next several months.